The year so far seems to have brought with it an air of quiet confidence. The latest Bellwether report, released in January, predicts that in 2014 the UK will return to pre-recession confidence, as marketers raised their budgets for a fifth quarter in a row during the final three months of 2013.
This is great news, and the Marketing Week/IDM training survey 2014 reveals that the confidence of the profession is being echoed by individual marketers too. Whether or not the two are linked is open to interpretation, but this time last year, during a roundtable discussion for the 2013 version of this supplement, the overriding and recurrent theme was that confidence amongst marketers was sadly lacking. And it was holding them back.
One of the standout statistics for us is that the vast majority of respondents believe they are good at what they do. However, given the general acceptance that change is here to stay and skill sets will need to adapt to suit, they also know their limitations. Most are satisfied that their existing skills enable them to do a good job in their current roles. But fast-forward three years, and only 9 per cent of marketers say they are confident their current skills will be enough to keep them at the top of their game.
It is great for the profession that many marketers are striving to be the best they can be, and are using a range of methods to develop skills, from reading to attending events, conferences and training courses to on-the-job learning.
And it is a virtuous circle. Typically, the more you develop your skills, the more confident you are, the better your performance and the greater your job satisfaction.
But here is where we hit a wall. If it is so apparent that there are so many benefits to training and developing marketing talent, why is professional development still not on the strategic agendas of more organisations?
An astonishing 88 per cent of the marketers we surveyed perceive there to be barriers to professional development within their organisations. And when it comes to the training and development decision-making process, it seems that higher management are involved in only 25 per cent of the decisions made.
If you are a professional development decision maker, we can tell you with absolute certainty that your marketers want to be the best they can be. Not solely for monetary reward; not even with an eye on a promotion, but because they want job satisfaction and to improve marketing performance. And those are bottom line influencers.
When the Bellwether findings were announced last month, Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit and author of the report said: “One of the most encouraging signals from the survey is the indication that companies are feeling more confident about investing in growing their businesses”.
We believe that one of the best investments you can make is in your marketing talent. Give your marketers the tools they need and the rewards they deserve and your organisation will reap in the benefits.