If we don't take the time to teach someone the skills they need, how can we expect them to succeed?
Our recent study, Programmatic Futures: Where Culture Meets Code, found that 35 per cent of people in the industry felt the skills-gap caused by programmatic is the biggest barrier to progress. We've come a long way since the Mad Men era of the sixties, with much of our business and creativity driven by technology and data.
At AOL we pride ourselves on equipping our staff with the knowledge and skills to carry out their roles effectively and to be able to adapt to an ever-evolving marketplace. With programmatic entering the next chapter and requiring new sets of skills, this is more important than ever.
Programmatic can be at times complex and daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Human understanding of programmatic is essential for its growth and development.
And as an industry we need to take responsibility to invest more in helping consultants diversify their skill set. That doesn't mean everyone needs to learn code or be a specialist but they do need to have the knowledge about the programmatic process and be able to pass it on.
Here at AOL, we're creating pods with trained generalists, who will be supported by a programmatic specialist, a multi-screen specialist and a content specialist. We feel that this "power of four" makes us uniquely placed to develop people's expertise and embrace the next steps in the advertising revolution.
Advertisers are increasingly looking to media owners to keep up with progressive technology and develop the best high-touch brand solutions. This isn't a time for us to rest on our laurels. Our industry is defined by rapid change, and it's a no-brainer that we must upskill our employees now to keep up with advertiser demands.
Upskilling of the industry is in full swing but collectively we must commit to and invest in training, on both the buy and sell side. As a leading media technology company, our teams operate in a fast moving and innovative environment and new products land at an incredible rate.
Dedication to training and development is a clear priority for us, and our international training budget has grown by 156 per cent year on year, with between 60 and 70 per cent of the budget now spent on training our sales teams to ensure they are fully equipped to sell across all our ad solutions.
Alongside sales, product and editorial training, we are also investing in career development, coaching and management development programmes.
But just as employers need to be willing to put their time and budgets into training, employees also need to be inquisitive and willing to test, learn and innovate. Our aforementioned study showed that 44 per cent of respondents felt experimenting in this way was vital to programmatic success.
As an industry, we must support our people with the right development opportunities backed with the right training. But this is about more than just skillsets. In order to attract and retain the best talent, we need to create a growth-mindset culture where individuals and teams can flourish.
Happy and fulfilled staff, who are confident in their roles, are key to the success of our industry.