I'm often asked whether companies should allocate precious resources toward professional development and training for their marketing teams. My answer is always "Yes, but..."

Although learning always adds value, companies must carry out the proper internal assessments before making any decisions regarding training—to ensure they allocate resources effectively.

But just how can companies do so? What are the steps required to ensure training effectiveness?

I'm going to share a four-step process to align your business objectives with your training objectives—and ensure you maximize training dollars in support of the No. 1 resource your company has to offer: its talent.

CEOs recognize the importance of talent

Talent is repeatedly reported as the top challenge to marketing team success today. PWC puts out an annual CEO survey in which talent and development are often key factors. In recent years, most CEOs have cited talent gaps as major concerns—and, most recently, in 2017, as many as 54% of CEOs said they plan to increase headcount in the next 12 months. That's an astonishing figure when you consider the surge in the incorporation of AI and machine-learning into regular workflows.

In short, talent—getting the right people to achieve your core objectives—remains a key driver for business growth.

Moreover, the Data & Marketing Association (DMA), together with the Interactive Advertising Bureau's Data Center of Excellence, recently published a study of the modern workplace and the shifts we can expect in the modern data-centric organization. The study found that just 5% of organizations are "extremely confident" that their internal teams have the right skills and experience to support their data-driven initiatives.

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image of Jerusha Harvey

Jerusha Harvey is vice-president of education and professional development for the Data & Marketing Association (DMA), where she leads the development of marketing training and certification programs.

LinkedIn: Jerusha Harvey

Twitter: @_JHarvey_