The crux of the IT skills shortage: exploiting the potential of “digital marketing”

The crux of the IT skills shortage: exploiting the potential of “digital marketing”

The crux of the IT skills shortage: exploiting the potential of “digital marketing” 1920 1322 Victoria Christ

The cloud business continues to grow inexorably in Germany. According to forecasts, cloud computing sales will reach 22.5 billion euros in 2020 (Statista, 2018). But what does this mean for small and medium-sized companies in the IT environment? Increasing demand for products and services, opportunities for expansion, development of new market potential and high capacity utilization. A lot seems to be going in the right direction here, and the demand for ‘digitization topics’ is giving it all the necessary tailwind, so all that’s left to do is tighten the right sails, right?

If you take a closer look, it quickly becomes clear that there are currently two fundamental challenges for these companies:

    1. Expanding and consolidating their own marketing (How do I profit from the growing cloud business, despite strong competition?)
    2. Recruiting personnel for the provision of services

In addition to the importance of point 1, this article is primarily about point 2. The shortage of skilled workers is a social issue that is particularly evident in the IT environment, in addition to other industries and sectors, and is particularly visible in the market as demand increases. So what to do to attract new talent to your company, with a very limited staffing market? Topics such as: Employer branding, university marketing, events and comparison platforms such as kununu quickly come up in online research. The demands of young talents revolve around purpose, sustainability, personal development and the general modernity of an employer.

So, how do you turn these different topics, demands, communication channels and opportunities into the right measures for attracting talent?

First, as in new customer acquisition, it must be understood that extensive knowledge of the target audience and market is the foundation for any activities. Conceptual approaches, such as Go-to-Market (With which value proposition do I address the market?) and Buyer Persona (What characterizes my target group, needs, interests, topics, pain points, etc.), can thus be methodically transferred 1:1 to the content and topics of potential applicants.

The next step is ‘Technical Capability’ as a basic requirement for participation in Digital Communication. Online touchpoints, such as career websites, landing pages for applicants, career newsletters, Instagram and Facebook, are here just a few aspects that are necessary to participate in ‘Digital Communication’. Automation in communication, DSGVO compliant, social media marketing and ‘multi-touchpoint management’ combined, are the disciplines that need to be implemented.

The keen observer now notices that talent marketing bears a very strong resemblance to modern marketing approaches from new customer acquisition. 1:1 communication with prospects (talents), mapping of a customer journey (talent journey), pipeline management of leads (applicants), scoring and nurturing of leads (talents) and target group-specific content are just a few examples here.

If we look at the talent journey (customer journey for applicants), talent marketing approaches start before the actual application (see Figure 1). This area of the Talent Journey is thus the ‘stage’ of a company to bring USP’s, values and culture closer to potential applicants and to draw their attention.

In practice, however, these ‘stages’ are rarely designed in an appealing way or are linked to modern forms of marketing. A great potential, which is wasted here. For example, Professor Beck’s study concludes that the best German medium-sized companies do not score better than satisfactory in the school grading system with regard to talent marketing.

Medium-sized companies need to come out of hiding. Many medium-sized companies can score excellent points with their culture and values. However, potential employees can only recognize this if they are communicated authentically and professionally via the right channels.

Professor Beck from Koblenz University


Companies should take advantage of the current momentum created by projects in the area of digitalization of marketing and sales and use the infrastructures and concepts that exist in some cases to build up talent marketing. Alignment between marketing and HR should be specifically addressed here in order to exploit synergies for talent marketing.