04 June 2008

How Not To Find a Great Marketing Person


Egads, have you ever read some of the job descriptions for marketing people? Some of them are downright cryptic. And for companies who are looking for "results oriented" people, I'm amazed at how jargon laden and crappy some of them are. Cases in point from just a little quality time with CareerBuilder:


From a big fat Fortune 500 company:
Collaborate with field and other cross-functional partners to identify potential revenue generating gaps or barriers in building infrastructure for any given alternate channel.
Is this jargon for "figure out what's working and what's not?"

From a big department store retailer:
Planning and execution of a multiple cutting edge business and strategic relationship marketing programs supporting the extension and development of online and direct-to-customer channels for XYZ company. Forming partnerships with internal business for expansion of value-added services and capabilities. Forming strategic partnerships with external partners to create new services, adding value to the XYZ customer experience.
Ready for buzzword bingo, anyone? Using the old trick of removing the buzzwords to reveal the essence of the sentence, we're left with little of substance. No wonder this company is struggling mightily.

From another retailer, this time in office supplies:
...this position is accountable for building, maintaining, and expanding the technical infrastructures and analytical skills pool required to consistently deliver timely insight to key decision makers as well as for building strategic relationships with merchandising, marketing, and sales to foster a fact based decision making culture.
As opposed to making decisions based on a bunch of BS? And I'm not exactly sure I'd like to go swimming in an analytical skills pool.

I could go on. (If you're a serious masochist, just head to career builder and type in "marketing". Start reading. Prepare the Advil.)

So how should people find great marketing talent?

You have to be willing to turn convention on it's head a little bit. The essence of great marketing is clear, compelling communication with the people that want to know you. You can't have this be an integral part of your strategy and then recruit people with this drivel.

Start paying attention to the aspects of your potential Marketeers that are the intangibles. I promise you'll find lots of people with adequate qualifications. But pay attention to a few other things:
  • Are they personable? Funny? Gregarious? If not, their projects aren't likely to be, either.
  • Can they hold an engaging conversation? This translates, trust me. Ever met a great marketing person with a wilting personality?
  • Do they have interests outside of work, and do they participate in other activities and communities, either online or off? Great marketing is a good dose of insight and instinct, and only those who are involved in communities will know what it's like to talk to one.
  • Is their resume or cover letter full of the same jargon that's in these job descriptions? Red flag.
It'll also help to take a hard look at the job description you're writing and whittle it down to the things you really want someone to do. You probably don't need much more than that. Skip the buzzwords. And when you're interviewing, toss aside the standard "Give me an example of a time you helped a customer with a difficult problem" and get to know the person sitting in front of you.

Smart marketing people are immune to these kinds of appeals, and will often skip right to the next company. Remember, you're selling them the appeal of working with you too, not just doing them a favor by giving them a job. Smart marketers are savvy and in demand, and unfortunately mediocre ones can be found in droves. Which are you searching for?


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3 comments:

Valeria Maltoni said...

The most productive matches between talent and employer are made through a fit in values and philosophy of work. In other words the soft stuff. Of course, you need to have the hard skills for results. The experience of working somewhere (and with someone) does transfer to services/products and to the experience your customers have.

Maybe I should have titled my post: jobs must change, shouldn't job search, too? Thank you for extending the conversation on finding and retaining talent.

Amber Naslund said...

Valeria - you're so right. And I think learning how to assess and evaluate the "soft stuff" is the key to finding a great match. Thanks for commenting, and for your great post on the subject, too!

Tracy Diziere said...

Well said, Amber! Having looked at a number of these atrocious postings with respect to buzzwords, I can also attest that the worst ones really show a lack of focus. They end up being "catch-all job descriptions" and do not bode well for the company's future. I've discussed this topic at length on my blog at www.mymarketingpersonsays.wordpress.com. Your post is a good complement to these points and I'm glad to see you taking up the subject!

