The challenges of an evolving digital landscape

As one of the UK’s fastest growing sectors and an industry that offers a vast contrast of opportunities, change in the digital sector is inevitable. The trick is to make sure your teams are prepared.
While the changes resulting from Brexit and GDPR unfold over the coming months and years, there are likely to be some unexpected surprises for many businesses operating in the digital sector - this is particularly true of GDPR. Preparing a best case and worst case contingency plan is key. 

The challenges ahead

As the industry continues to move at a pace, driven by changing shopping behaviours and technological innovation, we have seen a rise in the level of sophistication now required across all digital channels. This means it is becoming more challenging to work the typical marketing model of a generalist approach, drawing on agency resource where required. Equally, building in-house teams with the right level of specialism to meet customer requirements and company objectives isn’t as simple as just hiring a digital marketing manager. Some of the key challenges facing digital professionals today include the following.
Social media
With the rise and fall of a number of social media platforms over the past few years, businesses need to determine how to get the most out of the platforms their business is using and which platforms are best to integrate automation. A good example of a challenge which social media professionals are currently facing is the management of Facebook’s new approach to restricting business-related content, which has wide implications for established Facebook marketing approaches.
GDPR
What does GDPR mean for digital marketing? Big changes. This new set of regulations will mean direct marketing channels may be significantly reduced and flow of customers could slow. Digital teams are currently working hard to ensure their marketing plans are compliant with the regulations and the implications for each company will vary, as will the best solution. 
SEO
As the internet of things puts web-enabled devices into the hands of more and more people around the world, winning in organic search offers more potential to businesses than ever before. However, just as your digital team gets a handle on the latest Google algorithm update a new one is released. This means the SEO strategy will need to be adapted, again. Handling the more sophisticated SEO algorithms and staying on top of the updates are real challenges all marketing teams are facing.
PPC 
As more and more businesses fight for the number one position on Google searches, the prices of PPC campaigns are ever increasing. Managing these rising costs while facing growing competition from rival businesses is a significant challenge that specialists in digital teams are facing. 
Thorough workforce planning and mapping skills/capabilities to create the right team for a rapidly evolving, competitive market takes a lot of consideration. Getting the ‘what do we in-house vs what do we outsource’ thinking right is becoming all the more important. 

Hiring talent in a competitive market

The key to success in a market of constant change, is adaptability. Businesses in the technological and digital industries, while typically innovative and forward thinking, can find it challenging to source people with the right skills and experience. 
For digital leaders, there is a significant focus on ensuring their businesses are responding quickly to market changes. As a result, many organisations are looking to hire digital designers, testers, UX/UI specialists and developers into the business so they can be more nimble in managing their online presence. However, when you assess the differences in skills and competencies required from candidates for different digital roles - for example, a performance marketing executive and a social media manager - they are completely different skills and competencies, yet the job specs can often read in similar ways. 
Hiring managers are also likely to follow their, typically unseen, biases. This means that they are unknowingly selecting CVs or profiles that encompass traits, experience and skills they personally believe will suit a role. When hiring for your team, how you define a top candidate needs to be dictated by the skills and specialist knowledge you require to deliver your specific goals, rather than by what convention dictates makes a good digital marketing professional. 
To ensure your business appeals to top candidates in the market it is important to ask; what is your employer value proposition (EVP)? How attractive does your company appear online and how well does your profile sell your organisation and your overall vision? If you haven’t considered these key factors already then you need to. Without a doubt, any digital professional interested in the role you have advertised will be conducting online research on your business - your website, online content, social media, LinkedIn and even Glassdoor. So what message are you broadcasting? Most professionals love being part of a great team full of technically and creatively gifted marketers, your online presence should reflect this. 
It is also important to consider what else you can offer to a candidate. Training and development, the opportunity to have an impact and autonomy are key factors to modern candidates, specifically millennials, when considering career opportunities. Advancing technology will mean that upskilling in digital will play a vital role in the sector looking forward.

The evolving digital landscape

What can we be sure of in the future of digital? Further personalisation? That great product, prices and slick service will win customers and ensure loyalty? Futurism in the workplace and how much we’re prepared to see managed by AI or robots is a topic that is increasingly being discussed but only partially understood. While the potential for AI and the impacts it can have in the digital space are yet to be fully realised, it is likely there will be a limit to how much marketing automation could achieve for a business, as great ideas, great writing and winning creative will still be as valuable in 10 years’ time as it is today. 
If you would like any more information, or to discuss how we can help with your recruitment process, contact us today. Alternatively, if you have a vacancy you need to fill, submit a job spec and one of our specialist consultants will get in touch. 
Alex Hall
Regional Director, Michael Page Digital 
T: +44 1932 264200