Five must-have digital skills for 2023

2023 is going to be a challenging year for many businesses. The economic downturn will inevitably mean budgets come under a lot of pressure and we all know that marketing departments are often the first place that businesses look to make savings. Consequently, if you’re a marketer it’s more important than ever before to prove value. The best way to do this is to expand your digital skillset. Not only does this help to make you more indispensable to your current employer, it also, should the worst happen, will significantly improve your chances of getting a new job quickly. However, deciding which skills to acquire can be complicated. After all, we don’t have unlimited time to dedicate to training and the expertise businesses need are constantly changing. So which are the top skills you should consider acquiring in 2023? Based on discussions with a range of businesses, Sarah Gilchriest President of Circus Street, explores the skills we think will be most in demand in 2023:

A Data critic

Data analytics is a hugely important tool in today’s business arena, helping companies to reach key decisions and craft business strategies. Organisations generate vast amounts of data that can be put to use for competitive advantage if a team is in place who are data literate and understand how to interpret and analyse that information. The reality is though that many businesses are still getting to grips with the analytical skills required to effectively turn information into profit. At the root of this is the critical evaluation of data. The willingness not to take convenient shortcuts to insights, but instead work with the rigor necessary to come to the correct conclusions. Success lies in considering the tasks that you want to perform, the data that you will need, how you will safeguard information, and how you will leverage it to build business cases and inform decisions. The more data expertise you can require the more future proof and attractive your skill set becomes. At the very least, you need to have a basic understanding of statistics to thoughtfully apply data insights to your daily work. 

A technology evaluator

In 2022 alone, we’ve had waves of hype about everything from NFTs to the metaverse. It is incredibly complicated for businesses to decide which trend is worth dedicating attention and resources to. There’s therefore a real need for digital experts who can separate the signal from the noise. To do this you need to be able to understand technology fundamentals, recognise valid use cases, and be able to consider alternative solutions. Practically speaking this means broadening your knowledge base across the entire marketing piste to have a solid grounding of existing and emerging martech solutions.

Social media user

More and more users are becoming aware of products, making purchasing decisions, and consuming brand media via social media. At the same time the space is constantly evolving in terms of the relative popularity of platforms and how they are being used. These channels can not be fully understood simply by reading research or blogs – they need to be experienced. This means becoming an active user. Younger marketers who use high growth sites like TikTok, Reddit and Instagram have a clear advantage over their older colleagues who may have

restricted their online presence to the likes of Twitter or Facebook. Being a well rounded digital expert means understanding every available social channel – even if you are not the target demographic.

A digital leader

Remote and flexible working is here to stay and this has brought about fundamental changes to the management experience. To be an effective team leader it’s necessary to be able to adjust to these new circumstances. Understanding how to best use technology to manage tasks, monitor productivity and engage team members is critical. As is determining the best way to structure workflows, assess results and enable the equal development of remote and in office workers. In short, to be a modern manager you need to be able to lead both in the office and digitally.

An environmental advocate

With the sheer volume of monumental news over the past few years, it can be easy to forget that we’re also in a major climate emergency. Environmental concerns are not going to go away and will continue to rise up the corporate agenda. In all likelihood a combination of social and legislative pressure will eventually compel all businesses to act more sustainably. As a result, understanding factors such as sustainable sourcing, ethical supply chains, and carbon neutrality will be important for every marketer if they want to effectively protect their brand’s reputation. The more knowledge and practical experience you have of running green focused marketing campaigns the better.

Of course, ahead of a looming recession it may be easy to assume that the best approach would be to put training and upskilling investment on the backburner in order to save costs and ensure greater focus on commercial opportunities. However, the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. 

In these economically tough and competitive times, investing in training is essential because it can help a business protect its profit margin, widen opportunities and remain tomorrow-ready amid the evolving digital landscape. In this way, ulltimately it will be those businesses who widen their digital skillset and encourage employees to participate in quality training that will take the lead and steal from a diminished pool of opportunity. 

Sarah Gilchriest

President of Circus Street

Rise of the machines.

Ahsan Zafeer • 26th November 2022

Ahsan Zafeer covers topics related to tech and digital marketing and tweets @AhsanZafeer. Here he explains people’s fears as to why machines are taking over their jobs.