Author: Megan Leap

How well do you know digital marketing?


Do you & your team have the digital marketing expertise to succeed?

Many marketers don't, and this lack of critical skills is inhibiting career and business growth.

In fact, OMI's State of Digital Talent study that only 8% of advertising & marketing executives believe their digital talent is strong in all areas of digital marketing.

talent skills

Do you want to know how you stack up? Take OMI's Digital IQ assessment to find out.

You'll see how your knowledge of social media and online marketing compares to your peers', and receive a Digital IQ score with an overview of your areas of strength and weakness. This Digital IQ assessment is used by global agencies and marketing teams to benchmark knowledge, and now we're making it available to you.

So make sure you have the know-how to drive successful ROI and campaign performance. Start the Digital IQ assessment right now.


50% of Content Marketing Efforts Are a Waste, and Why That’s Good for You


If you're investing in content marketing, there's roughly a 50% chance your efforts are a waste. And that's a good thing.

That number might seem extreme, but I'm going to back it up with 4 facts:

1. 59% of advertising & Fortune 500 leaders do not believe their digital talent has the skills necessary to be very successful in content marketing (source: OMI's State of Digital Talent study)

2. 42% of B2B marketers say their content marketing efforts are not effective. At least they admit it. We could probably bump up that number to around 50% for the people that won't. (source: the CMI/MarketingProfs B2B Content Marketing study)

3. That same study on B2B content marketing also found the #1 challenge facing marketers is producing enough content. Yet, frequency is the one of the biggest factors for content marketing effectiveness.

4. Although the quantity of content produced continues to increase exponentially, most of it is, for a lack of a better word, crap. (Okay, I don't even have data to back that up—it's based purely on what I see, and I think most of us will agree.)

Now, there's a lot of talk about the impending "content collapse", or as I like it, "Content Apocalypse 2014", just to give it that classy, doomsday-style spin.

To get you up-to-speed, Mark Schaffer wrote a smart and thought provoking post on "Content Shock", which lead to a lot more chatter—and content!—about the "Content Collapse!". To summarize, as the rate of online content creation increases exponentially, so does the noise, and it's going to become harder for content marketing efforts to bubble up and be seen.

But there's a bigger problem—and opportunity here.

Most content marketing today is garbage, and 42% of marketers ALREADY KNOW their content marketing efforts are not paying off, so I'd say Content Apocalypse 2014 is a good thing. It's simply a reminder that lame content marketing efforts are not sustainable. But no matter the medium, they never were.

So yes, we're going to have to produce BETTER content and a SMARTER content strategy if we want to compete. Perhaps even, I don't know…. train people or hire creatives, copywriters, and journalists!

The bigger story—and opportunity here—is that companies and individuals that invest in producing brilliant, effective content marketing will have a significant competitive advantage.

It's fun to talk about Content Apocalypse. We are hard wired to react to headlines that produce fear. (Who doesn't notice those terrible "10 Signs You'll Get Sick Tomorrow" articles promoted through OutBrain? They never rotate that creepy "You'll Get Cancer" one out, either...)

But it's even more fun to think about the opportunities we have to get really great at content marketing, what that looks like, and what it means for our companies and careers. (Hint: it's not a soulless "Top 3 Tips About Data Storage" list.)

All you have to do is become really awesome at content marketing—which you can!—and there's a significant chance you'll be better than your competition.

With that, here are 10 ideas for smoking those content marketing underachievers (the 50%+!)—and turning content marketing into your secret weapon for success in 2014. While they struggle to produce bi-weekly Top 10 lists of animated GIFS or links to other popular articles, you can focus on this...

For your career

Marketers with impressive content experience and skills are in high demand. They get more job offers, consulting opportunities, and command a higher salary. You can too.

1. If you're new to content marketing, find opportunities to get involved with content marketing & strategy at your company.

It can be as simple as offering to write a blog post your company blog, or contributing insights from analytics to improve current content marketing efforts, or writing an email campaign. However you do it—just start somewhere, and offer to help whenever you can.

2. Take a writing class and expand your skill set.

I can't stress this enough. As the "Content Apocalypsecontinues to unfold, it's going to be harder for crappy content to get visiblity (thank goodness!). If you want to get better, you can, but it starts with educating yourself on content, including written content, video content, visual and more. And then a lot of practice, which is my next point...

