Marketing Skills You Need to Hire for

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December 6, 2019Hiring

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Across thousands of organizations, marketers play a pivotal role. But, today, hiring and keeping marketers has become one of the trickiest tasks.

Turnover in the field is at an all-time high. Marketing roles have the highest turnover rate of any job function—an impressive 17%, according to LinkedIn’s latest analysis.

Why does this happen?

A big reason: it comes down to hiring processes. When qualifying candidates for marketing jobs, most processes have a good deal of ambiguity.

With something like engineering jobs, to test someone’s capabilities, it’s easy to administer whiteboard tests to assess a candidate’s knowledge of algorithms. Or ask problem-solving questions during an interview to test someone’s aptitude and capabilities.

For marketing jobs, however, hiring teams are usually looking at resumes riddled with growth statistics, branding initiatives or lead-generation campaign examples.

How can someone tell whether a candidate really knows what they’re doing and can elevate the business?

Understanding sourcing for marketing jobs

The sourcing process for marketing jobs typically starts with a lot of internal searching:

“Do I know someone who can do demand generation?”

“I need to create inbound, I just don’t know if that’s what my first marketer should be?”

“I really need to grow this team and don’t know where to start.”

From there is where many organizations run into trouble–defaulting to antiquated hiring practices that include: 

  • Not getting good insight or a read on the candidate

  • Using the same interview processes for all candidates

  • Ignoring people who’ve previously applied

  • Lack of an authentic candidate experience

Forty years ago, the dream for most meant graduating college, owning a home, working a steady job and climbing the corporate ladder.

As long as all signs pointed to stability, commitment and a paycheck, there was little need for a courtship form a potential employer.

Consider today’s marketing candidates, however, where one-third of the U.S. workforce -- 53 million Americans -- work as freelancers or hold gig jobs.

The new normal for marketers in the workforce is four job changes, often between two and three industries, before the age of 32.

They also present a challenge for businesses: they’re creating unthought-of roles, forging new ideas and organizational changes.

While the core of marketing skills don’t change much over time, the understanding does. For businesses, it also means knowing about new skills to keep ahead of when hiring.

When it comes to discovering a businesses’ next top performers and leaders, let’s first take a look at three common marketing jobs and raise awareness about the next wave of marketing jobs.

3 red-hot marketing jobs we all know

1. The growth hacker

The master experimenter at every stage of the funnel. Growth marketers are data-driven professionals who work tirelessly to find innovative ways to drive user acquisition, keep customers engaged and retained, and ultimately turn them into advocates for the business.

In the startup space, venture capital contributes to the necessity of growth marketing because the shelf life of a VC fund is on average four to six years, putting startups under the running sands of time to accelerate their growth.

In big business, growth hacker-marketers usually spearhead product launches or PR projects–serving as the connector between different departments.

2. The brand expert

This is a businesses’ strategic gem. Brand managers have the vision, they are in the driver’s seat of how people engage with a business. They’re responsible for ensuring that the products, services and product lines that fall under their domain resonate with current and potential customers.

3. The specialist (social media specialist, content curation specialist, etc.)

They are the people who humanize a brand. Often hired in the later phases of business, when a business is in the right stage to assign skills and job functions to specific people, it is where the specialist comes into play. They typically focus on one key area within a marketing function and stick to it. The roads don’t cross often into other marketing functions.

This healthcare company hired a Chief Technology Officer in only 20 days.  Learn more >>

Awareness around 3 next-generation marketing jobs

1. AI-focused MarTech scientists

2019 has been a significant year for artificial intelligence (AI) in marketing. In everyday life, AI dominates much of what people do.

From using Google Maps to find out where to go to adopting Amazon’s recommendations on what to buy to the group of 29.9 million people who are using voice assistants at least once a month to run their lives.

There is no getting away from AI and for businesses marketing jobs in this space are anticipated to grow: By the year 2020, 60 percent of companies will be using AI-powered to drive digital revenue.

