Firms desperate for people with IT savvy and marketing nous, says IBM

By Sooraj Shah
24 May 2012 View Comments

There is a shortage of marketing managers with analytic and coding experience, skills that are increasingly required to fulfil their job requirements, according to strategy director of IBM digital management, Jay Henderson.

Henderson told Computing that marketing campaigns are increasingly reliant on technology and therefore require the input of individuals with both business and IT skills.

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"Marketers used to be solely focused on the creative side... [but now businesses are] looking for someone who understands the technology and the business.

"There is a demand right now for IT-skilled marketers, and there is more demand than supply," he said.

Broadband and telephony provider TalkTalk is one of the companies that is struggling to recruit the right talent, according to its head of data strategy, Claire Pritchard.

"It has been hard for us to recruit campaign managers as many of them do not know how to programme SAS – it's something that an analyst would do. As it's a premium skill, they are expensive to hire," she said.

Henderson said that the skills gap is good news for young people willing to train in IT and develop their business acumen.

However, Pritchard argued that this may come at a cost to the business that is looking to hire staff.

"If a company wants to hire a junior campaign manager, you would have to spend a lot of time, effort and money in training them to be able to programme SAS," she explained.

But Henderson said that businesses currently have no other option.

"When there is a scarcity of people with the right skills, the main option is to train them.

"I think that companies have seen success with taking traditional relationship marketers and teaching them about these new digital channels, or taking an employee who has experience in the digital channels and teaching them about the traditional marketing aspect," he said.

Pritchard added that once TalkTalk deploys IBM-owned Unica software it will be easier to recruit campaign managers as potential recruits do not need to be code specialists in order to use the software.

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