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The question of the types of specialist digital marketing roles businesses need in an organisation is an ongoing challenge. Although some have said that we're now in a 'post-digital era of marketing', the reality is, that although marketing generalists are needed to plan and manage campaigns and product launches and they need a certain level of digital competence, digital specialists will also be needed in large organisations. Although you can argue that some specialist digital marketing activities can and should be outsourced to agencies and consultants, you can equally argue that some digital marketing competencies are too important to be outsourced and a good level of knowledge and control based on customer and market knowledge is required in-house. Examples of digital competencies that many seek to keep in-house include the complexities of managing organic and paid search, engaging and serving through social media, automating email campaigns and running structured experiments to improve conversion and experience.
When we have researched this previously in our Managing Digital Marketing research, there has typically been around one-third of digital specialists in an organisation, although this naturally varies by size. I was interested to see this new 'research' from 'EyeforPharma' in the Pharma industry.
They recently repeated the analysis for a third year and found that Bayer has joined J&J/Janssen at the top of the table, with 4.8 digital employees per thousand, an increase of 150% since 2015 when it went public with its digital transformation project. Click on the chart below for an enlarged version.
So it's interesting, but I'd say it massively under-represents the importance of digital in an organisation. The method here of measuring 'digital intensity', is to look at the number of employees who referred to ‘digital’ in their LinkedIn title. Well, it is some sort of benchmark and would indicate the relative number of digital marketing directors, managers and execs with that term in their job title. But what if the role is referred to as online marketing or e-business? Then there are more specialist roles mentioned above. Our research on digital skills identified 20 key digital marketing competencies most of which don't have 'digital' in their job title, rather, search, social, email, experience and so on.
Still, it's interesting 'food-for-thought' and emphasises the difference in digital maturity which you will see in any industry.
By Dave Chaffey
Dave is CEO and co-founder of Smart Insights. He is editor of the 100 templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ Digital Marketing experts. Our resources used by our Expert members in more than 80 countries to Map, Plan and Manage their digital marketing. For my full profile, or to connect on LinkedIn or other social networks, see the About Dave Chaffey profile page on Smart Insights. Dave is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Emarketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing.
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