How Are Priorities for Ecommerce Talent Changing in 2021: Sidecar Survey Reveals


New skills marketers want to acquire may indicate a gap in the expertise of ecommerce marketing roles.

A new report from Sidecar revealed that only 38% of ecommerce marketers make data-driven decisions. While 86% of marketers said they believe they had adequate training and skills, nearly all marketers surveyed said that they wished to obtain new skills to advance their careers. The most frequently reported skills were data analytics, performance marketing, social media, and SEO.

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Many capabilities and skills that marketers are prioritizing point to a changing industry that is increasingly online and data-driven. The fact that so many marketers, regardless of role or company size, identified skills to develop may also indicate a gap in expertise that can be filled by talent acquisition or vendor partnerships.

When speaking about the top priorities for their roles, “brand building” and “data analysis” were tied for the first position. The top two responses, in particular, align with the skills marketers have prioritized earlier. Many retailers who want to learn more about data analytics also want to spend more time with their data. Similarly, brand building may relate to respondents’ emphasis on learning SEO and social media marketing.

How Are Marketing Roles Changing?

Analysis by company size revealed that marketers are largely aligned on the types of tasks they wish they had more time for, regardless of the size of the retail business. That said, a standout finding is that 47% of marketers for small retail companies want more time to develop creatives, whereas only 23% of marketers for mid-sized retailers and 26% of enterprise retailers feel this way.

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This may indicate the importance of creatives for small and potentially lesser-known retailers to stand out online and break through to key audiences. Further supporting this idea is that 47% of marketers for small retailers said they want to spend more time on brand building.

How Are Marketing Team Goals Changing?

First, in terms of goals, the survey found that marketing teams’ top two goals are acquiring new customers (38%) and driving profitability (29%). These responses relate to the tasks marketers wished they had more time for, including data analytics, as new customer acquisition and profitability depend on actionable data.

Sidecar also found that the goals of customer acquisition and profitability carry different weight for differently sized retailers. For instance, marketers from enterprise businesses chose profitability slightly less than marketers from smaller companies. This may be due to enterprise retailers’ stronger ability to experiment with budget across more channels, making profitability less of a priority.

Only 6% of marketers reported that growing brand awareness was their top goal. While many marketers recognize the value of brand building, they may be unable to prioritize it as their team’s top goal because it is less measurable than customer acquisition and driving revenue. Marketers may view brand awareness as an initiative to achieve the bottom-line goal of new customer acquisition.

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Ecommerce marketing trends have been well documented – but studies rarely focus on how the marketers in the industry are keeping up with times. This study by Sidecar provides new insights into how skills, teams, and talent in ecommerce marketing have transformed in response to global trends.