Three skills to fight for in the evolving tech talent war
A view from Phuong Nguyen

Three skills to fight for in the evolving tech talent war

The marketing industry has undergone some major changes since I started more than a decade ago, says Phuong Nguyen, director of eBay Advertising UK.

In 2004, not only was programmatic virtually unheard of – we were still three years away from the first iPhone.

We need to continue to ensure we not only attract the best talent, but the right talent...

Fast forward ten years and not only has the technology around us evolved, but consumer behaviour has also changed significantly.

This means that as an industry, we’ve also had to evolve. Advertising has moved beyond broad-brush campaigns. Sites such as eBay allow brands to target consumers with highly tailored campaigns based on observed, rather than inferred behaviour, reducing wastage and improving ROI.

But in order to capitalise on the insights available, it’s critical that our business model keeps pace. The skills we will need tomorrow will be very different from those needed today.

Numeracy

The skills that will be valued in the future will be built even more around analytics that enable brands to better understand how consumer behaviour is changing resulting in more tailored and relevant campaigns. This 'holy grail' - the progression to a 'one-to-few' if not 'one-to-one' engagement reduces wastage by allowing brands to target based on their observed not inferred behaviour.

That’s why, when we’re looking for new talent to join the eBay team, we often look to maths graduates or city professionals - those with a strong analytical background who are experienced in interpreting data. In fact, four of our team have a financial services background and their ability to analyse data has been instrumental in driving the growth of the programmatic platform

Creativity

But, analytical thinking alone won’t create stand out campaigns. Our industry was - and will continue to be - defined by creativity and innovation.

That said, creating a stand out creative campaign won’t achieve a brand's objectives either if it doesn't reflect, reach or engage the right audience at the right time.  Achieving this means marrying art with science.  Delivering campaigns to the right audience at the right time when audiences are in the right mindset and then measuring and learning from the outcome.

Diversity

Key to the strength of the eBay advertising team is this range and diversity of skills. Having colleagues from a mixture of backgrounds, for example publishing, marketing, and financial services is imperative to understanding the customer and engaging different audiences successfully.

With the added dimension of new platforms such as programmatic only recently emerging as a strategic tool, there can sometimes be an absence of a proven track record amongst professionals. And as programmatic continues to evolve and grow, dynamic talent that can adapt to the ever-changing environment are high in demand but low in supply. This is why recruitment often takes longer than we'd like. We are in effect hiring pioneers who are shaping the future of the industry not veterans who have been there and bought the T-shirt.

So as an industry, we need to continue to ensure we not only attract the best talent, but the right talent for today and tomorrow. Only that way, will advertising retain its position as an innovative and dynamic sector.

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