3. Practice, practice, practice—starting now!

Do it while you can—and while everyone continues to underachieve. The bar for content is just going to get higher.

4. Create content, even outside of your main job.

Offer to develop content for another publication—free of charge—to try new ideas & showcase your capabilities. Years ago, while I was working in marketing at ion interactive, I produced content for the company blog, but then I started to write guest posts for Wordstream and Search Engine Journal etc… The content probably wasn't brilliant—and not that this is either!—but it ended up being great practice, and  I was able to write about a broader range of topics and get my toes wet. Writing outside of your day job can also be great 3rd party validation for future career and consulting opportunities.

5. To get ahead, stay ahead.

Evolving technology and content consumption trends continue to present new challenges and opportunities, and the best content marketers stay on top of those changes. Whether it's learning about visual content, real-time strategy, analytics or integration, it's important to stay ahead.

For your company

Companies that focus on improving the effectiveness of their content marketing efforts generate more leads, win more business, and gain more market share.

6. Put distribution at the heart of your content.

Most content today just gets added to the noise—very little content rises above it. Distribution should be at the heart of your strategy, and you can use search data to inform your content marketing efforts.

7. Incorporate real-time content into your digital strategy.

It's becoming more and more important to deliver exactly the right piece of content at exactly the right time. This doesn't necessarily mean producing garbage that capitalizes on Justin Bieber's arrest—but content that's fresh and in line with the pain points and opportunities your customers are facing—right then and there. Carmen Hill explains how in Real-Time or Die: Feeding the Content Beast.


I'm sure it can be a hard line item to swallow. But isn't wasting money on ineffective content marketing even worse?

9. Tie your content back to measurable conversion goals.

Prove the value of your efforts (unless you're part of that 50% ;))—and gain leverage for a raise, too. Make sure to integrate conversion points, such as opt-ins and phone calls, throughout your entire content marketing program. Here's how to measure your content marketing efforts.

10. Test, test, test.

You won't know what works until you test it. So get creative, try new things. Inject a culture of speed and testing into your company, if you can. It's okay if the content is less than stellar—it's the only way to get to the place where it's not.

Now I know this list isn't complete. If you have any thoughts on the opportunities in content marketing, please leave them below! 


3 Alarming (but Exciting) Content Marketing Statistics


Content marketing—including blogs, webinars, and white papers—is the heartbeat of successful digital marketing.

It can make a boring product exciting, a confusing message clear, a soulless website come alive, and perhaps most exciting of all, the catalyst to growing your company—and your career.

Most marketing leaders agree on the importance of content marketing. But when it comes their talent having the skills necessary to execute successful content marketing, that's another story.

Straight from OMI's State of Digital Marketing Talent study, here are 3 content marketing statistics that will get your attention... and hopefully get you pumped about the tremendous opportunities we all have in front of us!

Content marketing statistic #1

Content marketing is the 3rd most critical skill for digital marketing talent, behind analytics and email marketing. Tweet this stat!

content marketing statistic

Content Marketing Statistic #2

59% of marketing & ad execs don't believe their talent has what it takes to be very successful in content marketing. Tweet this stat!


content marketing statistic

Content Marketing Statistic #3

68% of advertising and Fortune 500 leaders believe content marketing is a very important skill for applicants to digital marketing positions. Tweet this stat!

content marketing statistic

So we all agree on the value of smart content marketing—now it's time to get great at it.

There's no better time to turn content marketing into a competitive advantage for your company and your career than now.

For companies, that means shifting resources to content marketing, and improving your talent's skills through internal training and education, including certifications and team training. As our study found, most marketers aren't great content marketers, so the sooner your team gets up-to-speed, the further behind your competition will be.

For individuals, that means improving your content marketing skills, and getting more involved with content marketing, whether at your company, or through outside projects, such as building a personal blog and guest posting.

In tomorrow's post, I will dive deep into ways companies and individuals can turn content marketing into their secret weapon for success in 2014! Stay tuned.


3 Qualities of Super B2B Marketers: An Interview with Jasmine Sandler


Do you and your team have what it takes to be successful B2B marketers?

