Recently, I had lunch with the owner of Digital Instincts, a fantastic digital agency that’s building an app for us at Penton. She mentioned that her young daughter had decided that she wanted a summer babysitting job in a posh neighborhood nearby, primarily so she could take care of kids by a pool. (I’m simplifying, of course, but you get the idea.)
Entirely on her own, the girl created flyers touting her skills and experience and left them at coffee shops and other key locations in the area. Soon after, she got her dream job: caring for three young girls in an Architectural Digest—worthy home with a pool and the rest of the works. My immediate response: “When can I hire her?!”
I’m not looking for a summer babysitter, but I am always looking for marketers with creativity and initiative. Starting there, here are 7 things I look for when hiring a marketing manager (in absolutely no particular rank order):
What I Look for When Hiring a Marketing Manager
It’s great if you can do what your manager tells you to. It’s even better if you can spot an issue, generate a solution, and bring that to the table on your own.
Can you come up with fresh ideas and approaches? Are you up to date on the latest technologies, platforms, and trends? Too many people continue to repurpose something that’s worked before. And while there are times when “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and “no point in reinventing the wheel” are true, make sure you’re not stuck in a rut.
Google Analytics, Omniture, PPC campaigns, email metrics, Eloqua, Salesforce, HubSpot … the list goes on. All these marketing tools require you to be able to identify, manipulate, and understand data. Please don’t tell me, “I’m not a math person.”
4. Legal Grounding
No, you don’t have to have a J.D. But you do have to be aware of privacy laws and other consumer protections, CAN-SPAM, and the rules and regulations for any platform you want to use. Not to mention that oldie-but-goodie, the difference between a sweepstakes and a contest.
5. Testing Chops
At the very least, have a knowledge of what your benchmark is and know what impact your campaign is having. Best practice: test constantly. Your bible: Which Test Won. Be prepared to tell an interviewer what you tested, why, and what you learned.
6. Social Media Savvy
You don’t have to be the person that actually posts to social media for your company, but you do need to have an understanding of the various platforms and their individual business applicability that goes beyond, “I have a personal Facebook account.” Who is your audience? Where do they go? Do they access it on a computer, smartphone, or tablet? Instagram and Pinterest are both visual platforms — which one is right for your brand? And finally, do you know how to track it? I mentioned marketing tools above — there are even more for monitoring social metrics.
I believe native curiosity will increasingly be the difference between people who succeed and thrive in a rapidly-changing business environment, and those who calcify in this-is-the-way-we’ve-always-done-it mode. Do you approach new tools and challenges like a child with a new toy, gleefully digging in and poking around until it becomes second nature? Or do you ask someone else, “how does this work?” Tell me a story about how you rolled up your sleeves and just dug in to figure it out.
Finally, please be a decent person. It’s not specific to marketing, but it matters.