Defn: Mad skills (noun): to be able to perform amazing and unexpected things 

Marketo’s recently released ‘Marketing 2025’ report surveyed over 700 CMOs and CEOs to take a deep dive into the future of marketing. One of the main areas of focus was skills, as the study aimed to discover what will be required of marketers to enable them to do their jobs at the quarter-century mark. This article first appeared in MarketingMag. 

In an increasingly digital world, this is the area that will require continued focus from those looking to thrive and succeed in the profession. The key differentiator though is ensuring marketers are picking up digital skills that demand creative input or interpretation. Simple data processing and repeatable tasks will either disappear altogether or be increasingly automated and marketers will be able to hand over the mundane elements and simple analytics to algorithms, leaving them freer to conduct detailed and in depth analysis, practise blue sky thinking and connect the dots that their research will uncover. 

Indeed, it will be the capabilities currently regarded as niche that will emerge as the most important tools in a marketer’s skillset. At the top of these in-demand skills will be those in the field of insights and data, with customer experience (CX), user experience (UX), user interface (UI), AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning all gaining in importance. To call marketing 2025 a technology hub would not be overstating it. 

The most significant of those is one that not that long ago dwelt in the realms of science fiction. When Stephen Spielberg released the movie AI in 2001, having taken over the film project from its originator Stanley Kubrick six years earlier, it’s unlikely anyone would have foreseen that 20 years later marketers would say the need for having AI capabilities will rise from six percent to an astonishing 60 percent over the next five years. 

Likewise, neuromarketing skills, which are predicted to rise from a very specialised eight percent niche to a majority 52 percent by 2025. 

What is behind both of these trends is sophisticated data analytics, of course – the requisite enabling technology to put them into effect. Accordingly, survey respondents pinpoint this as the absolute priority skill marketing teams will need to have by 2025. 

The following marketing skills are all predicted to rise in importance over the next five years. 

  • AI/machine learning +54 percent 
  • neuromarketing/buyer behaviour +44 percent 
  • CX/UX/UI +31 percent 
  • experiential marketing +23 percent 
  • analytics/data/insights +19 percent 
  • influencer marketing +12 percent 
  • marketing technology/operations +8 percent 
  • programmatic buying +7 percent 
  • ecommerce +2 percent 

 Declining skills 

 The laws of physics mean that as some things ascend and take on greater importance it’s only to be expected that others will naturally lose their current place in the pecking order, falling away and out of favour. In marketing, this means that some of the current areas of focus will lose relevance. Marketers predict that some of today’s most requested skills, such as digital marketing and media, while not disappearing, are expected to drop over 20 percentage points, from 73 to 52 percent. Social media marketing and content marketing are looking at even less rosy futures, predicted to halve in relevance from 66 to 33 percent and 63 to 39 percent respectively. 

 Facing even greater irrelevance are the most traditional capabilities – the general marketing skills that are looking at avalanche-like figures of 65 to just 13 percent in 2025. And there are notable differences depending on the sector involved. Retail C-suite respondents to the survey see the importance of these skills diminishing from 70 percent today to just seven percent in five years’ time. But manufacturing related marketing is even more pronounced, with general marketing skills expected to disappear completely – going from a healthy 73 percent today to absolute zero. 

 The following marketing skills are those predicted to decline in importance: 

  • web/app development -0.4percent 
  • shopper marketing -3 percent 
  • segment marketing -10 percent 
  • telemarketing -12 percent 
  • market research -12 percent 
  • digital marketing and media -21 percent 
  • content marketing -24 percent
  • public relations/corporate communications -29 percent 
  • social media marketing -32 percent 
  • field marketing/events -34 percent 
  • product marketing -35 percent 
  • generalist marketing – 53 percent 

 To learn more about the future skills marketers will need over the next five years, plus marketers’ expectations for the way the industry will change, download Marketo’s Marketing 2025. 

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