In today's new world of B2B, it takes much more than a large sales force or dial list to be successful.

If you want to drive sales of epic proportions, you need to make sure you have the skills and experience necessary to make incredibly smart decisions, and be able to answer questions like:

  • What is the best way to prioritize my B2B marketing mix in 2014?
  • Or engage key decision makers through mobile?
  • Or leverage LinkedIn to generate and nurture leads?
  • Or improve the quality and quantity of my online lead gen?

That's where OMI instructor Jasmine Sandler comes in. Jasmine is the founder of Agent-cy Online Marketing, and for the past 8 years, she has been training marketing & sales professionals on the best ways to generate leads online and convert those leads into longtime customers. (Make sure to check out her OMI course on LinkedIn marketing.)

jasmine sandler

I recently interviewed Jasmine to learn more about her experience, and get her advice for transforming from the B2B professional of yesterday to the marketing superhero of tomorrow. Here's what she had to say:

1. Jasmine, how did you get started in B2B marketing? What were you doing before that?

I was entering graduate school in Miami in 1995 and started working for a small web design and development company, selling deals to local Miami businesses. Prior to that, I spent 2 years on Madison Avenue in NYC as a Media Buyer for Foote, Cone and Belding and then as a Marketing Manager for a small restaurant marketing firm, also in Manhattan. Since 1995, I have sold, build, solutioned and managed 1000’s of web projects, both for clients and other agencies.I also spent 5 years as a Data Manager at IBM Global Services.

2. What do you love most about it? What do you dislike the most about it?

Brainstorming ideas that result in audience development and working directly with clients to watch their businesses grow. I truly dislike the dishonesty in my field. I am in the process of writing a series of books on the Truth about Online Marketing.

3. Why did you decide to specialize in B2B social media and online marketing?

I have always had a strong interest and talent in B2B solution sales and marketing from my days at IBM through my sales of digital services to agencies. When I started Agent-cy in 2006, the mission was to provide an agency level of service that focused on delivering quality of service direct to the C-suite, while focusing on using the web as a cost-efficient medium. Social Media can be an excellent channel to drive up brand awareness and audience development. Couple that with effective Search Marketing and a B2B organization can truly win online. To me, that is pure marketing excellence.

4. What are the top 3 qualities of successful B2B digital marketers?

  1. A strong understanding of how decision makers use the web to obtain products and services.
  2. An advanced level of knowledge and use/experience in all levels of online marketing, including Search Marketing. E-Mail Marketing, Online Media and Social Media Marketing as Community Development.
  3. Strong analytic skills and experience in online marketing.
B2B super infographic

5. What is your best advice for brands and agencies that want to gain a competitive advantage in 2014?

Invest in a strong social media marketing team and management tools – all the way from providing current marketing managers and sales personnel with the tools and guidelines they need to be successful in using social – to acquiring solid content creators that are of the highest quality and have a true understanding of the company’s industry, business and competitive market place.

6. You train a lot of companies and professionals in social media and online marketing. Why is professional education important?

Metrics, technology and competition in our industry changes on a daily basis. For any corporate marketer or anyone who is looking to build a career in marketing, continuing education in this field is absolutely essential.

7. Now to some serious questions... what have superheroes taught you about marketing and advertising?

Be honest.

8. If you could be any superhero, who would you be?

I am a superhero 😉 — Wonderwoman and Shehulk

9. Who is your dream client?


10. What song best describes your work ethic?

“Lose Yourself” (Eminem 2007)

Learn the secrets of LinkedIn marketing success.

Take Jasmine's LinkedIn Marketing Crash Course now and arm yourself with proven tactics & tools to build your brand and boost your sales. You'll see rich demonstrations on how to use LinkedIn to maximize your leads, and review solid examples of LinkedIn users and influencers who are using LinkedIn as their #1 marketing channel. Take this course now.


How to Build Your Digital Marketing Dream Career: Advice from Lisa Buyer


lisa buyer - digital marketing career interviewBack in August 2012, I finally had the chance to meet digital PR expert Lisa Buyer.

Lisa is the founder of The Buyer Group, an interactive agency, and a lead instructor here at OMI (check out her course on digital PR). Like me, she also hails from sunny South Florida, but we never met until we were 3,000 miles away from home at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in San Francisco. (Random tidbit: we figured out one of Lisa’s clients was the building I lived in at the time. Her digital PR efforts clearly worked—I moved there!)

