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Thought Leadership

Time to Hire a Marketing Manager


Recently, a friend asked me to look over a job description she had written for a new marketing manager.  “The bottom line,” she said, “is people who had marketing tasks added to their other responsibilities over the years just couldn’t do them anymore and leadership felt it was too expensive to give everything to outside experts. So, we’re hiring a marketing manager.” Her explanation helped me understand why I was looking at a laundry list of tasks, responsibilities, hopes, and dreams.

In my friend’s defense, I have seen many marketing manager job descriptions that encompass nearly every marketing function you can think of and sometimes a few non-marketing functions as well (ordering lunch for sales meetings). A search of “marketing” on Salary.com results in 274 possible job matches. No wonder the process is so frustrating for HR.

Marketing today is a complicated field. Not only is it in constant flux, driven by the rapid developments in technology and media, the level of deep specialization and wide knowledge base needed to be successful is extreme. It’s just not possible for one person, no matter how brilliant, to encompass all these disciplines and knowledge at the highest level. So why do we insist on putting everything we think marketing is or we think marketers should do into one “I’m looking for a super hero” job description?

Often, the answer is because with all the confusion and complexity in how, where, and when we develop a demand for our products while fulfilling the customer’s need to know, like and trust us, having one person on the team to sort it all out seems like a good place to start. So, how do you get the right person for the job?

One person cannot do it all

The first step in figuring this all out is deciding what skill sets you want to build upon internally and what makes more sense to outsource. For example, marketing elements that require keeping pace with rapid, almost daily, changes or elements that require a high level of technical expertise should be outsourced to an expert who is managed expertly by your marketing manager.

Access what the business (not individuals) needs from the position

The next step is to determine what is of most value to your business – key accountabilities –  and prioritize that list to determine where you need the marketing manager’s skill set to be most applicable. At the top of your list should be how the position contributes to moving the business forward, not how they will make other’s lives easier.

Align what you need/want with what you can afford

The last step is understanding what you are getting for the investment. I cringe every time I see a marketing manager job description that has the responsibility of a senior level team member with a starting salary slightly above a Walmart cashier ($10-$12 an hour). Hoping you’ll luck out with a major league player for a minor league price will only result in a lengthy job search or starting the search over again in a year. If you need strategic marketing experience and big picture thinking to take your company to the next level, understand what that level of expertise costs.

The due diligence you put in upfront when you’re ready to hire a marketing manager will ensure you’re getting exactly what the business needs –  the person best suited for the job and the opportunity for your new marketing manager to shine.

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