An NTUC LearningHub survey has revealed digital upskilling as a top priority for employers in Singapore, with digital marketing being a top skill, as digital transformation becomes imperative amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many businesses in Singapore have seen their businesses fall by over 50% during the coronavirus outbreak. To remain viable and resilient, organisations have been forced to accelerate or adopt digital transformation plans.
“Many employers are readier than before to embrace digital solutions that previously seemed daunting, and I foresee digitalisation becoming a core strategy for businesses,” said Mr. Kwek Kok Kwong, NTUC LearningHub’s CEO.
NTUC LearningHub’s Employer Skills Survey found that 58% of Singapore employers are upskilling their workforce in technology-related skills, with digital marketing rated the top skill by 44% of employers across all industries, and 59% in the Trade and Connectivity industry.
Why is digital marketing so important?
There is no question, the world is rapidly going digital. The risk of being left behind and unheard is increasing if you fail to digitally transform.
Physical stores are putting up their shutters and entering the virtual space, consumers are turning to online shopping and a business’ ability to stand out amongst the increasingly saturated digital landscape will be its greatest competitive advantage
“To mitigate the loss of face-to-face selling, digital marketing becomes an imperative to reach out to a huge marketplace of prospects who are now online,” said Anthony Chew, the Director of ICT Product Division at NTUC LearningHub.
Having a website that provides customers with information is no longer sufficient. Businesses today are launching new websites, creating social media campaigns and improving their search engine optimisation (SEO) to be the first to appear on customers’ screens.
The power of digital marketing gives you the ability to understand your audience and see measurable results on a micro level.
“From whether an individual opened an email and read it, or responded to a call to action, digital marketing allows businesses to hyper-personalise campaigns on an individual level,” added Mr. Chew.
Digital marketing is expected to become a long-term marketing contingency plan to tide over the pandemic by reaching customers and generating revenue.
Mr. Chew said: “Digital marketing is not as simple as it seems. Many businesses are taking their operations online for the first time, but the majority are inexperienced with the complexities of virtual promotion and selling.”
Digital marketing encompasses a myriad of services ranging from SEO, pay-per-click advertising, email marketing, social media marketing, and more. These strategies have existed long before COVID-19, but it was a competency that many businesses deemed as optional rather than essential.
“Many businesses had a misconception that digital marketing campaigns are only adopted by big corporations with extensive marketing budget to spare,” added Mr. Chew.
Now, in the COVID-19 era, businesses have been exposed to the long-standing issues that existed, with customers being far more digitally connected and increasingly making most of their purchasing decisions online before ever speaking to a salesperson.
“This forced businesses, even small-medium enterprises, who abide by traditional marketing to rethink their strategy,” said Mr. Chew.
What about other top skills?
Complementary skills of digital marketing were also rated highly by Singapore employers, including data analysis (40%), cybersecurity (25%), data protection (22%) and artificial intelligence (20%) as top skills for their workforce.
These skills were considered essential to create a long-term holistic business model built for scalability and sustainability.
“The ability to use data analysis for decision-making and the customisation clients’ needs will be a game-changer,” said Mr Kwong.
In Singapore, the Covid-19 downtime was an optimal period for employees to upskill, supported by numerous funding schemes.
Many businesses in Singapore were encouraged to enrol their employees into e-commerce and digital marketing courses offered by Continuing Education and Training Centres.