Tomorrow People

Help Birmingham Close the Creative Skills Gap Before It’s Too Late

Blog post   •   Aug 14, 2012 10:51 BST

Your city needs you: five skills Birmingham creatives lack

Birmingham’s businesses and the people who work in them are in danger of falling behind their counterparts in London and Manchester by not keeping up with changes in digital marketing. But it’s fine if you can’t be bothered to make the effort to keep up with the rest of the country’s creatives.

I mean why should you care that a recent survey showed that 26% of local businesses are suffering a creative skills gap? When there are no more good jobs on offer in our fair city you can just uproot and move to Manchester or London, where they did care so their creative sectors continued to thrive. But you won’t have the skills they’re looking for, remember.

I know we’ve all felt the effects of the recession, and almost half of you won’t have had any digital marketing training at all in the last year, but an investment now means you won’t have to drag your cat, a mountain of boxes and all your things half way across the country next year.


So if you’d rather not move town, these are the five key areas where Birmingham is lagging behind and needs digital marketing training:

1. Inbound marketing – stop pushing messages out to people who might or might not be interested in them. Pull in the people who are actively seeking your services instead. Many businesses across the city are still using tired old push tactics like telemarketing. Whatever you sell, marketers need to up their pulling power. 

2. Social media – the marketing tool of the moment; yet less than half of businesses know what to do with their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to get them generating leads that go somewhere. Have you got them just because you think you ought to but they’re not joined up, there’s no strategy guiding their use and occasionally you send lonely little updates out into the big wide world where they disappear into the distance? Not tracking the impact of social media interactions is one of the biggest areas where UK businesses are currently falling down.

3. SEO – everyone talks about how important it is and there are plenty of so-called experts out there that will come along and stuff some keywords into your carefully drafted web content. But doing it properly, so that the key words are a natural fit, is a craft that not many in Birmingham have mastered.

4. Content marketing – many businesses think a website is a static brochure that’s just there to tell the story of what they do and who they are. Pages are created and then they just sit there. Boring. Would you want to keep going back to a site where nothing happens? Of course you wouldn’t. Getting a site that pulls in customers is all about the content – it needs to engage them, solve their problems, make them laugh (or cry depending on what you sell) and it needs to keep changing.

5. Demand and competitor research – I sell it so people must want it and I do it this way so this is the right way, it doesn’t matter how my competitors do it. Wrong on so many levels. This key element of business is normally the last one that people address when it should be a guide to all that you do.

To explore the unique Zoober digital marketing training approach to these subjects, please download our eGuide: 'Inbound Marketing for Beginners'.

Guest Post:  Sookie Shuen is the community manager at Tomorrow People, a leading UK inbound marketing consultancy, who provides free advice and updates through a five step inbound marketing methodology. You can read more of Sookie's content on inbound marketing by subscribing to the Zoober Inbound Marketing blog. You can also find her on Google+ and Twitter.