Agency staff perform much better than in-house counterparts across a complete spectrum of digital marketing competencies, according to a new report released this week by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).
CIM asked 9,000 people in the marketing profession to answer a series of questions centred on a dozen “core” topics, before grading the participants for each of them.
Around 500 staff from 56 agencies based in the UK also took part in the study, and the results showed that agencies offer a considerably better skill set.
Agency employees scored a higher percentage in all 12 measures, and the skills gaps between them and their in-house peers were noticeable across the board.
Email marketing and online advertising saw the biggest differences between the two camps, but agencies also performed better in crucial practices such as content marketing and social media.
The study noted that the marketing industry had seen rapid changes since the last benchmarking test, when scores were higher across the majority of competencies.
These changes and the complex nature of digital marketing highlight the need for experts at agencies who are more capable of managing core processes.
While there had been a slight shift to in-housing following the pandemic, Goldman Sachs said in June that outsourcing to agencies will take the lead again as companies aim to drive return on investment.
“The agency sector is taking seriously its role in providing counsel and consultation to organisations and brands, proving that it is keeping pace with technology and can deliver marketing advantage,” CIM director of marketing Gemma Butler said in a statement.
Butler noted that “continually upskilling” is now required to keep up with new marketing tech and trends, and that companies should use the report as a catalyst for identifying and addressing key skills gaps within teams before it is too late.