She recently told me about her new book, Social PR Secrets, and even sent me a signed copy. The book dives deep into the best tactics for driving awareness, traffic, and sales through a powerful mix of social, content, and online PR.

Lisa has done a tremendous job building a successful career in this space, so I wanted to find out how she did it, what she looks for in digital talent, and get her digital marketing career advice so you can build your dream career, too!

Here is part 1 of my interview with Lisa:

1. Lisa, you built a successful interactive agency focusing on digital marketing & online PR. How did you get your start?

In the digital marketing cloud, I got this party started from the club Public Relations, danced my way through with hits like I’m just a girl who was kissed by the social media wave and It’s fun to know Y…. S-E-O.  I’ve owned three PR agencies; the first two primarily focused on corporate communications including branding, PR and media buying for the technology, real estate and health/wellness industries.

Right when things were getting a little BORING at club PR, the dot-com bass #boom happened and my agency was hit with jams like Internet business innovators from Silicon Valley. This digital beat gave us ways to do the PR Macarena, even before Google was a song sang by all, we were figuring out ways to gain online visibility via news groups, keywords and stock symbols etc.

lisa buyer

Lisa being interviewed at SES

I started attending Search Engine Strategies in 2007 to learn more on how I could A) help my public relations clients use the Internet to get more news visibility but also B) help clients navigate through the ins and outs of communicating/working/translating/finding the right SEO and SEM teams.

I like to laugh and say: I went from being a total search marketing conference groupie geek to being part of the band.

After attending several SES and PubCon conferences (sitting front and center), I was asked in 2008 to speak on the News Search SEO panel at SES San Jose alongside Lee Odden, Greg Jarboe and Dana Todd – a complete honor! Since then, the rest is in my Rock and Search Hall of Fame. I’ve been dancing to the techno hits and sweet musical links between PR, Search, and Social with some of the coolest and smartest people in the industry.

My agency today, The Buyer Group, focuses on 4 hits on an mp3 mix: Social PR consulting, educating, evangelizing and special projects. We help businesses and also work with agencies behind the scenes to integrate social media and SEO into the public relations fold. There is a still a lot to learn as new technologies unfold in real-time.

2. Our report on the State of Digital Marketing Talent found 70% of respondents believe new employees expect to advance or be hired for upper-level positions before proving themselves [read the full report here].

What advice do you have for those looking to break into digital marketing, or advance their careers?

We need education. Continue your professional education on a consistent basis—invest in yourself! Stay ahead.

lisa buyer success

That means online training, conferences, webinars—even freelancing out of your main comfort zone and getting experience in other areas just to learn how to manage and what to look for. It used to be an education was get it, graduate and you were done.

Today you can’t learn in school the real backbone and real-time life experience of digital marketing. There is not a text book to follow, (well maybe on Twitter:)—it is a hybrid of traditional fundamentals with modern day advances that we are still evolving in. If you are hiring, triple check qualification and don’t hire entry-level when expecting senior results. Then again, it is also possible to hire a senior executive level and get entry-level results in digital marketing, so call references.

3. What has been the proudest moment of your career in digital & PR?

Proudest (and scariest) is my most recent publishing of Social PR Secrets, my first book! The day it went live on Amazon I was thinking to myself, in life, you give what you get. So believe and give to yourself. Put the effort you put into your job or clients and results will happen. It’s hard work but it’s worth every sweat equity you put into you. I’ve made my dream come true of being an author and so can you too..oh and a Google Author too:)

4. What are 3 qualities of a successful digital PR and marketing professional?

  1. Journalistic know-how that is proven—thinking like brand publishers versus old fashioned PR practitioners that wait for traditional journalists to do all the work.
  2. Analytical thinking and understanding—if a digital PR and marketing pro does not know how  to use Google Analytics and access KPIs using an analytical measuring approach i measuring what matters - you are wasting precious time
  3. Visual, social and mobile storytelling—that your community cares about!

5. What is the most common mistake you see people make when hiring digital marketing talent? How can they solve it?

They see social media as an entry-level position. That is not to say there can’t be an entry-level social media position. But to put someone “in charge” of your social and give that person the power to make social branding decisions and social marketing decisions from the social front line is a huge business mistake.

