LONDON: Cross-channel planning, content strategy and data analysis are the top three disciplines that advertisers, agencies and media owners say they are most in need of, according to new analysis from Warc.

As part of its contribution to the second annual International Media Image Survey (I-MIS), Warc found 44% of global respondents regarded cross-channel planning as a key skill set that their organisation needed to improve.

This was followed by content strategy (43%), data analysis (37%), programmatic specialists (25%), social media and community specialists (23%), and mobile expertise (22%).

Cross-channel planning was a higher priority for agencies and advertisers – at 48% and 45% respectively – than for media owners (34%), who in turn placed much greater emphasis on their requirement to boost their programmatic and mobile expertise.

Over one-third (36%) of media owners cited mobile expertise, compared with 18% of agencies and 15% of advertisers, while 32% looked to programmatic specialists (32%) versus 23% of both agency and advertiser respondents.

There was broad consensus across the five regions surveyed about the need to improve skills in cross-channel planning (ranging from 39% in Asia to 48% in Europe, excluding the UK), but there was a marked difference of opinion regarding content strategy.

Almost two-thirds (62%) of respondents in Asia thought this was an area where their organisation needed to improve their knowledge and ability compared to just a fifth (19%) in North America.

Similarly, North American and British respondents appeared relatively confident about their social media skills – just 13% and 18% respectively judged this to be a top concern compared with 42% in Asia and 31% in Europe and the rest of the world.

Another sharp contrast concerned expertise in programmatic where nearly half (46%) of respondents in North America thought their organisation needed to improve this skill set compared to just 2% in Asia.

Turning to the I-MIS report itself, which divides into two sections covering agencies and the media based on responses from 795 industry practitioners, the headline findings were that Google topped its list of both most and least liked media brand while Carat was rated the agency that advertisers would most like on their pitch list.

Data sourced from I-MIS; additional content by Warc staff