For marketing departments to realize their full potential, it’s essential to ensure that you have the right talent in the right roles. A pivotal element in achieving this is having a clear understanding of the skill sets your marketing team possesses, and this can be accomplished through an employee skills inventory. When executed effectively, this invaluable tool can offer profound insights and substantial value to your marketing organization.

Let’s delve into the fundamentals of creating a marketing employee skills inventory and explore other pertinent insights to optimize your team’s performance and capabilities.

What is a Marketing Employee Skills Inventory?

A marketing employee skills inventory is a systematic assessment of the competencies and capabilities of your team members. It provides an organized and structured approach to gathering data that reveals your marketing professionals’ strengths, areas where they might need further development, and areas to focus on when hiring new team members.

A fully compiled marketing skills inventory is typically managed as a digital document, often in the form of a spreadsheet or PDF file and structured by specific skill areas. The organization and format of a marketing skills inventory facilitates a detailed breakdown of skills at a departmental level.

When you gain a deep understanding of the current skill sets within your marketing team and can pinpoint what’s lacking, you can unlock several key advantages.

What Are the Benefits of a Marketing Skills Inventory?

While there are several valuable benefits offered by an employee skills inventory, a few stand out.


1. Identifying Skill Gaps and Resource Allocation


An employee skills inventory helps management identify the existing skills of the marketing team and where there may be gaps. This allows for targeted training and development to improve the department’s overall skill set. With a clear understanding of the team’s skills, resources can be allocated more efficiently. For example, if there’s a shortage of content creators but an abundance of data analysts, you can adjust project assignments accordingly.


2. Succession Planning and Project Team Formation


Knowing the skills and expertise of your marketing team is crucial for succession planning. You can identify potential leaders or individuals who can step into critical roles when needed. When assembling project teams, you can choose members based on their skills and strengths, leading to more effective and efficient collaboration and better solutions.


3. Innovation and Adaptation


Having a highly skilled marketing department can provide a competitive advantage in the marketplace, as you can stay up to date with the latest marketing trends and technologies. A skills inventory can highlight areas where the department may be lacking in certain emerging skills or tools. Hiring for those skills can enable the team to adapt and innovate more effectively.


You need to have succession planning strategies in place in case a key role is vacated unexpectedly. By having your skills inventory up to date, you’ll be able to quickly identify people who can quickly fill gaps within your organization. Sometimes, you may not have the specific skills in your current team needed to backfill the position. In this situation, and as part of your succession plan, you may lean on external resources such as a search firm, to place an interim candidate and find your full-time hire.

What to Assess with an Employee Skills Inventory

A marketing employee skills inventory can encompass a wide spectrum of skill types crucial for driving marketing success. In addition to cataloging these skills, valuable information relevant to the marketing context is often included.


Typically, the marketing skills and information evaluated in an employee skills inventory encompass:


  • Functional skills like demand generation, digital, product marketing, content marketing, and analytics
  • Soft skills like communication, emotional intelligence, and leadership potential
  • Technical skills like writing, graphic design, and capability with specific tools
  • Educational background
  • Work experience
  • Career aspirations and management experience


Depending on your marketing department’s objectives, you may opt to prioritize specific categories that align with your current and future marketing strategies. If your aim is to create a comprehensive skills inventory, it’s advisable to assess all the areas mentioned above.

Focus on identifying and measuring the marketing skills that hold the utmost significance for your organization’s immediate needs and future growth. Pinpoint the skills that will truly make a difference in advancing your marketing efforts.

How to Create a Skills Inventory

Creating an employee skills inventory tailored for your marketing department is a multifaceted process that involves three main steps: identifying skill sets, data collection, and organization/review. There are multiple options for each part of this process, and it’s crucial to choose what aligns best with your marketing organization and your team’s needs.


Identifying Necessary Skill Sets for Present and Future

In the dynamic realm of marketing, success is often closely tied to the abilities and skill sets of your team. When it comes to evaluating your marketing team’s prowess, the initial step is conducting a comprehensive needs assessment. This assessment is where the team leader assumes the role of a strategic navigator, charting a course for both the present and future. The leader should identify the specific skill sets their team currently requires and those that will be essential over the coming 1-2 years.

Once the necessary skills are defined, the next step involves a careful scrutiny of the existing team’s abilities, pinpointing the strengths and identifying any skill gaps that may exist. This diligent analysis serves as the foundation for developing strategies to bridge those gaps, equipping the team to tackle the challenges of an ever-changing marketing landscape with confidence and precision.