AI-focused marketers will be able to harness the technology to map out or predict customer behavior patterns, define strategies based on data to map out consumer experiences across different stages of a funnel and use the information to optimize marketing campaigns to tell data-driven yet meaningful stories that resonate with customers and online communities.

“The world of talent is changing and we needed a partner that understands the future needs of game-changing companies”

Sabrina Kelly, VP of Talent, Techstars [on Hunt Club]

What does this mean for hiring?

Here's what to look for in candidates:

  • Data flow comprehension
  • Technical creativity
  • A tenacious appetite for learning and trend-spotting

2. Marketing data scientists

71% of B2B marketers are interested in using AI for personalization in their marketing campaigns. By next year, data scientists will disrupt the world of marketing, serving as the go-to resource for enhancing critical areas of digital campaigns.

What does this mean for hiring?

Marketing scientists are people who understand how to harness the power of machine learning and predictive marketing and have the insight to analyze SEO, real-time marketing campaigns and customer engagement.

Here's what to look for in candidates:

  • Fluent in scripting languages like Python, Bash or Javascript
  • Versed in statistical or machine learning-based predictive modeling
  • First-rate communication skills

3. Marketing XOs (marketing experience officers)

Across B2B and B2C, the client/consumer experience with a brand or a product has shifted significantly. Today, 62% of users access the internet using their mobile phones and by 2020, the number of smartphone users is projected to reach 2.87 billion.

Ten years ago, customers made business or purchase decisions based on print advertising or direct mail. Today, the power of technology has given customers 24/7 access to knowledge and resources.

Even the way people search for things is changing. Visual search (i.e., Google Lens) and AR/AI dominate the customer experience for products and businesses.

What does this mean for hiring?

A next-gen marketer focused on the changing trends is becoming more important in today’s digital world because of the shift in customer experiences. By 2020, the customer experience is expected to be the brand differentiator over price and product.

Businesses need Marketing XOs to help align resources and optimize how customers take in information and interact with their brand, to drive sales and organizational growth.

Here's what to look for in candidates:

  • Corporate leadership in customer experience
  • Customer loyalty, retention, and satisfaction campaigns design and execution
  • Intellectual property positioning and protection

Hiring for next-generation marketing jobs

As marketing jobs evolve, so should pieces of the hiring process.

When it comes to hiring for emerging roles in marketing, here are three ideas to integrate into current processes to help ensure you speak with qualified talent with the right credentials to take your business forward.

1. Know the role and collaborate

Good hiring is the product of knowing what you’re hiring for. It starts with digging in.

If you can’t articulate the details about an open role (or know more than what’s written on a job description,) it hurts your ability to close candidates and can even ruin your organization’s reputation.

If you’re unfamiliar with the marketing role, find someone who is and grab some coffee. Or, take 30 minutes and run a few Google searches on the position.

You’ll learn a decent amount about what a person in that role does, the qualifications needed, and where the role fits into the overall organization.

You can also take a different approach and tap into a few subject matter experts’ minds. Reach out to people you know who are in those roles, or ask for introductions if they are second or third connections, and explain you just need 10 minutes from them.

The power of the network is real. Most people are willing to help if your request is exact and doesn’t require much time.

2. Tap into referrals to reach outside networks

Think outside of your usual networks and professional organizations to find a broader range of talent. One of the easiest ways to do this is to consider joining conversations that are happening throughout various online communities. Tap into those LinkedIn Groups or Facebook communities with topics related to your business and then strike up conversations with other members.

3. Roll out the red carpet

Treat others as you want to be treated.

Recruiting can quickly become transactional. Take the time to know what the candidate's needs are, and give back, first. Whether it’s being generous with your time, energy, effort, information or opportunities.

Putting people first is something that should be ingrained in your company's DNA. Whether it’s being generous with your time, energy, effort, information or opportunities.

When you put in the effort to make sure all candidates are valued and rewarded it is empowering -- whether someone is hired or not. It leaves a lasting impression on anyone who interviews and speaks volumes about your brand to people outside the company.

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Veronica Feldmeier avatarVeronica Feldmeier