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Don’t Search for a Digital Marketing Unicorn – Do This Instead


Have you heard the rumor? There are whispers about marketing talent with skills of epic proportions. They grasp their clients’ visions and bring them to life, create data-driven campaigns as though they can see the future, and are a whiz at integrating a wide range of technologies to meet your goals.

They do it on time and under budget, again and again. They are both creative and proficient with complex technologies. Some claim to have seen them through the mist, and the tales of their successes are the stuff of legends. Is this a creature only seen in myths and fairy tales, or does this employee actually exist?

The Problem

With the right marketing technology, driven by the right people, marketing departments have the tools to be more efficient, assess campaign effectiveness, identify trends, improve conversion rates, and turn raw data into a clear picture of customer behavior and response to marketing. True, it’s an awesome time to be in marketing.

Unfortunately the marketing technology landscape is incredibly complex and growing at a rapid pace (case in point, the number of MarTech solutions has grown to over 5,200 distinct tools in just the past 3 years.) What’s more, many marketing professionals are excellent at the creative side of marketing, but don’t have formal technical training, and they’ve been learning many of these systems on the fly.

All of which has led many companies to begin a search for the one person who can synthesize marketing strategy, technology, and data and create marketing miracles. A mythical creature called The MarTech Unicorn.

And doing so is a mistake.

Don’t Go Looking for Unicorns

It is nearly impossible to find someone who is strong in every aspect of MarTech: digital marketing strategy, analytics, and technology. The reality is you’re not going to find a masterful digital strategist who is a data science wizard and can also can make sure your new marketing technology is integrated seamlessly with your existing MarTech stack. Sorry.

But what you CAN do is find is someone who is a MarTech hybrid. (In keeping with mythical creatures, just imagine a centaur instead of a unicorn.) Even doing this isn’t exactly easy, but definitely an attainable goal.

Here are a few examples of hybrid roles:

  • Marketing Technology Manager with Digital Strategy. This is a technologist who not only understands the basics of digital marketing, but has a deep understanding of digital strategy supported by the tools they oversee in the marketing stack. This person would understand the goals of the marketing team and their specific campaign needs and develops a vision and strategy for the marketing stack to support those goals.
  • Digital Marketing Analyst with Technology. This is someone who not only analyzes the data, but also brings an understanding of the technologies that produce, store, and help analyze marketing data to support data driven marketing. This person can help advise on the best set-up, configuration, and ongoing use of tools such as tag management software and data management platforms.

  • Digital Marketing Analyst with Digital Strategy. This person doesn’t just drop a report on the desk of the digital lead, but acts as a consultant to help digital marketing managers act on the insights they’ve uncovered. Through an understanding of digital marketing strategies and tactics, they can suggest specific actions to improve and optimize campaign performance.

How To Find What You’re Looking For

Now that you know who you’re trying to find, you need to understand the key characteristics of the type of tech savvy marketing talent you’ll need.

Innovative – Digital marketing continues to change and evolve at a rapid pace, so MarTech pros need to show a high level of adaptability. They should keep current with the latest trends, technologies, and strategies, and bring them back to the organization to push the envelope on digital marketing and analytics capabilities through pilot testing and experimentation. They need to be able to give you examples of how they’ve previously introduced new methods or tools to improve or enhance digital initiatives.

Data Driven – Digital companies need talented people who balance the desire to try new strategies with the need to use analytics to evaluate effectiveness. They scour brand data to find trends, predict outcomes, drive content generation, and measure results. They’re willing to take risks, but only if the data indicates it’s worth it. They also should be comfortable changing up a campaign “in flight” based on data about how it is performing and should use data from past campaigns to inform their decisions about future ones.

Strong Communicator – Qualified candidates can clearly explain digital marketing strategies and decisions, including audience targeting, key performance indicators, channel selection, budget decisions, and campaign performance and ROI. They can also describe how such strategies tie in to larger business goals. They are comfortable communicating with and tailoring their message for stakeholders across the organization.

Hands-on Experience – Nothing trains like time in the trenches. The best candidates won’t just have knowledge of digital marketing best practices, they’ll have experience. Look for a strong background in marketing strategy and planning, business process design, and data analysis. They should be able to describe how they’ve integrated new technology into their processes and made adjustments as necessary. Experience with what’s in your company’s MarTech stack is always a plus.

How to Find a Hybrid

Even though hybrids do exist (unlike unicorns), they are highly in demand. Which means if you want one, it’s going to take a lot of work. But believe us, it’s well worth the effort! Here are a few tactics you can try:

Look in the right places. Scout talent personally through social media, conferences, Meetups, and marketing, analytics, technology, and MarTech job boards (yes, they do exist). Top talent often prefer to work with specialized talent agencies to find a perfect “next home,” ones that understand their unique space and know how to present their special skills.

Avoid buyer’s remorse. If you need to fill a gap right away, but you’re hesitant to commit, some talent agencies let you try employees on a temporary basis before making a permanent commitment. Consider a temp-to-permanent hire to see how candidates integrate with your team and reflect the personality of your brand.

Focus on retention. If you already have a hybrid, make sure you don’t lose them while on the lookout for your next one. Invest in training to add value to your team and to help them meet their professional goals. If you’ve just hired one, start on day one uncovering career goals and challenges that will keep that hybrid around. Trust us on that one.

While we can’t promise unicorns (and if someone else does, run the other way), Vitamin T does have hybrids! In fact we’ve got the perfect pros for whatever kind of MarTech stack you have.

Get prescreened, vetted talent that perfectly matches your company’s needs. Click here to request talent today.

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