So you’re looking to hire a marketing expert for your team. It should be easy enough, right? You just post the job on Indeed, wait for the resumes to start rolling in and pick from the best of the bunch.
While it’s true that in a perfect world, you’d have no trouble enlisting the help of a seasoned pro — someone who’s able to tackle everything from planning to strategy — in my experience, this type of expert can be difficult to find. Sure, they exist, but they’re also extremely rare.
As a marketing consultant, I’ve seen this issue come up quite a lot. Often, when I’m on consulting calls, I find that people are looking for someone to not only provide advice but also to handle every marketing-related task for them.
It’s not often that you’ll find someone who’s able to do it all — and if you do, they’ll most likely cost a great deal. Of course, you could enlist the help of an agency, but they’re often costly as well.
If you’re looking for a marketing expert and aren’t sure where to start, here’s a look at how you can simplify the process and find the help you need. But first, let’s more deeply examine why good marketing people can be hard to find.
Why Is It So Hard?
In my experience of hiring multiple marketers for the various companies I’ve owned, there are two main reasons why marketing positions can be hard to fill.
First of all, consider the state of marketing today. The field of marketing is as broad as it is deep, and in the digital age, it’s changing at the speed of light. It’s also something that requires a broad range of skills — from strategy to creativity to an in-depth knowledge of different social media platforms, not to mention content marketing, inbound marketing, Google Ads and more. It can be tough to find someone who’s able to do it all. And if they claim that they can, they’re likely either exaggerating, or, as I mentioned previously, they’re going to cost a lot. If someone is that good, they’ll also probably already be working somewhere else and will need a pretty strong incentive if you’re hoping to persuade them to work for you.
Second, the hiring process for marketers is usually extremely flawed and often misses the mark. It’s easy to hire based on resumes alone or to neglect to ask the right questions at the interview. Often marketers will make large, impressive boasts: “I grew X company’s social media following by 700 people” or “I increased inbound leads by 500%.” But it’s rare that the interviewer will call these claims into question. Instead of simply taking these claims at face value, it’s important to delve in and ask how. How did they scale the company’s social media following? What strategies did they implement? Were they working on a team or alone? Having the facts can make the job of vetting qualified candidates easier.
Determine What Level Of Marketer You Need
Instead of simply rushing out and hiring a “marketing expert,” I recommend that companies articulate exactly what they’re looking for. Marketing specialists, in my experience, can be broken down into three main tiers.
1. The 30,000-Foot Strategist
First up, there’s the 30,000-foot strategist. They’ll be an expert in strategy and able to provide direction to you and your team. This expert will often be a consultant — and as such, it may be difficult to hire them in a traditional capacity. A good strategist will delve into the threadwork of your company, not merely suggesting tactics, but also helping you to determine whether you have a viable product and who your target audience is. While often costly, a good strategist is often worth their weight in gold and is probably an ideal candidate if you’d like help with your overall strategy.
2. The 15,000-Foot Conceptualizer
The 15,000-foot conceptualizer is usually a bit more hands-on than a strategist and able to deal with more practical, day-to-day aspects of marketing. They’ll likely be skilled in a few areas, such as setting up campaigns, coordinating teams and delegating necessary tasks. While not usually as skilled as a strategist when it comes to overall direction, they’ll likely be skilled at using a few favored platforms and techniques to produce good results, and they can be tremendously valuable if you already have a target audience and an overall strategy.
3. The 5,000-Foot Implementer
The 5,000-foot implementer is often easier to find and tends to specialize in just one or two areas, such as email, affiliate, search engine or pay-per-click marketing. Usually, they’ll be skilled at implementing strategies on a specific platform, such as Facebook or Google Ads, but they likely won’t be able to do everything or make sure that everything is working together congruently. If you’re looking for help with a specific strategy, then a 5,000-foot implementer might be for you.
Determine What Capacity You’re Hiring For
Next, determine what capacity you’re hiring for. Do you need someone to work for you in-house or as a contractor?
Again, you’ll want to consider exactly what you’re looking for and who can best help you reach your marketing goals. Often you may not need to hire for a full-time position. Sometimes enlisting the services of an individual contractor or agency is the best option. This depends on your goals and budget constraints. Larger companies for whom brand consistency matters a great deal may want to hire exclusively in-house.
Once you’ve determined which type of marketer you need and in what capacity you want to hire them, you’re ready to start looking for the right candidate. Just don’t make the mistake of posting a job ad with a vague description of “marketing professional.” Instead, get extremely detailed with your job description so potential candidates will be on the same page as you and clear about exactly what will be expected of them.
Feature Image Credit: Getty
Gary Nealon is the Founder of Nealon Solutions, offering strategic marketing consulting services to help you scale your eCommerce business.