The pace of digital is only getting faster, and a cohesive branded digital strategy needs to be backed by the right mix of talent. At the Digiday Brand Summit in Key Biscayne, we asked some brand execs about their biggest frustrations with talent in digital marketing and media. For a lot of them, it came down to finding adaptable, curious people who are good with data:

Kim Gnatt, global group director, digital marketing, The Coca-Cola Company
You can have a great digital marketer that understands how to leverage Snapchat and how to write Facebook posts, but until that person can actually deliver against business objectives, we typically fall down. Finding that hybrid person who knows enough technically, has an analytical mind but can then deliver it against business — that’s probably the No. 1 challenge we have.

Stephanie Miller, senior manager, global social media, GoPro
With the evolution of social and digital, it’s becoming more and more challenging to find that perfect sweet spot of someone who lives and breathes data, and geeks out over numbers and analytics, but also has street cred and can keep a finger on the pulse of new channels. I think for us at GoPro, the challenge has been to find someone who can somehow straddle both worlds.

Wade Allen, vp, digital innovation, Chili’s
It’s one thing to have data, but if you’re not mining it and using it, it’s useless. All the tactical things we’ve put in place — like guest-facing tablets, a new mobile app and Wi-Fi in the restaurants — that’s required us to have data scientists in-house. How do we mine the data? How do you write sql code or new technologies to extract the data? How do you put it in a format that’s consumable and then how do you deploy it back to the executives so that they understand what’s going on?

Eric Blackwood, director of marketing, Dr Pepper Snapple Group
Finding the right people for the changing environment is our biggest challenge. We’re hunting for the perfect combination of the data nerd and someone who can take that information, synthesize and present it like a marketer. It’s a balance between the left brain and the right brain. We hire a lot of MBAs into our brand teams and a lot of media people into our media and content teams, but we’re still struggling with bringing in people who understand and can work with data.

Ivonne Kinser, head of digital strategy, Avocados from Mexico
TV and radio has been the same for 50 years, but digital changes every morning. All the formal education and training aside, you have to be someone that is very curious, that loves to be constantly updated. That’s not something that can be taught, that hunger for learning is essential to have for anyone looking to succeed in digital.

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