Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

How to navigate the data skills marketer shortage 

By Georgia Harrison, VP at customer engagement specialist Braze

Last year, there were more than two million ‘tech’ job vacancies posted in the UK, more than any area of the labour market. ‘Data’ analyst skills, particularly, have seen huge demand, up 600% since 2019. As brands are moving towards more data-driven models of working, they need to be able to analyse their data to create personalised and meaningful experiences for their customers.

Today, consumer behaviours and attitudes can change faster than marketers can react, leaving brands wondering where they should focus their marketing spend, especially as consumers are ever increasingly thoughtful regarding how they share personal data and engage with a brand. With consumer loyalty waning across industries, but expectations higher than ever before, marketers not only need to be equipped with the right skills, they need to ensure they’re set up to succeed for the long term. 

What’s brought this on?

Changing regulations, data privacy updates, and product features from the tech giants have all exacerbated the matter. For years, brands have often relied on the mountain of data collected via cookies to gain basic insights into their consumers to serve their wants and needs. 

Data from the 2022 Braze Customer Engagement Review showed that despite the looming exit of cookies (albeit being pushed to 2024), less than a third (28%) of surveyed brands say they will be reducing their reliance on this data in 2022. That means more than 70% of marketers may need to rethink their customer data strategy significantly in the next year.

When it comes to data privacy, Apple and Google are battling it out to attract customers, and it’s no longer just about legal compliance, it’s a selling point, and consumers demand it. As privacy considerations become more ubiquitous, using third-party data to build consumer connections will only get harder. 

Brands were aware and data proficient pre-Covid, but the lockdowns and shift in consumer behaviours called for brands to get closer to their consumers, serving their needs in real time with products and offerings that are expected as the norm today. 

Where to go from here – how to pick a tech partner 

The research indicates that marketing teams would rather hire in to fill gaps in their data teams, over upskilling existing employees. Although hiring new talent is often a priority to keep growth momentum, it shouldn’t always be the first point of call. 

For teams to keep up with the pace that their consumers demand, there are tech solutions available to help plug the gap when there’s a talent shortage. Marketing technology solutions are specially designed to help marketers live out their customer engagement strategies.

Technologies should allow marketers to develop strategies that meet consumer demands rather than spending valuable hours learning how to use the tool itself. The right tech is ultimately only as good as the people using it. It should serve as an extension of your team, helping top talent bring their innovative, creative vision to life. So, when evaluating the benefits a tech solution brings to your brand, ensure it’s a tool that can set your team up for success, both quickly and easily.

There are now low-code / no-code tools in place that allow marketers to develop sophisticated customer journey campaigns at scale. The real beauty of low-code / no-code tools is they empower marketers to quickly build effective campaigns without having to request time and resources using software engineering teams. These tools have the capability to capture customer behaviour and preference data in real-time, allowing marketers to innovate and focus on what matters most – building better experiences for their customers.

Finally, when choosing a tech solution, ensuring you have a fit-for-purpose partner that will guide you through your journey with them is critical. Many vendors today will have in-house learning programs to help clients stay ahead of their peers.

Final thoughts

With lots of uncertainty in the world and talent hard to come by, the key is for brands to start with what matters most – their customers. To achieve truly unique and meaningful customer experiences, brands must sustainably prioritise their data management. Brands that have a clear vision and understanding of what they want to accomplish when it comes to engaging with their customers will be on the right path in deciding how to plug their skills shortage.