Recently, I visited a client as part of the launch of a new search for a Vice President of Marketing. We got the section where the semior leaders work, and the CEO proudly pointed to a spanking new office, the one where my candidate will sit, complete with a freshly minted Vice President of Marketing nameplate outside the door. There was an empty desk, a small meeting table, some chairs, a window with a nice view of the city, a couple of pictures on the wall. Nothing unusual. But what was even more significant was the office right next door: The office of the Chief Technical Officer. That’s right, two corporate functions that years ago were akin to estranged family members, are now sitting literally side by side. They could almost switch desks: Many of the CMO’s I have placed spend just as large a percentage of their budget on IT as the CTO.
Those adjoining offices presented the perfect metaphor for the growing partnership between two executives who in past years were often found on different floors. But this is 2018; both face new realities. We all know how the digital revolution has turned the tables on marketing as consumers engage with brands through a dizzying number of channels and platforms, and now call the shots. IT leaders, meanwhile, find themselves concerned about much more than just internal technical infrastructure. Every once in a rare while I even see a resume that has the formal title “Marketing Technology” somewhere on it. It’s definitely not a title I recommend for the org chart but it’s a great keyword, essentially stating, “I know how to access and use the data needed to formulate actionable strategies.” Good stuff.
The convergence of marketing technology is growing. As technology continues to fuel the inner workings of every marketing operation, my digital marketing candidates must have a firm grasp of technology just to even be considered by my clients. To be clear, most of the digital marketers and ecommerce leaders I place are not skilled programmers or engineers. But what they do offer are strong ideation skills around the creative use of technology. Marketers must also be able to handle the sometimes more technical aspects of dealing with external agencies and service providers.
In my marketing technology recruiter practice I’m also seeing more candidates with predominately technical backgrounds make the transition into marketing, almost unheard of 20 years ago when those two offices I described above were often, and very literally, in different buildings. Each ruled their own fiefdom. But operating by silo is not a successful strategy in the digital age. As those lines of communication opened up, a funny thing happened: Techies acquired business acumen and sharper communication skills, and some of the most innovative, creative and collaborative of the bunch went on to run marketing departments, operating divisions and entire companies.
The convergence of marketing technology has radically redefined the business landscape. Look no further than the Chief Marketing Officer and the Chief Technical Officer if you want to know which two leaders are going to have the greatest influence on business in the future.
What do the best “marketing technologists” bring to an organization? A lot. This presentation I gave at the “All About Marketing Tech” conference sponsored by NAPCO provides a comprehensive look at the skills and attributes that define the best and the brightest.
What does this convergence of marketing technology mean for your career?
Remember my Two Commandments as a marketing technology recruiter:
“If you’re a marketer, know thy technology”
“If you’re a technologist, know thy marketing”
There’s something you can take to the bank.
CRM vs Marketing Automation
I’d to clear the air on one topic that seems to confuse some candidates: The difference between marketing automation and CRM. How DO they differ, and how can they work together? A CRM system gives a business a complete view of their leads, prospects and customers. On the org chart, CRM is often found in the sales department while marketing automation falls under, what else, marketing. The two tools work in tandem. Marketing automation is used to manage campaigns, create assets such as landing pages and emails, and manage the programs those leads create. When these two tools are used together, they produce three very powerful outcomes:
1- Visibility. The CRM system is a database where sales inputs data such as calls, emails and meetings. The marketing automation platform adds to that the individual interactions from the prospects, like which content did the prospect look at or which enail did they open. This visibility gives sales the visibility they need on who to talk to, and what about.
2- Automation. Marketing automation tools allow businesses to create truly personal customer journeys. The tools know exactly what to send, to whom, and when. Once the leads have been passed over to sales, the connection between the two tools remains strong. Marketers can create other automated programs that sales can deploy directly from the CRM system.
3- Reporting. With the tools now integrated, marketing can now track each lead, know when it closes, and even how much revenue it generated. This allows marketing to show their direct contribution to the bottom line.
So, together CRM and marketing automation are able to generate more leads, close them faster and improve the value of those efforts.
As a marketing technology recruiter, I read resumes all day long from marketers who have strong technology know-how. But many fail to communicate that adequately. So, how do you make sure your resume resonates that you are fully at home in marketing automation to help an employer create competitive advantage when you apply for marketing technology jobs?
