Welcome to Content Pulse, my occasional roundup of news on the digital and content landscape for marketing professionals. In this edition . . . .

It’s pretty clear that the available talent in digital marketing isn’t keeping up with the demand. The tech is changing faster than its user base. Brands want and need high-level marketing expertise, greater confidence in ROI and quick implementation of martech, but the talent can’t keep pace with the potential that businesses want to take advantage of. For example, look at the growing number of proficiencies listed in  job ads according to the Moz report noted below.

Think of it as the digital marketing skills gap.

Marketing Technology

Clear vision of 2020? — Deloitte has a fascinating new report on trends in CPG marketing. Some of the highlights from Consumer Product Trends, Navigating 2020:

  • Despite the overall economic recovery, there will be little recovery for some core consumer segments.
  • The path to purchase is being digitized.
  • Tastes are being fragmented.
  • Health, wellness and responsibility will be a “new basis for brand loyalty.”

Regarding marketing in particular, the report argues that “traditional marketing and channel economies of scale dissipate, with many more paths to the consumer and many more convenient options for consumers to make initial and recurring purchases.”

In this unpredictable and uncharted territory, Deloitte recommends leveraging efficiencies with digital tools to avoid being caught off guard.

More mobile browsing than mobile buying — Mobile spending exploded at the end of last year, according to Andrew Lipsman of the research firm comScore, Inc.

While mobile had hovered at 11% of ecommerce for several quarters it rose quickly to 13% in Q4 ‘14 and to 15% in Q1 ‘15.

Mobile shopping, meanwhile, in terms of time spent, has surpassed desktop by far, 59% to 41%. In other words, mobile time on site is growing a lot faster than actual sales. Apparently, many mobile shoppers are just testing or bookmarking their finds for later, since spending by desktop users held at 85%.

A peek into the how Google handles domain names — Google put out a decree last month about how it will handle top level domains (.com, .eu, etc.) as new TLDs become available (such as .guru, .BRAND and .how.)

Even though a keyword in the URL may have seemed to work in the past, Google insists that “keywords in a TLD do not give any advantage or disadvantage in search” and that the algorithm will treat new TLDs the same as all others.

So, this might be a good time to grab a domain name for branding purposes, and if you’re hoping to rank for a regional area, you can try finding an available ccTLD which Google still uses for geotargeting in its ranking algorithm.

Content

Branded content means big bucks — Content production is still steadily growing, with digital-only content rising nearly 28% last year according to a survey from PQ Media. Marketers are retargeting their valuable content at the younger generation’s influencers with branded videos, apps, games and more.

The digital marketing skills gap — Though less than a quarter of marketing budgets are spent on content marketing according to a survey from Contently last year, job listings in the field have grown by about 350% since 2011. Moz and content marketing agency Fractl partnered on an in-depth scan of the marketing employment landscape and found that:

  • employment for marketing managers will grow by 13% between 2012 and 2022.
  • a skills gap in the “technical, creative, and business proficiencies needed to succeed in digital marketing.” 64% of recruiters report a shortage of candidates for available roles.
  • a 168% increase in the number of profiles on LinkedIn listing “content marketing” since 2013. SEO has more volume but less growth.
  • a large number of proficiencies required in many emerging job roles. For example, digital marketing manager job ads commonly ask for expertise in SMM, SEO, PPC, Google Analytics, content marketing and digital marketing.

Some ROI numbers? — Kelsey Libert, the same author of that Fractl report, has an interesting comparison in HBR of the ROI in native advertising versus content marketing. (That’s assuming you can realistically try both. Native advertising has much higher up-front costs, so only big brands can compete there for now, whereas there isn’t a minimum threshold to get started with content marketing.)

She is admittedly self interested, but Libert makes a persuasive case that her sample of comparable campaigns show that content marketing got 18,000 shares across 146k publications and native advertising got 12,500 shares from 1 publication.

Branding

It’s a two-way street — Brand engagement is the primary focus of most content marketing projects, but many brand professionals don’t have confidence their efforts are getting results, according to new research by Pulsepoint and Digiday.

Superficial shifts in the digital transformation? — My favorite “long read” recently is actually an interactive report from Accenture on its survey of global CMOs. The site page lets you re-slice the data by region, industry, CMO demographics, etc.

One point that caught my eye is that, though all the CMOs surveyed are using digital more and find that it’s getting easier to benefit from digital, only 1 in 5 CMOs believe their company will be known as a digital business in five years.

That’s missing the potential of digital marketing, imo. Digital becomes a source of innovation and more than just a channel when it gets baked into the product and into the business model.

John Hampson contributed research and writing to this article.