They can solve this by hiring a qualified digital marketing consultant or agency to receive the strategy and guidance and then hire the entry level social media person to implement but making sure that person has a higher level seasoned and proven digital marketing executive to guide them.

In my opinion there is a huge shortage of senior marketers who have a first hand understanding of digital marketing and they rely on others to guide them, this leaves them not really knowing how to read reports and ask the right questions. Younger generation marketers get frustrated because they have to deal with the senior marketers who either A. won’t take the time to invest in learning the basics or B. think it’s too late to have to learn anything new or C. say they don't have the time to do it.

There is a huge disconnect between generations of marketers and public relations professionals.

6. Are there any other marketing/PR professionals that have had an impact on your career?

Dana Todd gave me my first break by inviting me to speak at SES San Jose back in 2008, I started following Spin Sucks Gini Dietrich early on and also Sarah Evans, they both have similar mindsets and were mavericks like me in the future of Social PR.

7. Bonus! How often do you Google yourself?

Probably 2x a month just to check the search results on page one, every brand should have reputation management monitoring—even if it as simple that! That’s a good search and social PR best practice.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our interview with Lisa! And make sure to check out her new book, Social PR Secrets.

social PR secrets

@RemyTheCavalier gave "Social PR Secrets" 5 stars!


How B2B Marketers Can Use Primary Research to Build Authority


Primary Research Example: Our Very Own "State of Digital Talent" ReportWith so many businesses leveraging content marketing these days, it can become challenging to make your brand’s voice rise above the chatter.

One way you can separate yourself is by releasing high-quality, original research. This strategy takes more time and effort than churning out blog posts, but it could be the key to elevating your brand above the competition.

By conducting primary market research, you are creating original content that is useful to your customers and not accessible from other vendors. Not to mention, primary research has the ability to earn a high volume of social shares and links, while building your brand’s authority within your market.

Janna Finch, Managing Editor at Software Advice, a research firm that analyzes marketing trends and software, recently published an article showcasing four companies that have successfully used primary research to help solidify their brand as a market leader. Here is a brief summary, with an additional 5th example—our very State of Digital Marketing Talent report.

1. Moz’s “2013 Search Engine Ranking Factors Survey”

Moz has been viewed as an industry leader in the SEO community for over a decade. To help solidify this position, Moz released its “2013 Search Engine Ranking Factors Survey.” For this report, the company surveyed over 120 search marketers on more than 80 search engine ranking factors. With the data Moz collected, it was able to capture what influences search engine results, according to search marketers. The quality of this data helped popularize Moz, and helped generate nearly 700 links and more than 3,000 social media shares.

2. Adobe’s “2013 Digital Marketing Optimization Survey Results”

Adobe is already regarded as an authority on marketing by the industry, but to help reinforce its position, it published the “2013 Digital Marketing Survey Results.” This provided a comprehensive overview of what characteristics marketers believe are essential to achieving success. The report was delivered with summaries and easy-to-understand graphs, which helped present the potentially-overwhelming data in an easily-shared format. According to a LinkedIn case study, after marketers reviewed the report, they were 50 percent more likely to agree that Adobe is shaping the future of digital marketing. This LinkedIn case study evidences the potential for primary research to solidify your brand as an authority and an industry leader.

3. Silverpop’s “2013 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study”

Silverpop is one of the most authoritative brands in the marketing automation community. To help reinforce this standing, the company turned to its “2013 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study.” This study provided actionable and useful information for Silverpop’s customers. The report analyzed the click-through rates, open rates and message sizes of every email message sent by 2,787 companies around the world. Silverpop’s report generated a great deal of buzz, earned 206 links and got a great deal of Web exposure.

These four examples showcased in Finch’s article help reinforce the idea that primary research can be an effective strategy for companies looking to reinforce their brands as industry leaders. Keep in mind that creating useful and original primary research is not easy, but the rewards might make it worth the extra effort.

