Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur looking to make your first hire of a marketing employee or a growing business looking to build out this key department, you may find this type of position — above and beyond many others — to be challenging to fill.
A software engineer needs to know how to code. An administrative assistant must answer phones and organize paperwork. But a marketer typically needs to wear many hats, from writer to advertiser to strategist. And unlike other job roles, marketing employees 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.
As a result, it can be difficult to find truly effective marketing candidates. But it’s in your best interest to hunt these top performers down. A Mellon Financial Corp. study found that most new hires require 8 to 26 weeks to get up-to-speed; a loss in productivity that costs companies between 1-2.5 percent of their total revenues.
So how do you approach this difficult hire 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 hires help your company to fulfill all of the following needs:
All modern marketing programs require a person (or persons) who can handle the administrative side of things. Depending on how your company functions, this need might include any or all of the following tasks:
- Conducting market and competitive research.
- Performing the administrative organization underpinning marketing campaigns (for example, qualifying the list of leads that will receive a given direct mail piece.)
- Developing and maintaining an editorial calendar for content marketing campaigns.
- Making sure campaign and deliverable deadlines are met.
Speaking of content marketing campaigns, somebody in your company needs to create the collateral they’ll require. Depending on the advertising and content channels that demonstrate the best ROI for your business, that could involve any of the content types below:
- Written blog posts, ebooks, white papers and trade articles.
- Infographics, trade ads and other graphic design pieces.
- Promotional or educational video clips.
- Copywritten ad text, banner text, call to action text and more.
Compared to just 10 years ago, much of a company’s marketing efforts today focus on reaching out to engage directly with customers or on responding to those that have initiated social contact with the company online. A marketing candidate filling the engager role must be able to:
- Create and post engaging social networking messages that draw in an audience.
- Respond to customer compliments and complaints voiced in the public forum of social media.
- Use social media tools to network and connect with potential customers, partners and other key business contacts.
- Proactively shape the voice of the brand online through all interactions and maintain consistent brand standards.
The ability to generate previously unheard of amounts of marketing data is both a blessing and a curse. While all this information can be used to make tremendous improvements to the effectiveness of your campaigns, it requires a skilled hand to translate the raw data into actionable recommendations. As a result, your team needs somebody who can:
- Set key performance indicators (KPIs) based on the metrics of greatest importance to the business.
- Select and implement the best tools to measure data related to these KPIs.
- Run split tests and other data gathering campaigns to generate clean customer data.
- Interpret data and use this information to determine how to alter existing marketing campaigns or structure new ones in the future.
The way that you fill these roles will depend on the size of your company and how much you’re hoping to invest when building your marketing team. If, for example, you’re looking to bring on a single marketing employee who will handle all these functions, you’ll need to find somebody with a broad set of experiences and the ability to handle multiple job roles.
Over time, though, as you’re able to grow your team beyond your initial hire, you can fill out your marketing team based on either the weaknesses of your first employee or the roles that are most important to your business.
For example, suppose you bring on a CMO who’s a strong organizer, creator and engager, but who is somewhat weak at analyzing data. When you’re able to hire a second employee, looking for somebody who is skilled at data interpretation will free up your CMO’s time to focus on the tasks to which he or she is better suited.
Alternatively, if your company doesn’t maintain a strong presence on social media (if, say, you target an older demographic that isn’t as present on these sites), you may choose to bring on individual employees who focus on organizing, creating and analyzing before you worry about finding a candidate to suit the engaging role.
Use this model whether you’re looking to turn your team of one into a two-person shop or you’re hoping to build out your marketing department to a team of 10 or more. By focusing on the skill sets your business needs to be successful — rather than on the resume of an individual candidate — you’ll ensure vital functions are covered while expanding in a sustainable way.
How have you approached building your marketing team?
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