What attributes do employers most value when considering candidates for marketing positions? Certainly, there are many possible answers to this question depending on the company, the specific job, and other criteria.
“Hiring great marketers can be challenging, though. Some marketers are great at appearing to be useful when they’re really accomplishing next to nothing. And, in my experience, some of the worst marketers have MBAs or years of experience. With that in mind, here’s what [employers should] look for in a marketing candidate.”
- “A person who understands that marketing is a service. The first question to ask any candidate for a marketing job: ‘Define marketing.’ The answers will fall into three categories: (a) ‘Say whut?’ You’d be surprised how many marketers (including people with MBAs) don’t have a working definition of what they do, or plan to do, for a living. (b) ‘Marketing is strategic.’ Some marketers define marketing too broadly. Candidates who hold such bloated notions tend to squander their energy in too many directions. (c) ‘Marketing is a service.’ A top marketing candidate will tend to define marketing as a service that helps sales do its job more easily.”
- “A person who likes being measured. Strong marketing groups (and the candidates you’d want to hire in them) are all about quantitative measurement. They’re familiar with marketing metrics (like conversion rates) and more than willing to have their work judged on the basis of verifiable numbers.Weak marketing groups focus on activities, regardless of whether those activities generate sales opportunities or help salespeople close them. Such activities include brochures that nobody reads, fancy ads that generate zero sales leads, trade shows that are networking parties for the marketers, and more.
- “A person who can write concisely. We live in a constant state of information overload. Thus, the only marketing messages that are heard and remembered are short, vivid, and original. Unfortunately, some marketers are prone to use $5 words when 50¢ words would do the job better; biz-blab like ‘reach out,’ ‘circle back,’ and ‘pick your brain’; and clichés like ‘disruptive innovation,’ ‘industry-leading,’ and ‘state of the art.’ These sins can be deadly to marketers who must communicate with customers who are notoriously unwilling to wade through thick business prose.”
- “A person who’s had some experience selling. Great marketers have a deep respect for the job of selling. They realize that marketing is only meaningful if it helps salespeople do their job, which is much more important than any marketing task. You needn’t hold out for someone who’s sold for a living (although that would be ideal), but it is important that a marketing candidate know what it’s like to actually sell.”
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