04 June 2008

How Not To Find a Great Marketing Person


Egads, have you ever read some of the job descriptions for marketing people? Some of them are downright cryptic. And for companies who are looking for "results oriented" people, I'm amazed at how jargon laden and crappy some of them are. Cases in point from just a little quality time with CareerBuilder:


From a big fat Fortune 500 company:
Collaborate with field and other cross-functional partners to identify potential revenue generating gaps or barriers in building infrastructure for any given alternate channel.
Is this jargon for "figure out what's working and what's not?"

From a big department store retailer:
Planning and execution of a multiple cutting edge business and strategic relationship marketing programs supporting the extension and development of online and direct-to-customer channels for XYZ company. Forming partnerships with internal business for expansion of value-added services and capabilities. Forming strategic partnerships with external partners to create new services, adding value to the XYZ customer experience.
Ready for buzzword bingo, anyone? Using the old trick of removing the buzzwords to reveal the essence of the sentence, we're left with little of substance. No wonder this company is struggling mightily.

From another retailer, this time in office supplies:
...this position is accountable for building, maintaining, and expanding the technical infrastructures and analytical skills pool required to consistently deliver timely insight to key decision makers as well as for building strategic relationships with merchandising, marketing, and sales to foster a fact based decision making culture.
As opposed to making decisions based on a bunch of BS? And I'm not exactly sure I'd like to go swimming in an analytical skills pool.

I could go on. (If you're a serious masochist, just head to career builder and type in "marketing". Start reading. Prepare the Advil.)

So how should people find great marketing talent?

You have to be willing to turn convention on it's head a little bit. The essence of great marketing is clear, compelling communication with the people that want to know you. You can't have this be an integral part of your strategy and then recruit people with this drivel.

Start paying attention to the aspects of your potential Marketeers that are the intangibles. I promise you'll find lots of people with adequate qualifications. But pay attention to a few other things:
  • Are they personable? Funny? Gregarious? If not, their projects aren't likely to be, either.
  • Can they hold an engaging conversation? This translates, trust me. Ever met a great marketing person with a wilting personality?
  • Do they have interests outside of work, and do they participate in other activities and communities, either online or off? Great marketing is a good dose of insight and instinct, and only those who are involved in communities will know what it's like to talk to one.
  • Is their resume or cover letter full of the same jargon that's in these job descriptions? Red flag.
It'll also help to take a hard look at the job description you're writing and whittle it down to the things you really want someone to do. You probably don't need much more than that. Skip the buzzwords. And when you're interviewing, toss aside the standard "Give me an example of a time you helped a customer with a difficult problem" and get to know the person sitting in front of you.

Smart marketing people are immune to these kinds of appeals, and will often skip right to the next company. Remember, you're selling them the appeal of working with you too, not just doing them a favor by giving them a job. Smart marketers are savvy and in demand, and unfortunately mediocre ones can be found in droves. Which are you searching for?


Zemanta Pixie

3 comments:

Valeria Maltoni said...

The most productive matches between talent and employer are made through a fit in values and philosophy of work. In other words the soft stuff. Of course, you need to have the hard skills for results. The experience of working somewhere (and with someone) does transfer to services/products and to the experience your customers have.

Maybe I should have titled my post: jobs must change, shouldn't job search, too? Thank you for extending the conversation on finding and retaining talent.

Amber Naslund said...

Valeria - you're so right. And I think learning how to assess and evaluate the "soft stuff" is the key to finding a great match. Thanks for commenting, and for your great post on the subject, too!

Tracy Diziere said...

Well said, Amber! Having looked at a number of these atrocious postings with respect to buzzwords, I can also attest that the worst ones really show a lack of focus. They end up being "catch-all job descriptions" and do not bode well for the company's future. I've discussed this topic at length on my blog at www.mymarketingpersonsays.wordpress.com. Your post is a good complement to these points and I'm glad to see you taking up the subject!

