Marketing in 2019: What's in store?


Marketing in 2019: What's in store?

Karen Lloyd employer, candidate, job search...

Each December for the last four years, I’ve been looking forward to the coming year and giving you my expectations for what it will bring for marketing recruitment.  This year might just be the most difficult yet; it really does feel like I need a crystal ball!   With unprecedented events coming thanks to the “B” word in March, there is so much uncertainty as to where we are going to be in three, six, nine months’ time it’s a real challenge.  However, we are not to be put off!

With the arrival of spring 2019, we expect a period of quiet in the marketing recruitment market as businesses hold their breath for a few months and gauge what will happen after 29th March.   This isn’t unusual, we often find that the spring brings a quiet period as many financial years come to an end and budgets are renegotiated.   

On the premise that we go into Brexit with an agreed deal, we expect that the “exhale” will come in the summer and the marketing recruitment market will pick back up and companies will start to implement their growth and expansion plans, even if this is on a cautious footing.   In fact, a recent poll showed that 63% of CMO’s did expect to have their marketing budgets increased in 2019, which is a positive indication that the market will remain relatively buoyant.

Trends for 2019

We anticipate a continuation of businesses moving agency related marketing activities in-house, particularly with specialist teams that sit in the office but are employed through the agency – primarily in the PR and Communications space.

The other skill sets we see coming in-house are the specialist digital marketing areas such as paid search / SEO / paid social media etc.

There are some creative teams coming in-house – especially when linked to an in-house digital marketing transformation project.  Those businesses who have been much slower in adopting digital are starting to implement transformation, particularly areas of financial services such as insurance and pensions, as well as independent travel.  The perception that target audiences can not be reached through online channels is at long last dead in the water.

We anticipate a change in culture towards more accountability and responsibility thanks to the digital focus and the data that comes with it.

For those businesses bringing agency skills in-house, the demand is for candidates from agency backgrounds, specifically PPC and paid media skill sets; those driven by numbers.  For businesses situated on the outskirts of London it can be difficult to attract agency staff in terms of salary and the desire for the perception of cutting-edge London marketing agencies with the big-name clients.

However, businesses based further from London find it easier to attract agency in-house for a shorter commute and a better life work balance.  This trend is even moving towards SME’s where a marketing team of 2 or 3 might now include a paid search specialist.  

Skill sets

Those with specialist skills do need to be 360° in their area.  Marketing email specialists for example need to be able to cover segmentation and data analysis.  Employees who don’t have the full range of skills need to get exposure to those areas that they don’t currently cover to make themselves as rounded as possible to open opportunities.

A focus on specialist skills does tend to result in silo roles.  This approach undoubtably brings benefits,  but it does increase risk in terms of retention, with staff getting bored.  It’s good to be part of a wider team and when employees get an opportunity to be exposed to and included in the wider strategy. 

Those skills we see in high demand for 2019 are those with a data focus, so the demand for Analysts will not be going anywhere.  This is partly thanks to the impacts of GDPR as companies become that much more data conscious and are looking for innovative but above all compliant strategies to maximise the returns out of the data they do hold.

More traditional marketing skills aren’t dead either and we expect to see a need for those candidates with direct marketing experience required this year for those industries that have maintained an offline as well as online marketing strategy.  

Marketers who can also connect with their audiences through really strong content and strategic use of channels will ever be in demand as many businesses seek to become more customer focused and remove barriers throughout the customer journey.


2019 is set to be an exciting year, one way or another.  Ultimately all we can do at the moment is wait and see what happens, crossing our fingers as we do!