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The brand function has taken the lead as a marketing team’s most important asset to help grow a business in 2013, according to Michael Page Marketing’s 2013 Salary and Insight Report.

Up 10% on 2012 results, brand takes the top spot from online/website development, which now ranks joint second with CRM (21%). Social media and mobile have both taken a hit, falling 3% on last year’s results.

Paul Sykes, managing director, Michael Page Marketing said the shift could be linked to the cautious and competitive state of the market where brand differentiation is now vital in order to drive market share.

“Growth is on the top of the agenda for nearly six out of ten (57%) companies. However with economic conditions remaining unpredictable marketing teams are still cautious about incremental hiring and therefore must look at their internal resources to justify their ROI,” Mr Sykes said.

“In 2012, we saw many marketing departments heavily focused on building their online and digital capabilities. Yet it seems teams are now feeling more confident about their capabilities in this area, with 7% less reporting they had a shortfall of digital expertise in their marketing department. The emphasis is now on seeing a return from this digital investment, which when successfully utilised will lead to greater digital investment.”

“The focus on brand to deliver growth means companies are evaluating their market position, investing where appropriate but ultimately looking to ensure maximum exposure to and awareness of their brand,” he said.

With growth being voted as the number one priority for 2013, worryingly retaining your best people was not seen as a priority for businesses, ranking as important by only 5% of respondents.

Mr Sykes warned of the serious ramifications of undervaluing the vital component human resource plays in delivering sustainable growth.

“While top talent might only represent 5-10% of an organisation’s workforce, the output of this group of individuals can often be the difference between success and failure or profit or loss,” he said.

“Organisations that pay little attention to retaining top talent may quickly find negativity around their employer brand which becomes very hard to shift. Indeed, word of mouth was the top attraction strategy this year.”

The survey also revealed that 8% fewer employers expect to pay salary increases this year. On top of this, 50% of respondents said they that their company was either not going to pay bonuses, or were still unsure of the likelihood of paying them.

“The good news is, for marketing professionals retention isn’t just about financial rewards. In fact, the majority of this year’s respondents (54%) believe that a positive working environment can be the most effective retention strategy,” Mr Sykes said.

Positive working environments can involve providing staff access to training, developing their skills, and having transparent communications around future progression.


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