Marketing industry the worst at offering training

CMOs need to take over responsibility for training their marketing teams, according to industry experts, after research finds that the marketing industry is the worst at offering career development.

Colleagues during a seminar discussing the contents of their documents and digital tablets

The study of 2,300 professionals across all sectors conducted by job site CV-Library suggests marketing is lagging other industries in terms of offering access to training and is out of touch with the demand of its employees.

Some 51.4% of marketers questioned said they had “no access” to training, well above the national average of 29.6%. Overall 62.2% of marketers claimed their employer doesn’t provide basic training, again ahead of the national average of 43.4%.

This despite the fact that 94.6% of marketers think basic training is “essential” to keeping ahead of new technology and trends. Less than one in five marketers claim to be “satisfied” with training and development opportunities, behind the one in four figure nationally.

Richard Robinson, managing director at marketing consultancy Oystercatchers, said he is “totally unsurprised” by the findings. He said the main problem is that career development and training remains the preserve of HR at most companies when it should be CMOs taking responsibility.

“Overall any form of marketing training has to be the responsibility of the CMO, they have to be accountable for it. Too much is delegated to HR.”

Richard Robinson, MD Oystercatchers

“Marketers don’t have patience for the HR model – as good as it is – what marketers want is training in immediately applicable skills. If the CMO is responsible for the marketing performance one of the things they must have control over is the quality of training,” he added.

Robinson suggested marketing differs from other industry sectors because it evolves so fast, meaning generic training courses are “past their sell-by-dates” within 18 months.

“Modern marketers need to be curious, inquisitive and push themselves to continue to learn to be one step ahead of the customers. The way brands can talk to customers, communicate with them and motivate them changes so rapidly that you need marketing-specific training driven by the CMO’s strategy that will enable them to stay one step ahead,” he said.

A number of brands are beginning to understand the importance of brining marketing training under the marketing team. Companies such as SSE, Burton’s Biscuits and Morrisons have implemented “marketing academies” after finding that a lack of professional training and development was causing them to lose young marketers.

Others such as P&G and McDonald’s were held up by Robinson as examples of best practice. However he said smaller brands and marketing teams are lagging, in part due to a “burden of legacy” where because they’ve haven’t worked in an environment where marketing takes control of its own training so they don’t see it as their responsibility.

Impacts on staff morale

However that is having a severe impact on staff morale and loyalty. Less than one in five marketers claim to be “satisfied” with training and development opportunities, behind the one in four figure nationally, according to the survey.

Due to the lack of training, 78.4% of marketers feel undervalued by their company.

Some 91.9% of marketing professionals say they would be less likely to leave their current employer if they were offered training, above the national average.

“The results send a clear message to marketing businesses, suggesting that the implementation of a comprehensive training and development programme would not only increase staff morale and job satisfaction, but also staff loyalty and retention,” says the report.

Robinson said finding the next-generation of marketing talent is one of the top three challenges cited by CMOs but he believes they are approaching the issue from the wrong angle.

“CMOs could be investing in their current talent rather than worrying about where to find new talent from,” he said. “We have to ask why they are not investing marketing money in their teams.”

Robinson also suggest marketers need a different type of training that is more participatory and allows people to “learn through doing” after the CV-Library survey found that 56.8% of marketing employees believe they aren’t given sufficient time to digest and implement new skills.

“A lot of inherited training is basically death by powerpoint, they are put in a room someone talks at them for an hour and they walk out and are magically expected to have changed their behaviour. Marketers are more creatively, cerebral characters they need participatory learning so they are able to practice learnt information and try it out,” he explained.


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