Marketers Seek Upskilling Opportunities To Cure Imposter Syndrome
Kate Burnett, General Manager of the DMA's Talent division, discusses why a disproportionate number of marketers suffer from imposter syndrome and how government-funded upskilling is helping.
Marketing personnel are prone to impostor syndrome. But, as Mark Ritson has pointed out, robust, professional training can help to ensure these worries are unfounded.
Ritson reviews more than 5,000 exit surveys from the marketers who take his Mini MBA in Marketing each year. Impostor syndrome came up frequently. He suggested around 10% of the total sample describe suffering from it and credit training with helping to dispel it — he even went as far as to estimate that 30% to 40% of marketers have struggled with impostor syndrome.
Marketing is a profession where people from many different learning backgrounds can enter, and this can contribute to some feeling that they haven’t cultivated unique marketing skills to help them become ‘qualified’.
In addition, many marketers struggle to justify time away and find the budget to upskill on training days or weeks, exacerbating feelings that they lack professional training and therefore can’t be qualified.
These could be key reasons why the government’s recent approach of funding Skills Bootcamps programmes, to reduce industry and business skills shortages, is having a positive impact on marketers’ confidence, as well as their performance.
Brexit, followed by COVID, and now high inflation has left many businesses, particularly SMEs, with limited training resources and it’s a brave organisation that chooses to invest precious funds and employee resources in such times. That’s why it is so important to offer government-funded training to all organisation types, over an extended period using smaller training instalments.
Over the past year, the Data & Marketing Association (DMA UK) has hosted dozens of 12-/ 14-week Digital Marketing Skills Bootcamps upskilling hundreds of marketers across the UK.
Tim Hamill, lead tutor for the DMA’s Digital Marketing Skills Bootcamps, highlighted some of the benefits previous students recently reported to him in follow-up conversations — mentioning that Skills Bootcamps are ‘empowering marketers’ to go back to the office with new knowledge to do things differently, enabling them to ‘challenge and improve current practices rather than continuing’ exhausted, previous approaches.
Tim cited an example of someone who had been out of the industry for 10 years after maternity leave but had recently rejoined and wanted to modernise her skillset. The confidence and skills gained from attending were two-fold benefits in that they reaffirmed that the basics of marketing are still valid and her long-standing knowledge was correct, as well as offering new digital skills to boost and supplement previous job experience.
Beverly Barker, another key tutor for the DMA’s Skills Bootcamps, believes that they are helping people to become ‘T-shaped marketers’, where individuals with more ‘narrow channel roles are extending their skills’ to different channels and tools.
The DMA’s tutors have all witnessed numerous students overcome their perceived imposter syndrome by investing their time in industry-accredited self-development, which led to the majority gaining greater autonomy and strategic oversight on projects, and some others even gaining a promotion — with improved marketing performance experienced by all through expanded and modernised digital skillsets.
BUILDING DIGITAL SKILLSETS
In an age where technology and businesses’ digital requirements are rapidly evolving, the future success of businesses will not just be dependent on investing in the latest technological advancements. It will require skilled personnel to interpret customer data, analyse trends and insights, enhance AI algorithms, and integrate the latest software into operations.
The government has recognised rising demand for digitally enhanced marketers thanks to industry bodies, like the DMA, ongoing lobbying and expanding the skills portfolio of Skills Bootcamps accordingly.
There is a government-funded training programme launching in London and online in November 2023 – the new Data Strategy, Analytics and Measurement Skills Bootcamps, funded by the Department for Education (DfE) through its Skills for Life Programme.
Data-driven marketing insights are essential for developing more meaningful relationships with customers, which leads to sustainable business growth. This is a great opportunity for the community, as this type of government-funded training will help marketers to better understand, acquire and analyse their customers’ data insights, which is vital for enhanced customer engagement and retention.
INVESTING IN YOUR PERFORMANCE
Imposter syndrome is often an unnecessary byproduct of marketing’s relentless, deadline-driven culture where upskilling often falls by the wayside.
However, this is counter-intuitive for both marketers and their respective organisations, as they aren’t developing the confidence and enhanced skillsets to thrive in the digital era — getting left behind is a very real prospect.
There is a vast amount of talent out there within organisations ready to advance their data-driven marketing and digital skillsets – but businesses and charities must act now to take advantage of government investment while it is available – hundreds have already signed up for programmes which are making them more productive, confident, and effective.
A short-term investment of marketers’ precious time will lead to long-term results for the business. Further information about Skills Bootcamps can be found here.