Training and Careers 2008

Developing your future What personal development are you planning to do in the next six months? Despite the inevitable pressures to reduce costs given the economic climate, businesses that continue to invest in their people are most likely to emerge stronger when the economy picks up again.

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Developing your future

What personal development are you planning to do in the next six months? Despite the inevitable pressures to reduce costs given the economic climate, businesses that continue to invest in their people are most likely to emerge stronger when the economy picks up again.

Take America’s Southwest Airlines, which trained its way out of recession. It reduced recruitment, but increased its training budget to maintain employee motivation. This long-term approach ensured it could survive the last recession, and even turn a profit.

The marketing industry is not renowned for its investment in people, yet failing to do so during tougher times is likely to cause a number of longterm difficulties. First, the most talented marketers will work for those organisations that do make a longterm investment in people. Second, both increased employee motivation and bottom-line benefits due to reduced recruitment costs will reward more enlightened organisations.

Despite the challenges, our general management and open enrolment programmes are continuing to attract ambitious leaders from the marketing industry. These organisations recognise the importance of developing their potential so they can make a greater contribution when it is most needed. As well as having access to the latest thinking in areas such as marketing and finance, it is vital to develop critical thinking skills and draw on the experiences of those from different industries, countries, backgrounds, many of whom face similar challenges.

Whatever the economic future holds, can your organisation afford not to retain and develop your best employees? It’s time to think about what you want to achieve in 2009 and to take a long-term view.

Mark McCartney
Head of executive development, marketing, Cranfield University

Now is the time to update skills

Modern marketing has already seen a shift to more response-driven, accountable methods. And in today’s difficult economic climate it’s even more important to maximise efficiency of spend and effectiveness of outcomes.

But right now there aren’t enough people with the right combination of skills to take our profession forward. Industry leaders, and even the Government have come to recognise that the skills shortage is so acute that it’s not only a threat to our profession, but could seriously hamper economic growth.

Marketing Week is right to dedicate a supplement to training at this time and, while at many organisations marketing skills and training are now genuinely valued and recognised as competitive assets, there are still plenty where they aren’t. So what are the skills we need? Effective, targeted, accountable marketing has classic direct marketing skills at its heart. Add digital to the mix and DM can be faster, cheaper, better targeted and even more measurable. Given that digital media allow us to collect data, glean detailed insights into customer behaviour and to act on them immediately, it’s clear that today’s successful marketers need a combination of direct, data and digital marketing skills.

Whether you have marketing experience and want digital marketing skills, or whether you understand technology but want to exploit classic DM techniques, now is the time to update and upskill.

Now, more than ever, if you’ve got the right mix of direct, data and digital marketing skills, you should be able to name your price in the marketplace.

Lisa Turner
Marketing director, FIDM

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