How to lead with knowledge and drive with digital

No matter what state of normality the economy emerges in when this period of uncertainty has passed, digital is essential for communication and distribution. This is a mindset shift from which we cannot, and should not, return.

The recruitment market naturally reflects this. Earlier this year, e-commerce, digital content, social media, and digital marketing were in LinkedIn’s top 10 fastest-growing job categories.

However, while hiring digital specialists may seem like a necessary short-term step to business survival, without also investing in the leadership necessary to drive the value of digital, the results will undoubtedly be limited.

Digital is a channel that thrives due to its proximity to the customer and its agility to adapt to ever-changing business needs and requirements. For these and other reasons, it has naturally been on the minds of organizations during the pandemic as a tactical tool for engagement. But its scope can and should be broader, not just as a core competency of any marketing strategy, but of every business strategy, led by marketing knowledge of its application and value.

Invest to innovate

Therefore, training marketers to become the change leaders needed to put digital at the heart of their organizations should be a priority. Companies will need to invest beyond technology-led digital capabilities and marketing leaders who have the information and understanding that are crucial for digital marketing to drive business growth and innovation.

Ultimately, the pandemic has shown us more than anything that strategic innovation is key. Many companies may not have survived the past year without product and process innovations that have pioneered marketing around the world. Digital has played an integral role in bringing these innovations to life, to be sure, but the creative ingenuity required to create them is a direct result of marketing knowledge and strategic thinking. That’s essentially what marketing is all about: innovation, rather than simple differentiation.

More than at any time in recent history, companies must be able to plan effectively, which is only possible through the use of meaningful data and insights from the marketing department. Marketing, therefore, has a key role to play in helping businesses prosper, while cementing its position as an essential tool at the highest levels.

However, to innovate and drive knowledge, marketing must receive investment. This goes beyond progression planning for budding traders; learning and development must be accessible and involved at every stage of a marketer’s career. It is worrying that between 42% and 62% of marketers over the age of 45, who may be leading departments or developing strategies, have not received training in the last two years (CIM Impact of Marketing 2 report). Meanwhile, marketers want to develop themselves: Recent research by Hays showed that 42% of marketers plan to make changes to their skills and prioritize improvement in their current profession. Additionally, 45% reported that the lack of career development opportunities was one of the main reasons for job dissatisfaction in their current role.

With an understanding of the various challenges present in today’s business environment, CIM’s Marketing Leadership Program prepares leaders to strengthen their strategic skills. The robust study program, which is the equivalent level of a master’s qualification, enables marketers to become influential change leaders, ready to deliver tangible results.

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