Questions to yourself to ensure your resume is “MarTech” ready:
-Have I integrated customer-focused journeys with the “tools of the trade.”?
-Have I been able to translate fluently between the technical and non-technical parts of my organization (s)?
-Can I describe the bottom line impact of a campaign (s) I put together from a technology solution that I helped select and/or implement.
-Have I been called upon to explain this stuff to senior management, help them understand the importance of MarTech’s influence on the business, and gained their support?
-At the executive level (VP or higher), have I served as the “glue” aligning goals and support from IT and the broader marketing team?
-Am I hands-on with the technology, when required?
-Do I have zero complacency?
-Can I talk about my ability to learn new tools? (Having experience with a particular tool is less important than showing that you can learn the tools you possess).
-Can I show how I have leveraged technology to improve marketing processes?
-Can I show accomplishments that draw a big fat connection between what I did and how it grew the business?
-Have I evaluated and selected technology providers?
If you cover these points on your resume for marketing technology jobs, I think you will find that you’ll be sending a crystal clear message to whoever reads it, including this marketing technology recruiter, that you’ll be able to help them realize the full ROI potential of their marketing stack.
THAT is what I call a strong “marketing technologist”!
For employers who are looking for ways to spot these marketing/technology “hybrids”, check out this presentation I gave on how to find and recruit top MarTech talent as part of the “All About Marketing Tech Conference, ” sponsored by NAPCO.
Building on your Marketing Technology Knowledge
Recently a Director-level digital marketing candidate I’ve been working with wanted to know if she should take classes to bring her marketing automation skills up to speed before she begins a serious job search.
Her question went something like this:
“Should I take classes to become a power user of specific marketing automation tools such as Marketo or Eloqua to sharpen my marketing automation skills to help improve my chances of landing a digital marketing job?
Good question. I think of all of us would agree that any marketer who wants to get ahead should know the basics of marketing automation, which as we all well know has been growing at an astonishing rate. But should you spend time and money becoming a hands-on ninja in a specific marketing automation tool, with which you’ve had no previous experience, to get a possible leg up in an interview?
My advice as a marketing technology recruiter: I wouldn’t rush into it.
Let me explain.
While I’m a huge advocate of continued learning and even look for it on resumes, digital marketing and ecommerce technology is moving quicker than a Ken Giles fastball. Whatever software version you learn today could be outdated technology in a few months because of new releases and updates. And when you consider the dizzying number of technology solutions that are out there, you’d be trying to chase a horse that just keeps on galloping faster. This snapshot below of a graphic by chiefmartec.com shows the sheer number of products that are out there, and this is only the top 5,000!
Is your head spinning yet?
Here are some other factors to consider:
-Even if you did take the time and spend the money to get proficient with a particular software tool- and let’s say it even helped you land a job- there’s no guarantee your new employer will stick with it. Priorities change, needs change, agencies change, applications change. The best platform for a company’s marketing needs today could be inadequate six months from now. Your marketing automation skills could become unneeded.
-All the software learning programs in the world won’t help if an employer really wants someone who has day-to-day, in the trenches, hands-on experience with a particular tool. You either have that specific expertise, or you don’t. If you don’t, but you still get hired, you can learn it, quickly. Chances are, you’ve had to learn plenty of other things on the job and on the fly. In digital marketing and ecommerce, it comes with the territory. You wouldn’t have made it to Director if you weren’t a good learner.
-Some of these tools are monstrously complex. Learning about them is one thing, but actually pulling the levers and pushing the buttons is another. Like anything else that requires practice to get good, if you don’t use it, you lose it.
Bottom line: A certificate program or other learning that covers the fundamental topics of digital marketing or marketing automation skills will probably do you much more good than studying in-depth tutorials on the latest release of a specific marketing automation platform. Marketo and Hubspot, for example, offer entire libraries of free training videos, definitely good enough for interview purposes if you haven’t used those tools in the past. You can also check out my own directory of learning resources. If a hiring manager starts asking you to explain Eloqua’s contact database architecture, be glad he or she did because they’ve just handed you a red flag. At the Director or VP-level, they should be focusing more on cultural fit, how well you can think strategically, manage P and L, exert influence at higher levels, and how well you direct and motivate others who work with these tools at ground level on a daily basi, instead of your in-the-trenches marketing automation skills
Take it from a marketing technology recruiter: These are the elements that truly will determine your success.