93 Percent of Agencies Acknowledge Digital Talent Gaps, Study Finds

June 12, 2014 by

Online Marketing Institute’s “State of Agency Digital Marketing Talent” Examines Digital Competence Within Agencies 

Cannes, June 12, 2014 — Online Marketing Institute today revealed the findings of its new State of Agency Digital Marketing Talent study, which investigated digital skill sets among existing agency teams. The study can be downloaded here. In the study, 93 percent of agency executives acknowledged major digital marketing knowledge gaps within their workforce. In parallel, 78 percent of agency clients reported being concerned about their agency of choice’s digital expertise.

The study, conducted by Online Marketing Institute along with ClickZ & Kelly Services, suggests that a large number of marketing agencies operate at a competitive disadvantage by not investing in their existing digital marketing talent pool. The survey, originally fielded in Q4 2013, was updated with recent survey data from Q2 2014. Results were collected among 1012 total respondents, including 128 decision-makers, working at agencies or consultancies.

Study highlights include: Compounding the revealing admittance of gaps in agency team’s digital skills, the State of Agency Digital Marketing Talent study found most 93% agencies lacking comprehensive internal training mechanisms to develop skill sets within their existing talent pools. Moreover, agencies were found to neglect implementation of concrete measurements to provide definitive direction for improvement. The findings confirm the necessity of agency-wide training, as is the case with WPP’s JWT Digital Essentials Initiative and handful of similar firms investing in end-to-end Global eLearning programs.

“Clients rely on agencies for strategic guidance and strong execution in the fast-paced world of digital. Simultaneously, agencies universally acknowledge the importance for employees to possess these digital skills, yet demonstrably lack clear strategies to address the challenge,” said Aaron Kahlow, CEO & Founder of Online Marketing Institute. “Our findings reveal the need for agencies to institute pervasive digital education programs in order to sustain a continuous culture of learning and digital innovation. The agency is at the heart and soul of the industry as a whole. For the industry’s continued growth in digital, we all most push for less thoughtless execution and more structure around learning and skill-building.”


  • Agencies are not achieving the desired output from their digital marketing teams. 74 percent of agencies reported that it was important or very important for their team to possess mobile marketing skills, yet just 31 percent assessed their team as stronger or much stronger in mobile marketing when compared with the competition, a gap of 43 percentage points. Agency respondents reported similarly wide gaps in the areas of social media, analytics, email marketing and content marketing.
  • The majority of agencies have no formal or informal assessment of current digital skills. HR and team leads were revealed to be in the dark with regards to the proficiency of digital skills among employees’ level of knowledge in all areas of digital marketing.  Less than nine percent of study respondents reported having undertaken any level of testing or assessment of such skills.
  • Most agencies lack an onboarding program, a key technique in minimizing employee turnover. While onboarding programs are common among large enterprises, fewer than half of agency respondents (46 percent) report having such a program in place.
  • Agencies indicate strong interest in eLearning over traditional in-person trainings. 76 percent of agency respondents stated that access to an on-demand video eLearning would be of value. 72 percent said the same about customized eLearning programs and 65 percent reported currently evaluating in-person training.

About OMI

OMI’s mission is simple: to educate the world by providing the most useful, affordable and enjoyable experience to learn digital marketing.  Founded in 2007, the Online Marketing Institute (OMI) set out to educate marketers on the known truths and best practices of digital marketing. Starting with Digital IQ Assessment and creating the industry’s first leading certification programs with then Wharton, to teach, validate and enable digital marketing excellence through the industry’s most credible and widely known educators, OMI has become the de facto standard for digital marketing credentials and the only eLearning platform for Digital Marketing period.

Today, OMI has educated more individuals on digital marketing than any other organization, including tens of thousands of students worldwide as well as team learning programs for industry-leading agencies, Fortune 500 companies, and hundreds of smaller organizations.

For more information on the Online Marketing Institute or to request a copy of the study, please email: Alyssa@OnlineMarketingInstitute.org

Your evolution starts here. Try our classes for free.10 day free trial

10 day free trial