4. The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs’ “B2B Content Marketing 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends”

The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs recently joined forces to survey 1,218 B2B marketers to help build a comprehensive picture of current content marketing trends and challenges. The two organizations published their findings in an easily-digestible report called “B2B Content Marketing 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends.” Their report analyzed what mediums marketers have found to be the most successful, along with a variety of other useful industry data. It successfully positioned these brands as marketing thought leaders. Not to mention, the report earned over 126 linking domains, 2,000 social shares and 26,000 Slideshare views.

5. OMI's "State of Digital Marketing Talent" report

This past summer, we surveyed 747 executives from global agencies and brands on the state of digital & social media skills and training within their companies. Grab your free copy here (worth over $495), and check out the corresponding infographic, too. The study found Fortune 500 companies and global agencies face a serious digital marketing skills shortage. This report is helping address the widespread lack of talent in digital and champion the importance of training and education. We released the study in November, and to date, have generated over 60 back links and thousands of downloads.


A Day in the Life of a Busy Social Media Marketer [infographic]


The demands on social media marketers continue to grow and distractions are everywhere. For many of us, it's challenging to efficiently manage the day-to-day tasks involved with the constantly-changing landscape.

With that, it's important to streamline your social media initiatives as much as possible, in order to save time & stay focused. Our friends over at RazorSocial created this nifty infographic about the day in the life of a social media marketer, and the social media & content tools that can help you stay efficient, and knowledgeable about what's happening in the industry.

RELATED CLASS: Best Practices for Integrated Content & Social Media Marketing

I love how passionate the RazorSocial team is about social (big shout out to our friend and RazorSocial founder Ian Cleary!). His team even included ideas for efficiently including social media as part of your evening / bedtime activities!

But don't forget, we gotta separate my friends 😉 If we're constantly plugged into technology and the web, we're never plugged in to the people and world around us—and missing out on the most important parts of life. 🙂

Is this what your average day is like? Leave a comment below...

social media tools info graphic

Infographic by:


Digital Marketing Talent Spotlight: Shelly Lucas of D&B Reminds Us to ‘Give It Our All’


Over the past few years, I've had the chance to get to know Shelly Lucas, Senior Marketing Manager at D&B/Hoover's. We met through the Hoover's Twitter account while I was hosting a weekly Twitter chat about marketing. Shelly (AKA @Hoovers @DnBUS) was the only business account that consistently attended and interacted with other attendees. I was always so impressed and excited by this, because I see very few other businesses take the time to really leverage Twitter for building and nurturing meaningful relationships. As our State of Digital Marketing Talent study found, great talent in social media marketing is hard to come by.

RELATED CLASS: Twitter Tactics for Higher Engagement & ROI

With that, I wanted to learn more about Shelly and get her thoughts on B2B social media strategy, so I asked her these 8 questions. I'm a big fan of her and once you get to know her, I think you will be, too.

You can follow Shelly on Twitter @pisarose and connect with her on LinkedIn here.

1. How did you get started in online marketing?

Shelly: I started thinking like an online marketer in graduate school---not by studying marketing, but by thinking about the ways we make meaning. When we write something, it becomes a dialogue the moment it’s read. A book can be 100 years old, but its context is organic. It’s always interplaying with contemporary readers’ experiences. In that way—in its relevance and interpretation—it’s continuously being rewritten…and retold.

If you’re good at social media marketing, you understand before you can put yourself in customers’ shoes, you have to understand their context. You have to be willing to listen intently to what’s said--and what’s unsaid. This requires a certain fearlessness. Social conversations may require you to build upon, question, or unravel your own truth. You have to be ready, willing and able to establish an emotional connection within an ambiguous and constantly shifting landscape. It’s like dancing to a song you never heard before—with one or more partners—with the world watching.

2. What were you doing before becoming an online marketer?

Shelly: I taught college English for several years, and then left academia to wear many hats in corporate communications, PR, analyst relations, and traditional marketing.

3. What was your first job?

Shelly: A simultaneous server, cashier and dishwasher at a local pizza parlor. I was 14. Before that, I sold greeting cards door-to-door, earning $1 per box. I used that money to buy holiday presents for my family.

4. Our new State of Digital Marketing Talent report revealed that 70% of new employees expect to advance or be hired for upper-level positions before proving themselves. What advice do you have for those looking to break into social media marketing?

