During the course of any given week I read dozens of job descriptions for digital marketing and ecommerce leaders. For the most part they’re very well-written, drafted by owners and other stakeholders who’ve become pretty savvy when it comes to online marketing. In fact, many of them who contact my office are actually doing part or all of the job themselves, some very successfully. If they weren’t busy launching and managing companies, I think many of them would be running digital marketing and ecommerce teams for someone else.
Ecommerce job descriptions are great for initial screening of applicants but that’s where their usefulness ends, particularly in situations where organizations are facing serious digital disruption. To me, job descriptions in this field are kind of like coarse sandpaper: It represents only the the initial pass, with more refinement required down the line. And when it comes to digital disruption, job descriptions don’t always talk about the specific skills you should be looking for to keep your business competitive. What ARE those specific skills? Want makes a good digital disruption “buster”?
After interviewing thousands of ecommerce experts and placing hundreds of others, here are some of the attributes that characterize digital disruption busters who are poised to help minimize an organization’s ecommerce vulnerabilities, and maximize their opportunities:
1. They make the purchase process very user friendly. Pretty straightforward, but if you don’t give this top priority, one of your competitors will.
2. They’re masters of targeting- all forms of it. I talk about this one a lot. Big data analytics allows brands to send communications that are highly relevant and personalized, and these candidate are experts at it.
3. They look for ways to add a service to your product.
4. They understand why social media should be an important part of your value proposition. They use it to convert customers, improve customer loyalty and grow brand recognition.
5. They know how to turbo-charge outdated website search and filtering features, which will boost conversion rates.
6. They understand that being a digital disruption buster means greater speed, and that includes offering a real-time exchange of information.
7. They know the importance of greater transparency. If you’re not being open, direct, and honest with your customers, these candidates will make sure you are.
8. They know supply chain. They know how to make it more efficient and where to smooth out the speed bumps.
9. They can introduce a new way of thinking to organizations that lack a digital mind-set. If you’re a business can’t think and act like a digital marketing organization, you won’t be one.
10. They know exactly where your digital marketing budget should be invested to provide high quality, relevant customer experiences.
I don’t know any business that doesn’t want a piece of the digital pie, but just because they have some cutting-edge technology in place doesn’t mean they’re going to be a serious player. Are you a business that’s under threat of digital disruption? Hire a digital disruption killer.
They’ll help you become a TRUE digital business.
It All Starts With The Job Description
It’s a rare hiring manager who doesn’t tell me that he or she wants the best and the brightest candidate for their open positions. Of course. No one wants to settle for second banana. Problem is, a traditional digital marketing position description with its shopping list of required qualifications and specific platform “must haves” can actually work against you. Case in point: A recent conversation I had with a forward thinking client who said something I usually don’t hear. “Don’t worry about a candidate checking all the checkboxes on the job description,” she explained. “That was written by HR. Instead, go find me the best athlete who wants to win the world series, and we’ll deploy them where they’ll have the biggest impact on the business.”
The idea of an MLB draft-like interviewing process is very appealing. My best candidates don’t always fit into cookie-cutter type molds. Round pegs in round holes? Hardly. Many are multi-dimensional. When you think about it, identifying good talent in digital marketing is kind of like trying to look in the window of a speeding car. Specific skills are quickly outpaced by the speed of change. Markets change, technologies emerge and strategies must quickly shift. It helps that the particular employer I just referenced administers an online test to measure cognitive ability, a key characteristic of high achievers. Many experts will tell you that learning new skills is the key to success in digital marketing and ecommerce, and believe me, I can share from my personal experience that “A” players are constantly striving to stretch themselves. Put another way, they’ll figure what to do when you don’t know what to do. You’re not going to find that on a digital marketing job description, but between the lines, believe me, it’s there. I hear it all of the time.
Here’s the bottom line: If you’re an employer, look for the best digital athlete and not just the best applicant who fits the requirements. A digital marketing job description that declares you “must have” this and you “must have” that will get you just that: Everything you MUST have right now. Problem is, what you must have today could be outdated in six months. Try inserting something like this:
Candidates who have a strong passion for solving problems and a hunger to learn and blaze new trails will thrive in our environment.
Now THAT sounds like a cool gig.