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Senior management switched on to digital but organisational and recruitment challenges remain


  • 62% feel senior management have a good grasp of the potential of digital 

  • Only 43% class digital knowledge in their business as excellent or good

  • 61% cite a lack of focus on digital training

London, 6th December 2011 – Econsultancy has published a new report revealing that while businesses see digital marketing as fundamentally important, many are struggling to develop effective processes and manage resourcing. Research amongst in-house digital professionals finds 62% feel their board or senior management have a good grasp of the potential of digital channels. But when asked about digital knowledge within organisations, only 43% classified it as “excellent” or “good” with 16% declaring it “poor” or “very poor”.

The Econsultancy report - Digital Marketing: Organisational Structures and Resourcing - pulls together qualitative insights and quantitative research from 171 digital marketing and e-commerce managers across 15 different sectors.  It finds that, while senior stakeholders are embracing digital channels, 38% identify a lack of investment in resourcing and training. Despite 87% saying digital training was a high or medium priority for the digital marketing team, 61% said digital training remains a low priority for the organisation generally.

Econsultancy logo
Econsultancy logo

“Marketing teams are going through a period of unprecedented change where roles, structures and processes are all under review,” said the report’s author Neil Perkin, founder of Only Dead Fish and an Econsultancy consultant. “It is no longer the case that senior management within organisations are failing to embrace digital channels, but the fact that investment in training is low suggests there is a disconnect between intent and action.”

Barriers to change
While digital training is an issue, 35% are simply struggling to recruit the right people. In particular, there were three areas cited as key priorities for digital teams in terms of future resourcing: social media and community management, content marketing and mobile marketing/apps development.  Data and web analytics were other areas that many organisations flagged as a potential talent ‘time bombs’.

The majority of organisations (51%) said they now structure digital marketing capability based on function, with separate teams for online marketing, e-communications, development, sales and operations.  The report charts the changes being seen in organisations surveyed, in particular a move from a ‘centre of excellence’ structure towards a ‘hub and spoke’ way of working.

“In the face of competitive, rapidly changing markets and increasing channel complexity, organisations are having to make complex choices about how to resource their digital marketing capability and also how put in place the most effective structures and processes,” said Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director at Econsultancy. “As a result organisational structures are coming under constant review to ensure they drive greater efficiency.”

Four steps for facilitating digital marketing change
The report pulls out four steps, based on feedback from the survey, that were beneficial to achieving change:

  1. Having a clear mandate for change: identifying a requirement and benefit up front helps mitigate resistance and inertia.

  2. Identifying totems in the business: totems that can provide real examples of best practice in new areas that other staff, teams and departments can follow.

  3. Budgeting for experimentation: Allocating a proportion of the budget specifically directed at experimentation is one way in which companies have successfully accommodated a greater rate of change.

  4. Early and tangible demonstration of value: Identifying and agreeing the metrics that will determine success, and providing early evidence of success allows for further investment.

The full report can be downloaded from:


Notes to editors

The 84-page report covers everything you need to know about digital resourcing and structures, including sections on budgeting, skills and training, recruitment and retention and opportunities for the future. The following research was conducted:

Qualitative: a total of 30 in-depth interviews were conducted with a range of digital marketers and managers including heads of digital marketing, marketing directors, digital brand managers, heads of e-commerce, digital strategy leads and relevant digital consultants. These digital marketers worked across a wide variety of different sectors including finance, media, NGO, healthcare, travel, retail, utilities, FMCG, publishing and telecoms.

Quantitative: 171 digital marketing and e-commerce managers from 15 different sectors who are corporate Econsultancy members completed the online survey. Respondents were recruited by email. Some traditional marketers responsible for digital marketing also took part in the survey.

The full report is available on the Econsultancy website:

It is available free to Econsultancy subscribers (silver membership and above) or on a pay-per-view basis.

A free report is available to journalists and bloggers. Please email for details.

About Econsultancy
Econsultancy is a global independent community-based publisher, focused on best practice digital marketing and ecommerce, and used by over 240,000 internet professionals every month.

Our hub has 110,000+ members worldwide from clients, agencies and suppliers alike with over 90% member retention rate. We help our members build their internal capabilities via a combination of research reports and how-to guides, training and development, consultancy, face-to-face conferences, forums and professional networking.

For the last ten years, our resources have helped members learn, make better decisions, build business cases, find the best suppliers, accelerate their careers and lead the way in best practice and innovation.

Econsultancy has offices in London, New York and Dubai and we are a leading provider of digital marketing training and consultancy. We trained over 3,000 marketers and ran over 200 public training courses in 2010.

Join Econsultancy today to learn what’s happening in digital marketing – and what works. Call us to find out more on +44 (0)20 7269 1450 (London) or +1 212 699 3626 (New York).

For more information, visit or follow @econsultancy on Twitter

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