July 19, 2018

CMOs: Striving For Competitive Differentiation? Don’t Overlook Your Number One Marketing Asset

Paula Sansburn | COO, GreenFig
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Paula Sansburn | COO, GreenFig

By and large, the strategies of growing a relevant business are the same. Brand growth and awareness, market penetration, product expansion, and acquisition.

The marketing tactics employed to achieve those goals is what sets the front-runners apart from those playing catch-up.

So how do you achieve competitive differentiation?  

Your people: the individuals responsible for designing and implementing those marketing tactics must rank high on your business-critical scale.

Because if you do not hire and retain top digital marketing talent, your ability to plan, execute, measure, and improve a digital campaign will be limited and impact revenue, the customer experience, and brand perception. In other words, you may have the right tools, but you will not be able to leverage their usefulness as business drivers without skilled marketers running the show.

Marketing executives and industry insiders across the country are singing this tune: Better talent = Better business performance.

“Talent will drive competitive advantage. Companies that invest in building digital skills in their marketing teams have a huge opportunity to accelerate ahead of their peers.” The Talent Revolution in Digital Marketing, Think with Google, 2015.

What does it mean to be a skilled digital marketer in the 21st century?

From a global understanding of how to align business, brand, and messaging strategies to pay-per-click, SEO, and social analytics and targeting, to name a few, the breadth of skills required to be an effective digital marketer today are innumerous.

Combine those skills with hands-on experience — not just theoretical knowledge — and the expertise to design, create, implement, and analyze a digital campaign, and you have got a capable 21st-century digital marketer. After all, the ability to harness data-driven insights is how companies gain a competitive advantage.

The challenge CMOs everywhere are facing, however, is a pervasive shortage of skilled and experienced digital marketers. Companies that turn to recent college graduates are frustrated by this group’s lack of experience and outdated knowledge (not surprising, slow-to-change university curriculum cannot keep pace marketing’s fast-moving digital evolution). Meanwhile, seasoned marketers do not possess the technical skills required to execute an effective digital campaign.

“Tools and strategies that were cutting-edge just a few years ago are fast becoming obsolete and new approaches are appearing every day.” The Ultimate Marketing Machine, Harvard Business Review.

To solve the problem, marketing departments need to look inward by shoring up the expertise, technical skills, and hands-on experience of their existing teams.  

The benefits of upskilling your staff are many, including:

  • Increased productivity and employee retention
  • Ability to attract better employees with the promise of growth potential
  • Save money and boost quality by bringing outsourced tasks in-house

It may also come as a surprise that upgrading your team’s digital marketing skills is a smart investment and can be done quickly with a limited interruption at work.

Is your marketing team equipped with the skills and experience required to drive your brand forward? Are you harnessing your No. 1 marketing asset for optimal competitive advantage?

Find out why upskilling your marketing team is a smart ROI.

Paula Sansburn,



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