Digital Design Skills Remain in High Demand For Big Brands, Latest Report Shows

3 minutes to read by Peter Sayburn

Major brands are still increasingly on the lookout for independent talent and agencies with UX/UI design skills, a new report has revealed.

Our Marketers Most Wanted report monitors the actual briefs posted by chief marketing officers (CMOs) and brand owners on the platform.

Agency Skills that Marketers Most Want

13% of briefs submitted to the StudioSpace marketplace this month were looking for assistance with UX/UI-related projects, such as app and website design.

As per the 2023 Lookback and 2024 Predictions report (also by StudioSpace), demand in this area is expected to continue later into this year.

“We have seen that brands are looking to external talent to bring fresh perspective and bolster internal capability in this area,” affirmed CEO Pete Sayburn.

“This type of skill has topped our report for a number of months now, and usually always features in our top three. Outsourcing this talent is popular in terms of budget allocation because brands often find that they need specific skills for the job, and are looking for new ideas and methods.”

The actual number of briefs looking for UX/UI design skills has remained relatively similar over recent months, but as a proportion of our total it has dropped since our last report. This is because there have been a growing number of overall projects and an increase in spread across different capabilities.

Indeed, three of this month’s most briefed skills accounted for 12.2% each of the total figure: Social and Content, Software Development, and Creative and Production.

Social and Content has remained a popular briefing category since mid-2023, and looks to continue its streak in this position. “Brands are looking to continue expanding their social presence with new channels and specific campaigns to boost awareness and consideration,” added Sayburn.

Also interesting to note in this month’s figures is the huge jump from Software Development, which currently rests in tied second place. Towards the end of 2023 this skill-set was 8th-most in demand: new projects on the platform include early stage discovery for future customer experiences as well as ongoing support for digital programmes and smaller website fixes.

Brands are definitely looking to create a seamless omnichannel experience for their customers, where they can access branded content across a variety of platforms and devices to the same end.

Another big move up the leaderboard this month has been from SEO and PPC-related briefs, which represented 11.3% of total briefs. “Clients are particularly looking for external experts to optimise their websites and content for effective SEO,” notes Sayburn.

“SEO can be extremely difficult to grapple with, and definitely isn’t an overnight process. It makes sense that brands are looking to recruit externally for this potentially time-consuming process,” he added.

January’s report also included strong performances from Brand Strategy and Proposition Design (both representing 6.9%). This shows that brands are looking to bring in agency-based creative thinking to challenge their own methods and take their strategy to the next level.

A further interesting feature of the report is the new entry from PR and Communications. “We expect that this area had previously been overlooked by brands opting for representation by more established names, but there has recently been a greater desire for smaller independent suppliers who are able to offer unrivaled value,” says Sayburn.

Skills that failed to make the top ten list this month include Events + Spatial Design and Copywriting. The limited number of Events briefs can be explained simply by the seasonal nature of this category: it tends to be most popular in the Spring and Autumn with events peaking at these times of year.

Copywriting just misses out on a top ten spot as marketers seem to be focusing on more strategic spend at this time of year, as opposed to delivering smaller campaign execution.

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Overall, 2024 is looking like an exciting year for marketing.

“It’s great to see brands sourcing externally in categories new and old, and using our amazing agency talent for a whole range of projects. Much of what we have seen this month aligns with our predictions for 2024, predictions which are outlined in our 2023 Lookback and 2024 Predictions report,” noted Sayburn.

“We’re excited to see how the nature of the monthly report will change over the course of the year, so watch this space!”

Read the in-depth StudioSpace 2023 Lookback and 2024 Predictions report here.

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About StudioSpace
StudioSpace is a matchmaking platform for senior marketers looking to hire agencies. Its clients include major brands such as Google, Jaguar Land Rover and Aviva. It was founded in January 2022 by Pete Sayburn, Gideon Hyde, Robin Scarborough, Paul Bowman and Phil Kohler.

About Marketers Most Wanted
The Marketers Most Wanted report is a regular snapshot of actual agency briefs posted on the StudioSpace platform by brand owners and chief marketing officers from 37 blue chip companies to over 200 creative, digital and marketing agencies.

About Pete Sayburn
Pete Sayburn is CEO of Studiospace, a matchmaking platform for senior marketers looking to hire agencies. Its clients include major brands such as Google, Jaguar Land Rover and Aviva. Studiospace was founded in January 2022 by Pete Sayburn, Gideon Hyde, Robin Scarborough, Paul Bowman and Phil Kohler.

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