Shelly: Social media marketers with staying power rarely break into the field in a sudden viral explosion. More often, their success is the result of a painstaking, tireless and wisely calculated strategic effort. If you don’t have patience, you won’t last long in social. Brightly burning candles with short wicks need not apply.

5. One of the respondents to the study said, "people are either marketers, or digital, but rarely both." Do you agree with this? What do you consider yourself?

Shelly: Each of these roles is often missing skills of the other, but this will eventually remedy itself. Marketers can no longer push their brands on prospects; they have to learn to influence folks within the scope of individual preferences. So we’re back to context. It’s inescapable with mobile marketing and wearable technology. Digital marketers, on the other hand, may be good at online engagement, but do they understand the buyer’s journey? Do they design a digital experience that not generates clicks, but also supports the brand promise? Do they have solid industry-specific knowledge?

6. What are the most common mistakes you see B2B companies make on Twitter?

Shelly: They’re not experimenting enough. A lot of B2B brands concentrate on sharing content created by marketing and PR, which is great, but what about creating content specifically for social? How can you take an existing message and make it socially engaging? You don’t need a huge team to do this. Just be opportunistic and work smart. If your Twitter followers like visuals, consider swapping out a Twitpic of a report’s bar graph with a quirky photo and a creative lead-in. Or what about extracting highlights from the report and turning it into a slideshow with fun vintage illustrations? You could even pose a question on the very last slide with a hashtag, encouraging folks to continue the conversation on Twitter. Of course, whatever you do should fall within your brand’s guardrails, but you may have more latitude than you think.  RELATED CLASS: Twitter Tactics for Higher Engagement & ROI

7. What is the most common mistake you see people make when hiring social media marketing talent? How can they solve it?

Shelly: They’re more worried about candidates’ familiarity with social platforms, listening tools, and promotional campaigns than they are about their business acumen. I doubt any hiring manager would turn up her nose at a social media applicant’s PR and marketing experience, but most aren’t willing to pay for it. They don’t understand the huge liabilities and opportunities of social. Are most fresh graduates ready to be on the frontlines of a brand crisis when it breaks on Twitter? Companies should invest in seasoned talent, which can mentor a more junior team—and the rest of the organization if it chooses to embed social in its culture.

8. What song best describes your work ethic?

Shelly: “I Lived” by One Republic. Like a lot of people these days, I spend most of my waking hours working. Owning every experience, and being truly present in every moment, is what I strive for.

Thank you Shelly, for sharing your insights and letting the OMI audience get to know you! I checked out "I Lived" by One Republic, and loved it. It's a great reminder that life is a gift and deserves all the very best of you—your talent, your enthusiasm, and your passion. When working in marketing (or any field for that matter) starts to feel monotonous, you can still find meaning and give it your all. I'll try not to forget that!

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Most Coveted Digital Marketing Skills for 2014 [Infographic]


As part of our 2014 State of Digital Marketing Talent study (announced yesterday, see post here), we asked 747 advertising and Fortune 500 marketing executives which digital marketing skills they value the most, and which skills their talent actually possess.

This enabled us to identify the largest talent gaps, and the most coveted digital marketing skills to have in 2014. (We define the talent gap as the difference between skills/specialties marketing executives value the most, and the skills their talent currently has.)

Brand side: most coveted digital marketing skills/specialities are analytics and mobile marketing

Analytics talent gap: 37%

  • 76% of those surveyed believe analytics is a very important/important skill to have, but only 39% believe their talent is stronger/much stronger than other teams.

Mobile marketing talent gap: 29%

  • 58% of those surveyed believe mobile is a very important/important skill, but only 29% believe their talent is stronger/much stronger than other teams

These are followed by content marketing (27%), social media (27%), email (27%), marketing automation (24%), SEO (19%), and digital advertising (12%).

Agency side: most coveted digital marketing skills/specialities are mobile, analytics, and marketing automation

Mobile marketing talent gap: 43%

  • 74% of agency executives surveyed believe mobile is a very important/important skill to have, but only 31% believe their talent is stronger/much stronger than competition—a gap of 43 percentage points. Ouch!

Analytics talent gap: 30%

Marketing automation talent gap: 30%

How You Can Capitalize on These Talent Gaps


Marketing professionals, advertising professionals and job seekers alike—you can increase career opportunities and command a higher salary by improving your skills in these areas (they are all in demand!). Our library of online classes will help you do just that.

