Finding Tomorrow's Marketing Stars: 6 Questions With DMEF President Terri L. Bartlett
The U.S. education system has never been known for being ahead of the curve, and many marketers experience that first hand when they try to find new marketing grads with the skills they need in the new marketing world. How deep and well-stocked is the pool of young marketing talent today? Where should you be looking if you want to find the next Brian Cowart, David Norton or Pegg Nadler? We asked Terri L. Bartlett, president of the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation (DMEF), what marketers can expect from today's younger marketers, and how DMEF is trying to improve your chances of finding the skills your company needs.
Target Marketing: What is the state of marketing education? Is marketing getting a "fair" number of college majors compared to other professions?
Terri L. Bartlett: Marketing has entered a new era of one-to-one social communication that transcends the boundaries of not only media and channel, but also time and space. However, this specific shift is not sufficiently addressed in marketing education at the college and university levels. What we are seeing at the college level is a shifting model combining pedagogical teaching (theory delivered through textbooks) with supplementary training and initiatives (i.e., case studies, marketing challenges, etc.).
Given the shifting nature of marketing today, we're looking beyond marketing curricula to identify individuals with skills critical for the business challenges of today and tomorrow. For instance, students majoring in sociology, economics, English, communications and psychology develop unique skill sets in critical thinking, analytics and writing—all fundamental traits for careers in direct and interactive marketing.
TM: How does the available marketing talent pool measure up to today's marketing requirements? Are there areas in which the young talent pool is lacking?
TB: The fact is, in spite of high unemployment, marketing positions go unfilled due to the lack of qualified talent. A recent IBM study reported that the explosion of data, social platforms, channel and device choices, and shifting demographics are all contributing to the talent shortage experienced today and projected into the future unless major actions are taken now.