Every industry is being impacted or driven by technology in new ways, and 2019 is only going to see the pace of this trend quicken. 

Doctor visits are based on Dr. Google information and tech integrations between pharmacists and hospitals; miners and oil rigs are digging where complex algorithms and geospatial technology is telling them will be most profitable; FMCG companies are pricing and designing their products based on the findings of data scientists and the latest machine learning technologies; and marketers are overwhelmed by the mar-tech, ad-tech, and sales-tech options at their fingertips. 

As the way businesses develop and sell their products/services iterates, marketers' job descriptions are starting to look more like ads for army recruitment. Business leaders are looking for marketers that are 'fearless', 'brave', 'big picture thinkers', and 'ready to go into the unknown' to do what's right and most effective for the organisation. 

And yet, it's both the hard skills and soft skills that are missing from the industry, according to recent research. Content and data analysis are where marketers need to re-vamp their attention, research says.

Anyone in marketing knows that even if you are a content specialist or data insights guru, it's almost impossible to add value from day one. Yet, that's what many businesses are doing—they're not hiring ahead, they're scrambling to keep up. 

And realistically, getting buy-in from the C-suite to hire ahead for these skills is going to be difficult unless preparing against disruption is the top concern and area of investment for the business (from what we hear from the industry, it's often the top concern, but not the top area for investment). 

So how can marketers navigate the skills shortage? Here are some thought starters: 

  • Tech: When looking at the technology to use, make decisions based on the skills gaps of today and the likely skills gaps within your team for the next 3-5 years. Marketers' tech investments should be able to accelerate the strengths and achievements of the team as it is, as well as fill in for where the skills aren't likely to come on board any time soon.

  • Partnerships: With over 95% of Australian businesses being small businesses (i.e. less than 20 people), partnerships are a key part of most local business strategies. Skills now need to be a part of those conversations and decisions. When assessing who to partner with or how to make the most of existing partnerships, assess which skills a partner could bring to the table to avoid double up in the pain of hiring hard-to-find talent. 

  • Push the agenda: Content, for example, is often seen as a 'fluffy' concept, and particularly in tech there's an ongoing dialogue around whether there's too much content online already. But the reality is, consumers, business leaders, and IT decision-makers are more reliant on content than ever to drive their everyday and professional decisions. If there's an area your business should be investing in, and the skills shortage is holding you back from making the right investments, the last thing to do is give up or make excuses. Push this to the top of your agenda and your leadership team's to-do list (and don't forget to take the credit when you surge ahead of competitors!).