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Tackle Marketing’s Talent Challenge in 2021

By Ewan McIntyre | January 08, 2021 | 0 Comments

MarketingMarketing Organization and Talent

What are the most sought-after roles in your marketing team in 2021? I’m going to guess that they include some of the following:

  • Marketing data and analytics
  • Digital strategy and execution
  • Multichannel marketing
  • Content strategy and execution

How do I know this? It’s more than an educated guess. First of all, I spend a lot of time looking at the org charts of marketing organizations of varying industries, shapes and sizes. Gartner also has data on the state of marketing talent, such as “In-Demand Competencies for Strategy-Oriented Roles in Marketing”  (requires subscription).

The above roles undoubtedly reflect strategically important marketing capabilities. The trouble is, they’re also universal. Gartner data continues to tell of a talent challenge within marketing. Simply put, there’s greater demand for some roles, for example, data analytics, than there is supply. That data scientist role you’re trying to recruit – your direct competitors are trying to recruit them, as is almost every other marketing organization.

Apply Marketing to Marketing Recruitment

The marketing talent challenge is made more, erm, challenging by poor recruiting tactics. Marketing leaders often fail to appreciate that the job description is a piece of marketing. I see so many job descriptions that are generic lists of tasks and responsibilities. They undersell the attractiveness of the prospective employer. They focus on long lists of deliverables rather than homing in on capabilities and competencies. And, worst of all, they’re poorly targeted and dull.

I could expend a lot of words defining the difference between good, and bad recruiting tactics and job descriptions. But brevity is my new year’s resolution (it won’t last). So, here’s a handful of key tips to restart you recruiting efforts in 2021.

  1. Start with a persona. You’re recruiting a person, so the best place to start is by defining the persona of the ideal candidate. This doesn’t mean a list of their education and experience – it’s a sketch of who they are, what motivates them, and why they might want to come and work with you.
  2. Be realistic. Cut your cloth according to your budget, your brand and your culture. You want to both attract and retain the right person. Be clear on what you need, and the type of candidate that would be best placed for success given the prevailing culture in your organization.
  3. Ditch the boilerplate requirements. You really don’t need an MBA, or 5-7 years’ experience for most marketing roles, so why do I see this so often on job descriptions. Every time you increase education, industry and experience requirements, you reduce the available talent pool.
  4. Think about what you offer the candidate. Use the job description to sell your organization to candidates. Instead of listing deliverables, paint a picture of what success would look like for them in their role. Be clear on why you, rather than the hundreds of other brands they could work with.
  5. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. You really don’t need to detail every single thing a candidate will be responsible for in the job description. Instead, focus on the primary and secondary activities they’ll carry out. Cluster similar activities (e.g. strategic activities) together. And, as per the previous point, don’t simply list what they’ll do, paint a picture of what their success will look like (e.g. “your multichannel strategy will build profitable engagement with high priority segments”).

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