Are you a marketing executive? It’s time to prep your marketing department for some good news and bad news for next year. On the downside, Gartner’s Annual CMO Spend Survey 2019–2020 reveals that companies plan to give marketing teams a smaller piece of the budget pie. That means doing more with less. What’s the upside? With the proliferation of martech, marketers can maximize their funds by moving traditional agency work in-house.
Of course, this requires first-class marketing pros eager to showcase their talents in a competitive, fast-paced economy. How can companies find such savants? That’s the million-dollar question haunting plenty of CMOs and other executives.
As pointed out in RSW/US’ 2018 outlook report, 83% of marketing leaders have trouble snagging top talent. Similarly, 73% of in-house marketing participants in Digiday’s 2018 Programmatic Marketing Summit said they’d love to do their own media buying. However, they were stymied in their attempts to find people with the needed abilities.
Certainly, the dearth of marketing superheroes can be partially blamed on unbelievably low unemployment. Yet it’s limiting to assume that companies can’t reinvent their recruitment strategies to nab terrific people.
How to Woo High Performers
A marketing executive can apply a few strategies to woo A-list applicants, even those already working for other organizations. Start with these tactics:
1. Market your workplace.
You want outstanding candidates. Why not use your marketing know-how to make your workplace irresistible through employer branding? This tactic involves clearly positioning your corporation’s unique selling propositions. In a report from candidate recruitment platform iHire, 59% of employers surveyed say they don’t use, don’t know much about, or had never heard of employer branding before. You’ll already be ahead of the curve if you implement corporate branding measures.
What makes your company different? Maybe your martech stack is second to none, affording marketers the chance to perform at ridiculously high levels. Maybe you offer special mentoring and programming throughout the year. Perhaps your cutting-edge incentives have made headlines. Ashley Hart, CMO of business cloud software provider Infor, explains, “Talent is looking for a holistic experience at a company that offers them a positive community environment, projects that will inspire them, and career growth opportunities.” Whatever your strong points, highlight them in everything from guest posts in industry journals to the job descriptions on your website. No one’s going to want what you’re selling unless you tell them what it is.
2. Turn interviews into story time.
You’d probably agree that the most gifted marketers have a penchant for storytelling. “More often these days, businesses are being built on powerful brand stories. The ability to tell a story is an essential asset for your marketing team,” affirms Kaitlyn Witman, co-founder and director of product marketing at Rainfactory, a marketing firm for growth-stage startups. Unfortunately, résumés and marketing portfolios may not illustrate how effective a job applicant is at weaving together messaging.
Rather than rely on guesswork, ask marketing candidates to tell you their one-of-a-kind personal narrative. You’ll see how someone pitches a well-known tale (i.e., her personal journey and expertise) to a specific audience. Evaluate candidates on their effectiveness in tailoring their background into a relatable, persuasive narrative. If you don’t feel a connection to a candidate’s story, how will your audience connect with the brand narrative this marketer would tell?
3. Interview for data savvy.
In a big data universe, marketers have to know how to obtain and interpret tons of information. It’s constantly flowing in from content management systems, customer relationship managers, analytics software, automation platforms, and other platforms. Make sure you include questions that pertain to working with marketing data. You need to determine whether a candidate is measurement-driven before hiring.
“Tell me about a time you used data to drive a campaign” and “What are your preferred methods for tracking marketing output performance?” are good ways to start the conversation. Applicants accustomed to strategizing with data will have no trouble crafting well-versed, specific responses. These should indicate that they measure success by social engagement numbers, for example, or campaign-generated sales. Those uncomfortable with data will likely to fall short in their explanations.
A marketing executive can wear lots of hats today, and they’ll be wearing even more in the future. Switch up your recruitment and onboarding tactics now so you can be certain that the performers in your department can keep up this year — and beyond.
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