Which skills do digital marketers know best? Which industry is best with data and analytics? And does the intern really know their way around Facebook better than the boss? We’ve got the answers in our inaugural Digital Marketing Skills Benchmark.

The Benchmark, which anyone can use for free at targetinternet.com, asks the user a series of questions about various digital marketing topics, written according to CIM best practice guidelines. Once the user has submitted their answers, it generates a report on their subject-specific and overall skill level (or as we call it, their Digital Marketing Skills Index).

We decided it would be fascinating to take these benchmark test results, anonymise the data, and analyse it to create a snapshot of the state of skills in our industry. Which skills are most lacking throughout the industry, which sector does which skill best, and how do skills vary according to seniority level? The answers are there to be found in the data.

Read this article for some of our favourite findings, or scroll straight to the bottom to find a link to the full report.

Email marketing is the average marketer’s strongest suit

Our respondents scored an average of 52% when quizzed about Email Marketing tactics and strategy – the highest percentage we saw in any area of digital marketing. General Marketing came 2nd at 46%, with E-commerce a distant third on 37%.

In a sense, it’s great that so many digital marketers are au fait with email; but against the backdrop of GDPR significantly limiting what email marketers can do and who they can target, this is perhaps not the most ideal category in which to excel. We would expect to see other categories catching up with Email Marketing over the next six months, as marketers shift their approach to suit their new environment.

Agency marketers only score 35% on this essential digital marketing topic

Agency digital marketers generally scored higher than individuals from other working backgrounds in the Benchmark test. Nonetheless, this group did lag in a few areas where better results might be expected.

A notable problem area was the Content Marketing category, on which agency marketers scored an average of just 35%. This is despite the fact that digital marketers currently rate content marketing as the most commercially impactful type of marketing (source: Smart Insights).

Ambitious marketers should see this as an opportunity to excel. By increasing your content marketing knowledge, you could position yourself to outperform most of the competition – even those operating at an agency level.

Sport & leisure specialists are great with data

The sport, leisure and entertainment sectors are synonymous with stats, charts, tables and analysis, so it should come as no surprise that individuals from this group were amongst the highest scorers on the Data & Analysis section of the benchmark test. Their average score of 43% puts them well ahead of the likes of Media & Publishing (20%), Retail (27%) and Consumer Goods (31%).

A far weaker area for this group was Digital Strategy (27%). Scoring so well on Data & Analysis speaks well of marketers from Sport/Leisure/Entertainment – but those skills could go so much further if combined with sophisticated digital strategy.

Which seniority level scores highest on digital marketing skills?

Were there any surprises when we compared digital marketing proficiency across different seniority levels? Yes and no.

Some of you may be interested to hear that Directors were not the most knowledgeable group, with a skill level of 36%. This stacks up, however, given that the only group to surpass them were Heads of Department, who scored an average of 41%. A Head of Department’s job is to be a specialist, whereas Directors will typically take on other tasks such as business strategy and sales, and this is borne out by our findings.

We were also interested to note that Interns scored almost as high as Assistant/Graduate respondents on their Social Media proficiency (25% vs 30%). Contrary to some bosses’ worst fears, junior team members did not outperform them on this or any other category, with Directors scoring an average of 36% in the Social Media category.

The above findings are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the insights to be found in the Digital Marketing Skills Benchmark report, which breaks down the results of our testing by Skill, Sector and Seniority.

Download your free copy to get all our findings in tabular form, plus commentary from Target Internet and the CIM.

How much have you Mastered?

However you read it, the benchmark skills report indicates that there are some serious gaps in the skills sets of business marketing practitioners. Digital is no longer a new discipline and it is surprising that overall knowledge levels across key areas of digital marketing are so poorly understood. Want to see how your skills stack up against your peers in the industry? Take the skills benchmark test to see how you score and get a detailed recommendation on learning and an action plan you can follow to further improve your skills in digital marketing.

Take the Digital Marketing Skills Benchmark