Finding Your Marketing Miracle Worker
Hiring a marketing employee can be one of the hardest positions to fill. It doesn’t matter if you’re a sole trader looking to make your first hire one that will drive growth or a growing business looking to expand this core business function, you may find this type of position — above and beyond many others — to be challenging. A lot of other roles are comparably straightforward to define.
For example, your accountant must be professionally qualified, detail oriented and great with numbers, whilst an administrative person or receptionist might need to excel at managing incoming customer contact by phone and email and be highly organised and methodical. A marketer on the other hand typically needs to wear many hats, from writer to analyst to researcher to strategist. In addition marketing can affect the core of a business by changing the way it’s positioned and they can be held accountable to the company’s bottom line.
So this particular hire can have a commercial impact if it is unsuccessful. As a result, not only can it be difficult to find truly effective marketing candidates, many businesses focus only on specific marketing deliverables rather than the ‘T-Shaped’ marketer many firms really need. T-Shaped refers to having a light level of knowledge in a broad array of skills, and deep knowledge/ability in a single one or a few. This may not seem particularly remarkable or unique, but it carries qualities that are essential to great marketing teams.
It’s in your best interest to hunt these rare top performers down. Breadth of the ‘T-Shaped’ marketer is important because as marketers develop knowledge of the skills and abilities of different disciplines, they grow to value those traits in others, and to recognise the challenges that others need to overcome to achieve their goals. The depth of a ‘T-Shaped’ marketer is often driven by the desire to achieve mastery of a subject and to earn the recognition that comes from such deep expertise.
That recognition and appreciation helps with loyalty, commitment, and an ownership mentality, all critical elements of great team members. Ideally a marketing team would consist of multiple ‘T-Shaped’ people. Truly creative solutions are rare and even harder to evaluate and expand when there’s only one person in your company with the requisite expertise. By having multiple overlapping ‘T’ marketers, a team can invent and evolve better solutions to problems.
What should you do when building your marketing team, knowing that you need to get things right from the start? Instead of focusing on specific job titles or position descriptions, make sure your marketing team can help your company to fulfill the following:
The deluge of marketing data available today is somewhat of a double-edged sword. On one hand it can enable marketers to make significant improvements to the effectiveness of their actions, but on the other it needs a person with a strong analytical background and confident mathematics and statistics abilities to make sense of the information. This marketer needs to set key performance indicators based on the metrics of greatest importance to the business and should be able to select and implement the best tools to measure them.
Marketing activities need a person to handle administration. There is a lot of admin involved in marketing, and it needs to be managed by an employee of your company, as it is often hard to outsource. Work such as conducting market and competitive research, performing the administrative tasks underpinning event guest lists, databases, direct mail etc., developing and maintaining an editorial calendar for content marketing campaigns and making sure campaign and deliverable deadlines are met.
When it comes to those all-important content marketing campaigns, somebody needs to create the material for these. Depending on your plan and business needs that could involve blog posts, ebooks, white papers and trade articles, infographics, promotional or educational video clips. A large portion of this activity can be outsourced to your marketing agency.
A significant proportion of our marketing efforts today focus on reaching out to customers directly, or responding to people who have initiated contact with the company, online. Marketers handling this part of the function must be able to create and post effective messages that draw in an audience via social media. They are the voice of the brand online and need to be able to maintain consistent brand standards. They also need to be able to manage and triage customer compliments and complaints through the correct internal channels unless empowered to respond directly, and be competent with using social media tools to network and connect with potential customers, partners and other key business contacts.
Filling these roles will depend heavily on the size of your firm and its ability to make best use of the marketers talents. Small and medium sized enterprises may consider using a single marketing employee who will handle all these roles and therefore need to find somebody with a broad set of experiences and the ability to handle multiple job roles. They may also want to consider outsourcing much of them to enable greater flexibility and cost effectiveness. As the business grows you can then expand your marketing team based on placing emphasis on the roles that are most important to your business. By focusing on the skills your business needs most to succeed and deciding the balance of ‘in-house’ versus outsourced support you can build a marketing team enabled for success.