Smart Insights, Accredited CPD Standards Provider (No. 50052) has given an overview of the top 10 most in demand digital marketing skills during 2016. Dr Dave Chaffey, CEO and Co-founder of Smart Insights says how you can focus your efforts on acquiring these skills.

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The top 10 most in demand digital marketing skills

LinkedIn’s 2016 review of the most in-demand business skills applied mostly to digital marketing. As a marketer, what’s noticeable to me is the number of roles in the top 10 that apply directly or indirectly to digital marketing. These include marketing analytics, search marketing and campaign management.

The handful of roles that are featured in the LinkedIn article are the tip of an iceberg of digital marketing roles. Digital marketing includes a huge range of activities, which span all areas of the marketing funnel and require knowledge of a wide range of different platforms and tools. In our Smart Insights Digital Skills Report we identify 20 key skills which are needed in the modern marketing department. Those skills range from affiliate marketing, to copy writing, digital strategy and integrated planning to SEO and social media marketing. Read the report to find all 20!

While no one would expect any single person to master all 20 skills recognised in the report, building up complementary sets of skills within the department is extremely important. What is more, by ensuring everyone within the department has at least a basic knowledge of what each skill entails, they’ll be able to make better informed decisions about what is possible to achieve and the time frames required to achieve it.

If you’re a marketer looking at what skills you could invest your time in improving, you’ll want to know which of these twenty skills are the most in demand among employers, because then you can focus your efforts on only the skills most likely to open the door to new opportunities.

So how do you find out which skills are most in demand?

In our Digital Marketing skills reports we surveyed 718 digital marketing professionals earlier in 2016. 60% of respondents had senior marketing roles such as Manager, Head of Marketing, Head of Digital or Director.

This gives us a good idea of what skills are most in-demand, because those working in senior marketing positions are going to have a good idea of what skills are required to improve the effectiveness of their marketing department.

The following chart shows which skills the respondents most wanted to improve, and we can clearly see Strategy, Analytics and Mobile marketing skills being rated as extremely important by many digital marketers.

Skills that digital marketers want to improve

Another way, to gauge the skills that are most in demand, is to ask the managers doing the hiring. We asked digital marketers in charge of hiring decisions (a mix of managers, heads of department, CEOs, Directors and Owners) which skills they found most difficult to recruit for.

Ease of recruiting people in digital marketing


SEO, Strategy and Analytics were reported as being the hardest to recruit for when combining those that had a slight difficultly with those reporting extreme difficulty. Almost half of managers (46%) reported analytics skills being slightly or extremely difficult to recruit for, which suggests a strong demand for analytics skills given they also came 2nd on our chart of what skills digital marketers most wanted to improve.

The 10 most in demand digital marketing skills

By combining the insight from the two charts we can see the top 10 most in-demand marketing skills in 2016 are as follows. This should inform where to invest your time in developing skills.

1- Customer Data, Marketing Insights and Analytics

2- Digital Strategy and Intergraded Planning

3- SEO

4- Mobile Marketing

5- Email Marketing and Marketing Automation

6- Customer Experience Design

7- Social Media Marketing

8- Pay Per Click / Adwords

9- Planning integrated, multichannel campaigns

10- Online Advertising and Programmatic Marketing.

Smart Insights

Dr Dave Chaffey is CEO and co-founder of digital marketing skills development and elearning site Smart Insights.  Their Digital Marketing E-learning course is accredited by CPD Standards. Dave is author of 5 bestselling books on Ecommerce including Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice and E-marketing Excellence. He has been recognised as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have shaped the future of Marketing by the Chartered Institute of Marketing

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