Technology and data analysis are emerging as top marketing initiatives according to a new Economist report.

Successful marketing incorporates a mix of creativity and tech skills  – but it appears more top-level marketers want to “aggressively improve” the latter. New research from The Economist found 39 percent of marketers consider it a top priority to develop skills in marketing operations and technology.

The report, sponsored by Marketo, draws on insights from a worldwide range of 478 CMOs and senior marketing executives.

The ideal marketer: Half scientist, half business-strategist

Improving digital engagement skills and marketing operations is the top priority, but marketers also noted they’re looking to improve strategy and data analysis. Creative and graphic arts were at the bottom of the the top areas to develop with only 16 percent of marketers naming these as top priorities.

The reason behind creative marketing dipping in the list of priorities probably isn’t because of its lack of importance. Instead, marketers have made mastering creative a top initiative in previous years, and now feel they’ve mastered the craft. (Or perhaps, if they’re like the 75 percent of the tech industry, they’ve chosen to outsource their creative assets.)

In a futuristic landscape, the study suggests the ideal marketer would possess two main qualities: “the technical orientation of a project manager and data scientist with the big-picture view of a business strategist.”

Economist Survey

Should creativity take the back seat to technology?

In order for marketers to understand and reach their audiences, they need to be immersed within the technology that makes campaigns more powerful and efficient.

While technology and data analysis are emerging as top marketing initiatives, it’s important to remember that that every asset you produce is intended for humans, and you need to provide a creative approach. Having the technology to measure and decipher your content’s performance is the first step toward success, but you’ll have nothing to measure if you’re not providing a consistent stream of assets.

Molly Buccini is Brafton's community manager. She joined the team with a background in digital journalism and social media. She's a theatre nerd, pop culture junkie and lover of summertime.