Digital marketing talents are nowadays crucial for driving the business success. Companies, large and small, are now very serious recruiting the “right” and qualified digital marketer. But, digital marketing talents management is more difficult than it appears to be.
The status of digital marketing talents: 2007 vs. 2017
10 years, the awareness of digital marketing, being SEM, SEO, display ads, or others, is low in Asia Pacific. A new role started appearing in agencies “Digital Director” or similar ones, who was often in charge of everything digital; alone, sometimes.
Companies were just getting started with paid search and search engine optimizations. They face several problems: one, traditional marketing managers lack digital experience managed the agencies; two, most agencies were incapable of delivering results that matters; three, capable digital marketers are difficult to find.
However, the problems did not appear to be problems at all. Marketing managers and agencies worked “well” and delivered “results”; companies looking for digital talents hired “experts”. Most companies were okay to define “impressions” and “clicks” as results instead of quality actions (such as whitepaper download), leads, or online revenues; more self-claimed experts found lucrative jobs.
Back in 2017. You can find ten times more digital marketing jobs than you could ten years ago; and, you can probably find more candidates with digital marketing experience. So, it’s much better now right?
No. It’s more difficult. More digital marketing professionals now; and, more qualified. The problem is, also more unqualified.
The reality is, more people have the tag of “digital marketing” now but lack what’s needed to drive the digital transformations. Some in the senior positions don’t have hands-on digital marketing experience but just more familiar with the industry and the digital jargons.
Senior roles in digital marketing
The most important role is the one in charge of digital marketing. Without hands-on digital marketing experiences, it’s almost impossible to develop a digital strategy that can generate true impact because doing so requires a deep understanding of the unique nature of each digital channel, advanced targeting options, web analytics and attribution, and digital integrations.
It’s a bit risky just looking at the reputation of the ex-employer. Unlike traditional marketing roles, digital marketing people at the similar level of the similarly sized enterprises could deliver very different results; 10 times or 100 times is not an exaggeration. HR needs to find a way to identify the true digital marketing capabilities apart from how well-established or famous his or her ex-employer is.
Junior roles in digital marketing
If companies get the right head of digital marketing, it can simply leave it to him or her to lead the recruitment. If not, certifications can say a lot for entry-level digital hirings, especially those from internet companies like Google and Facebook.
Traits to look for in all digital marketing talents
The top skills for all digital jobs should be problem-solving and fast-learning. One impactful quality of the digital era is that the technologies are rapidly updating and evolving. Strong problem-solving and fast learning skills are no longer good-to-have but very necessary-to-have.
With the rising popularity of mobile technology, AI, and other, more and more digital jobs require candidates to have a complex mix of skills. Unfortunately, being different in product offerings and corporate structures, it’s becoming more difficult to find the candidates who have all the experiences desired.
Don’t be stubborn on specifics of the candidates’ digital experience, especially software. If your candidate is a Google Analytics expert and willing to learn Adobe Analytics, don’t just simply disqualify him/her. Any software will be very different in a few years’ time than it is now.
Passion. I was rarely disappointed in the past when I hired candidates who are passionate in the jobs. Experienced job seekers know how to indicate their passion when some do not really have; but, these indicators can be helpful:
- Personal websites writing on the relevant topics
- Active participation in the industry events and gatherings
- Possess knowledge beyond what he/she applies to his/her current jobs
- Readings. Many people currently share their liked articles on LinkedIn, Facebook, and/or Twitter
In addition, recruiters can conduct searches on Google “FirstName LastName“; include the quotes to filter out unnecessary results. The candidate’s Tweets and LinkedIn Testimonials are another channels to check.
Perseverance. According to “Grit” by Angela Duckworth, the passion and perseverance together are the secret to outstanding achievements.
Psychometric tests. Psychometric tests are a standard and scientific method used to measure individuals’ mental capabilities and behavioral style. Some startups, big business groups in India have already seen success adopting psychometric tests to for recruitment.
Digital talents management is more than recruitment
Operation. Companies must build an internal standard operation procedure for digital marketing operations. Setting up an internal wiki page and encouraging voluntary entries and improvement, for instance, can be helpful.
Knowledge and insights. In addition, companies can benefit a lot by setting up a central depository of digital marketing learnings. Again, the encouragement of entries is the key.
Relying less on human. As AI technology is maturing, companies should start experimenting with AI marketing platforms.