04 June 2008

How Not To Find a Great Marketing Person


Egads, have you ever read some of the job descriptions for marketing people? Some of them are downright cryptic. And for companies who are looking for "results oriented" people, I'm amazed at how jargon laden and crappy some of them are. Cases in point from just a little quality time with CareerBuilder:


From a big fat Fortune 500 company:
Collaborate with field and other cross-functional partners to identify potential revenue generating gaps or barriers in building infrastructure for any given alternate channel.
Is this jargon for "figure out what's working and what's not?"

From a big department store retailer:
Planning and execution of a multiple cutting edge business and strategic relationship marketing programs supporting the extension and development of online and direct-to-customer channels for XYZ company. Forming partnerships with internal business for expansion of value-added services and capabilities. Forming strategic partnerships with external partners to create new services, adding value to the XYZ customer experience.
Ready for buzzword bingo, anyone? Using the old trick of removing the buzzwords to reveal the essence of the sentence, we're left with little of substance. No wonder this company is struggling mightily.

From another retailer, this time in office supplies:
...this position is accountable for building, maintaining, and expanding the technical infrastructures and analytical skills pool required to consistently deliver timely insight to key decision makers as well as for building strategic relationships with merchandising, marketing, and sales to foster a fact based decision making culture.
As opposed to making decisions based on a bunch of BS? And I'm not exactly sure I'd like to go swimming in an analytical skills pool.

I could go on. (If you're a serious masochist, just head to career builder and type in "marketing". Start reading. Prepare the Advil.)

So how should people find great marketing talent?

You have to be willing to turn convention on it's head a little bit. The essence of great marketing is clear, compelling communication with the people that want to know you. You can't have this be an integral part of your strategy and then recruit people with this drivel.

Start paying attention to the aspects of your potential Marketeers that are the intangibles. I promise you'll find lots of people with adequate qualifications. But pay attention to a few other things:
  • Are they personable? Funny? Gregarious? If not, their projects aren't likely to be, either.
  • Can they hold an engaging conversation? This translates, trust me. Ever met a great marketing person with a wilting personality?
  • Do they have interests outside of work, and do they participate in other activities and communities, either online or off? Great marketing is a good dose of insight and instinct, and only those who are involved in communities will know what it's like to talk to one.
  • Is their resume or cover letter full of the same jargon that's in these job descriptions? Red flag.
It'll also help to take a hard look at the job description you're writing and whittle it down to the things you really want someone to do. You probably don't need much more than that. Skip the buzzwords. And when you're interviewing, toss aside the standard "Give me an example of a time you helped a customer with a difficult problem" and get to know the person sitting in front of you.

Smart marketing people are immune to these kinds of appeals, and will often skip right to the next company. Remember, you're selling them the appeal of working with you too, not just doing them a favor by giving them a job. Smart marketers are savvy and in demand, and unfortunately mediocre ones can be found in droves. Which are you searching for?


Zemanta Pixie

3 comments:

Valeria Maltoni said...

The most productive matches between talent and employer are made through a fit in values and philosophy of work. In other words the soft stuff. Of course, you need to have the hard skills for results. The experience of working somewhere (and with someone) does transfer to services/products and to the experience your customers have.

Maybe I should have titled my post: jobs must change, shouldn't job search, too? Thank you for extending the conversation on finding and retaining talent.

Amber Naslund said...

Valeria - you're so right. And I think learning how to assess and evaluate the "soft stuff" is the key to finding a great match. Thanks for commenting, and for your great post on the subject, too!

Tracy Diziere said...

Well said, Amber! Having looked at a number of these atrocious postings with respect to buzzwords, I can also attest that the worst ones really show a lack of focus. They end up being "catch-all job descriptions" and do not bode well for the company's future. I've discussed this topic at length on my blog at www.mymarketingpersonsays.wordpress.com. Your post is a good complement to these points and I'm glad to see you taking up the subject!