New research published by the training body Target Internet, in association with the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), reveals that the core digital skills marketers rely on have improved, with marketers in the financial services showing up to 13% improvement in disciplines compared to 2021.

2023 has been a year filled with unprecedented challenges affecting every industry, including financial services, with inflation and the cost of living crisis remaining a prominent concern. Businesses across the sector have come to recognise the pivotal role of marketing in communicating reassurance and building trusting relationships with customers and clients.

This year’s report analyses data from more than 10,000 marketing professionals, gathered between 2018 to 2023 and highlights key short and medium-term trends, opportunities and challenges across the marketing sector.

Although the financial services industry has historically shown the way in numerous marketing disciplines, it is positive to see sustained growth across most areas. Notable statistics include a 13% increase in SEO skills and a 11% rise in Online Advertising skills compared to 2021 figures. 

As with many industries, there is a tendency for marketers to be over confident in their skills, most notably in Usability which achieved a confidence score of 45% and an actual skill level of 31% as well as Content Marketing which achieved scores of 49% and 23% respectively. This needs to be tempered with skills gap analysis and appropriate upskilling if organisations want to stand out from the competition.

The report discusses how businesses in the financial services sector can improve their reach and engagement with their customer base by successfully utilising digital platforms and strategies. With many marketers being forced to adjust to a variety of emerging technologies including generative AI, Google Analytics 4, Web3, an ever growing martech stack and an increasing number of social media platforms – it comes as little surprise that the range of skills expected from marketing professionals in the financial services industry continues to expand.

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Commenting on this, Deutsche Bank CIM financial services chair, Jacob Howard, said: “Financial services has made improvements in all disciplines compared to the previous year, with SEO and Online Advertising both seeing double digit growth. As long as financial services marketers continue to make progress, the sector is on an upward digital trajectory.” 

The industry anticipates further macroeconomic disruptions over the next 12 months. Therefore, marketers’ adaptability and responsiveness to industry changes will become increasingly more vital. A commitment to continuous learning in relation to digital skills will equip marketers with the ability to address challenges and build stronger connections with customers, as well as enhance their career development.

Summarising the results of the benchmarking study, Target Internet CEO, Daniel Rowles, said: “This year’s benchmark outcomes underscore significant opportunities as well as notable risks for businesses of all kinds. Companies and individuals that adopt a culture of continuous professional development have a genuine chance to distinguish themselves, especially as technology continues to develop at pace. Moreover, it emphasises that reducing investments in training proves to be an ineffective strategy for increasing productivity and driving growth.”