Industry spotlight on marketing and communications
As trends in media consumption continue to evolve, the marketing and communications industry must keep one step ahead of the game. Even the traditional advertising agency model has been forced to adapt to the fast-changing digital landscape.

When consumer attention first turned to digital devices, content became a focal point for the modern marketer. A study from global media research company PQ Media shows content marketing is on track to become a US$313 billion industry by 2019.

A changing landscape

The marketing and communications industry has experienced strong levels of advertising on SEEK relative to the past five years. This trend has been easing over the past four months and January saw a 1% year-on-year slip for the sector and the average advertised salary was $79,538. Despite this small decline, experts say talent is still in hot demand, especially in areas such as content marketing.

Meanwhile, job ads in the advertising, arts and media industry grew by 7% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $70,154. Louise Lawton, Creative Consultant at specialist recruitment agency The Creative Store, says digital communications is having a significant impact on the industry. “Traditional agency roles used to include account executives, account managers and account directors but now that’s starting to change,” she explains. “Traditional job titles are starting to drop off and we’re seeing growth in titles such digital campaign managers and social media managers. It shows how much things are moving.”

Digital content and the modern marketer

SEEK job ads for roles such as brand management saw an increase of 40% in January compared to the same time last year and event management was up by 81%. Digital and search marketing job ads increased by 10% year-on-year, however Lawton says digital is a key component of any modern marketing role. “We’re not just seeing growth in digital roles for marketing agencies but we’re seeing growth on the client side as well. A lot of companies are taking digital content marketing inhouse and relying less on agencies. It’s a growing area for most businesses.”

Lisa East, Director of content marketing company The Content Agency, agrees that the consumption of digital media has transformed both the marketing and advertising industries. “We’ve been able to show clients that by having regular content marketing, good blogs and a strong social media presence that all drive more traffic to their website, they can educate people about their brand in ways that a 15 or 30 second TV ad can’t achieve,” she says.

The Content Agency was formed in 2011 and employs a mix of full-time and contract workers, which East says allows for flexible growth. “Content marketing is an ever-changing industry and the only way any agency will survive is by being fluid and responsive and able to change quite quickly,” she explains.

Adapting to change

Traditional advertising agencies have also adjusted their model to the changing media landscape. “A lot of agencies have adapted well,” says Lawton. “Four or five years ago, many had digital development teams and now they have social content teams as well.”

One agency to have successfully moved with the times is Clemenger Group. It began in 1946 as a traditional advertising agency and now consists of more than 20 award-winning advertising and marketing communications agencies throughout Australia and New Zealand with a total of 1700 employees.

Kim Boehm, Clemenger Group Director of Talent Management and Marketing, links its success with a strong understanding of consumer behaviour. “A lot of companies jumped into digital during the era and got a false start,” he says. “There’s a maze of different kinds of media opportunities but you’ve just got to look at where consumers are getting their information and entertainment. Watch them, study them and then make sure you’re able to provide the materials that populate those spaces.”

Attracting talent to a leading agency like Clemenger rarely presents an issue, however Boehm says employee turnover is higher than they would like. “Around 30% of our workforce is made up of Millennials,” he explains. “To a large extent, our issues are characteristic of any company with a high number of Millennials because they are thinking about leaving before they even start.”

Boehm says the business is working hard on retention strategies, including mentoring programs, training and development and regular performance feedback. It is also focusing on increasing diversity across its workforce, with a particular focus on gender.

“We’re working on how we can provide a better environment to encourage women who become mothers to come back and work with us,” says Boehm. “We’ve doubled the number of weeks that we pay maternity leave and we are trying to become more gender balanced.”

East adds that a flexible approach also helps attract the best talent to The Content Agency. “All companies use digital technology, so that means people can work from anywhere and still have strong relationships with clients,” she says. “We have one person working with us who is based in the other side of the country. You can’t be bound by geography.”