Gather Marketing Skills Data Through an Assessment

To begin, you’ll need to collect the information required to construct your marketing skills inventory. This involves utilizing an existing skills assessment tool or creating a custom one from scratch. Fortunately, there are many skills assessment tools available, including some that are free to use!

Marketing skills inventories are typically based on either a test that employees take or a self-assessment. While a self-assessment is a simpler and quicker option, it may yield less reliable data. On the other hand, designing a test may require more time and potentially mean more cost. Another viable approach is having marketing leaders complete assessments for their team members. This can expedite the assessment process and often yield more objective insights than self-assessments.

Organize Marketing Skills Data

Once you’ve gathered the data, the next step is to compile it into a document that is accessible and practical for relevant stakeholders within the marketing department. As mentioned earlier, these documents are often in the form of spreadsheets or PDF files, with the choice of formatting being influenced by personal and organizational preferences.

What’s more critical is the segmentation and usability of the data for decision-makers within the marketing department. The marketing skills data should be categorized into various relevant groups. For instance, you can separate functional, technical and soft skills and sort leadership capabilities alongside career aspirations. Additionally, data should be organized by marketing department divisions, allowing departmental leaders quick access to the information they need.

Conducting an Employee Skills Inventory

When developing an employee skills inventory for your marketing department, it’s essential to maintain transparency with your team regarding your intentions and the purpose of this initiative.

Failure to communicate effectively can lead to your marketing professionals feeling like they’re under scrutiny, possibly causing apprehension and job insecurity. That’s why it’s crucial to provide clear explanations at every step of the process, outlining the ultimate goals of the inventory and how it will directly benefit them through enhanced learning and professional development opportunities.

Additionally, ensure that you involve key stakeholders who are vital to the inventory’s success from the outset. A skills inventory is a valuable tool that, if left unused, can render your efforts ineffective and potentially create a negative perception among your marketing team.

Analyzing the Results

A marketing employee skills inventory equips you with valuable insights into the skill sets of your team. By analyzing the results, you can effectively assess your current marketing capabilities and align them with your company’s future vision to inform hiring decisions and professional development opportunities.

To make the most of this information, it’s crucial to evaluate how well the marketing departments are meeting their objectives. Armed with this data, you can make critical decisions, such as considering role reassignments within the team, identifying the specific training needed for upskilling in marketing competencies, and fine-tuning your recruitment and hiring strategies to bring in talent with the right skills that will complement your existing teams.

Common Challenges

While the advantages of having an employee skills inventory in a marketing department are undeniable, it’s crucial to recognize and address the unique challenges associated with creating and maintaining one. Acknowledging these challenges is essential to ensure that your marketing organization is well-prepared to tackle them effectively.


Specific challenges in establishing and upkeeping a marketing department’s skills inventory include:


  • Allocating the necessary time and budget for a comprehensive skills assessment tailored to the marketing context.
  • Managing potential misperceptions among marketing team members regarding the purpose and value of the inventory.
  • Ensuring the inventory remains up to date as marketing professionals join or leave the company and as they achieve new degrees or certifications.
  • Leveraging the inventory in future decision-making situations within the marketing department.


Addressing the first challenge, securing the required time and budget for the skills assessment will depend on how the company’s leadership perceives the significance of the marketing employee skills inventory. If it’s recognized as a valuable investment, as it should be, sufficient resources will be allocated.


The key to overcoming the remaining challenges lies in a steadfast commitment to and transparent communication about the inventory. When marketing team members and decision-makers within the company are fully aligned in their understanding of the inventory’s purpose, utility, and processes, the likelihood of surmounting these challenges increases significantly.

Missing Key Marketing Leadership Skills in Your Organization? We Can Help!

Having the right marketing skills in place is critical to the overall success of your organization. If you know that your business is missing key marketing skills or you’re unsure what’s missing, we can help.

We are a leading marketing search firm focused on providing marketing professionals to all sizes of organizations. Our team of experienced and dedicated marketing recruiters have a deep background in marketing and can speak the language, to quickly find the right talent. Even if you’re not ready to add a full-time marketing resource, we provide Interim and Fractional Marketing services to fill a gap when full-time hires aren’t possible.

Ready to get help? Contact our team and we’ll find the marketing talent that your organization needs.

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