Brand-side executives

Get a competitive advantage and increase market share by improving your team's skills with training and better hiring. The better equipped your digital team members are, the better your return on advertising and marketing spend will be. This will lead to better profitably overall. It's a win-win! We've seen firsthand online training for teams improves company-wide performance through our own eLearning programs.

Agency-side executives

If you want to stay relevant, it's critical to close these gaps through training. The largest digital skill gaps are on the agency side, not brand side. C'mon, be the strategic experts that you are! Your team will gain more trust and credibility in the eyes of your clients, and will know how to drive better, more quantifiable results. This will lead to higher billings and client satisfaction. Make it happen! We're here to help.

Digital Marketing Skills and Talent Infographic (embed code at the bottom)

Our friends over at Kelly Services did an incredible job creating this infographic to go along with the report—it highlights these key gaps and opportunities. Big shout out to Todd WheatlandMichael Kirsten, and Dominique Hanlon at Kelly—you rock!

P.S. If you haven't already, download your copy of the State of Digital Marketing Talent report now, and be sure to let us know your thoughts.

digital marketing skills infographic


Digital Marketing Talent Study: Skills Are Inflated and Talent Is Slim


New research by OMI, in partnership with ClickZ and Kelly Staffing, reveals Fortune 500 companies and global agencies face a serious digital marketing skills shortage.

I'm thrilled to announce the release of our new 27-page study, the State of Digital Marketing Talent: Part 1 (Overview).

This past summer, we surveyed 747 executives from the Fortune 500 and global agencies on the state of digital marketing skills and training within their companies. Grab your free copy here (worth over $495).

Overall, the study found that executives are unhappy with the skills of digital and social media team talent, and there is a large talent gap hurting sales, employee retention, and marketing ROI.

But there is good news too!

This is also a tremendous opportunity for marketing and advertising leaders to gain a competitive advantage through digital marketing training and level-setting programs.

Here are some of the key findings of the report:

There is a large talent gap—a substantial difference between the digital marketing skills team members should possess, and the skills they currently have.

71% of large companies believe their digital team is strong in some specialities, but weak in others, with sizable gaps in every area studied.

Only 8% of those surveyed believe their employees are strong in all areas of digital marketing.


Brands and agencies perceive spotty levels of knowledge, skill level and experience.

There is a need for talent at each level (entry, mid-tier and executive), with knowledge and skill gaps observed in the most crucial areas, including analytics and marketing automation.

Large companies are in particular need of entry-level social media marketers, and mid-tier managers in content marketing and web analytics.

Agencies perceive particularly strong gaps in mobile, analytics, and marketing automation.

Brands and agencies face challenges in locating talent, and this results in a lack of consistency.

30% of large companies and 24% of agencies are unable to adequately distinguish between individuals with the right skills, and those without.

There are missed opportunities for improving skills acquisition.

Level-setting programs are infrequently used, impeding returns on marketing investment.

Just 22% of large companies have a level-setting program.

Skill assessment plans are used infrequently and characterized by frequent dissatisfaction.

Companies recognize the value of assessment and measurement, yet an absence of standards and insufficient onboarding programs put employers at a competitive disadvantage.

There is a broad sense of entitlement among young employees.

This attitude results in significant risk of career self-sabotage, and interferes with the ability of the organization to generate results.

70% of respondents say that new employees expect to advance or be hired for upper-level positions before proving themselves.

Companies are in need of solid, measurable, and accurate digital talent education.

Programs are sorely needed but few are implementing formal team training programs.

Close to 80% would value an on-demand library of digital marketing classes, with almost 70% being interested in customized eLearning of digital marketing skills or in-person workshops or training

Close the talent gap through digital marketing training and education.

I've seen firsthand how closing the digital talent gap can transform companies through our own eLearning programs.

For the agency, this translates into winning more business and increasing client retention rates.

For the Fortune 500 company, this translates into increasing market share and generating a significantly higher return on every marketing and advertising dollar spent.

And for the individual, it means expanding career opportunities, satisfaction, and salary growth.

If you haven't already, get your copy of the 27-page study now. We look forward to hearing your thoughts. Let's close the talent gap together!