UK Suffering From Poor Digital Marketing Skills

Ian Dodson, director and founder of the Digital Marketing Institute
Ian Dodson, director and founder of the Digital Marketing Institute

Only seven per cent of UK marketing professionals have competent digital skills, according to a new test by the Digital Marketing Institute, with the average marketer scoring just 37 per cent.

The international test showed that the UK was in line with marketers in the US and Ireland, where both average scores were 38 per cent, showing an emerging trend of insufficient skills sets in all three countries.

The test was designed so that a score of 60 per cent would mark entry-level competency in digital marketing. Overall, UK marketing professionals scored highest in digital strategy and weakest in email marketing and display advertising.

Perhaps surprisingly, older participants performed better than their younger counterparts, with marketers aged 50+ scoring 38 per cent, and those 34 to 49 scoring 37 per cent, while those aged under 34 averaged just 31 per cent.

This gap was most pronounced in mobile skills, where those aged over 50 scored 42 per cent versus 29 per cent for those under 34. Despite coming from the so-called digital native generation, younger marketers in general lacked the experience necessary to develop their skills.

A survey of test participants also revealed a mismatch in perception versus reality, with 47 per cent of marketers believing themselves to be very or fairly competent in digital skills.

“The UK boasts one of the largest internet-based economies in the world so the findings in this report are disappointing,” said Ian Dodson, director and founder of the Digital Marketing Institute. “People are at the heart of the digital economy globally, but if their basic skills sets are not keeping pace with digital developments, the economy may be storing up problems for the future.

“It raises question marks over the sturdiness of the UKs digital economy and its ability to maintain its current growth rates over the medium term. In the post-Brexit era, it will be imperative that the UK is able to hold its own fiscally. Addressing the skills deficit in the area of digital marketing is an obvious challenge for the UK in this regard.”