If you’re a hiring manager, you may not realize it but you’re staring a rare opportunity in the face. Believe me, after being in the digital marketing executive search business for more than 2o years and surviving multiple recessions, a dot-com bust, market meltdowns, you name it, I recognize a good window of opportunity for landing hard-to-find talent when I see it. And I’m here to tell you that I’m seeing it now, a chance to scoop up some brightest bulbs in the drawer that the specialties of ecommerce and digital marketing have to offer. In short, this is great time for digital marketing executive search.
In recent months, I’ve noticed a significant uptick in unsolicited, confidential inquires from would-be candidates. You know, the ones who are not actively looking to jump ship. They’re contacting me because they’re considering their options– not just in their careers but also in their stock- that is, the stock options they were granted when they took the job. When competition for digital and multichannel marketers began to heat up in the aftermath of the Great Recession, many top athletes were lured with equity. Fast forward 10 years: Many of those businesses are now facing stagnant revenue growth, compressed operating margins, and in some cases, declining valuations. If, as an employer, you can tell a very compelling story that speaks to the agenda of the marketer you’re targeting, you might just find yourself with a very receptive prospect.
To be clear, this open window for digital marketing recruiting is but a crack compared with the gaping hole blown out during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis last year when marketers were losing their jobs by the tens of thousands. But a crack is a crack, and in fact, I’ll contend that many of the best hires occur at this particular stage of the business cycle- not too cold, not too hold. Candidates, for the most part, are currently employed, so they’re going to be extra careful before they exchange something they know for something unproven. Employers, for their part, are equally as selective since their open reqs for digital marketing recruiting are coming along more sparingly and often require added approvals in the absence of a booming economy.
Does this mean you should rush out and quickly hire the best person you can find for that hard to fill position? Absolutely not. The days of putting bodies in seats for the sake of putting bodies in seats have vanished along with the flip phone. Does it mean this is a good time to dip your toe into the water and have exploratory conversations, on the chance that perhaps you might just find that special person who you think could potentially make a significant difference in your business? Absolutely. And take my word for it: They’re out there, and with the right message, many will listen.
So, put your digital marketing executive search into high gear!
For candidates, meanwhile, the future is bright.
Digital commerce is at the vortex of marketing change. It’s cutting edge. It’s exciting. It’s effective. Regardless of the position an employee is in, digital marketing offers daily opportunities to learn and try new things. As a digital marketing recruiter I learn new things every day. The digital marketing future is bright. Several factors make digital marketing an attractive career choice:
Digital Marketing is Constantly Changing
Digital marketing is the antithesis of many professions in which people go to school and end up performing basically the same job throughout their career. Ask digital marketers what they like best about the field, and most will mention using leading-edge technologies to help solve business challenges. Transformative innovations like the telephone, the television, and the jet engine usually evolve slowly over time. Not so marketing technology, which “self-accelerates” – new technology is immediately put to use to beget newer innovations. Digital marketers are constantly looking to use newly developed features to create new opportunities. That’s the digital marketing future!
Digital Marketing Skills are Valuable to Many Industries
One of digital marketing’s great attractions is that it is used by companies to sell products and services in virtually every industry, so the career potential is huge. No matter what the category – consumer goods, banking, manufacturing, insurance, technology, hospitality, advocacy, fundraising, or any other – marketers embrace digital efforts because of their immediacy, relevance, personalization, and, above all else, effectiveness.
The Digital Marketing Field is Open to Anyone
Regardless of your background, there are no barriers to entry. Bernhart Associates Executive Search has recruited and placed digital marketing candidates with every kind of educational, professional, and cultural background imaginable. As a veteran digital marketing recruiter, I have placed attorneys, former police officers, and even a retired professional baseball player into digital marketing-related positions. New ecommerce websites, started by entrepreneurs with nothing more than a few bucks and a dream, are popping up every day. Digital marketing also knows no age limits. One marketer I know could have retired 20 years ago. Instead, he’s currently working as a senior strategist with a digital marketing solutions provider at the age of 77! When I asked him why he took the job instead of retiring like most people his age, his answer was inspiring: “I enjoy learning new things, and I can’t think of a better field to be in that keeps my mind sharp and my creative juices flowing. I feel like my work as a digital marketer truly makes a difference in the world.” Amen. Music to the ears of this digital marketing recruiter.
Digital Marketing Future Careers Offer a Variety of Opportunities
There aren’t too many digital marketers who have felt stuck in one job, for one company, for a long time. One day a marketer might be launching a podcasting or video stream project, and the next day he or she might be using augmented reality or geotargeting. A digital marketer might work on the agency side and participate in an ever-changing roster of client projects and campaigns, or he or she might become a product specialist and develop a deep appreciation and knowledge of different markets on the client side. The work is varied, and there’s constant opportunity to learn. Furthermore, because digital marketing is so measurable and immediate, it’s a closed loop system: Digital marketing allows new ideas to be quickly tested and validated. How cool is that?
Digital Marketing Offers Relative Stability
What happens in digital marketing, stays in digital marketing. Most of the people I know who have gotten into field are still in it many years later. While job satisfaction can certainly vary depending upon one’s employment situation, I have found as a digital marketing recruiter that digital marketers share a relatively high “happiness quotient” when it comes to their day-to-day work. And while the digital marketing future is certainly not recession proof, I have seen firsthand that it’s a relatively safe harbor when the economic seas get rough. Some of Bernhart Associates Executive Search’s best years occurred during the Great Recession of 2008-2009, when we focused on placing digital marketers with industry sectors that were best able to withstand the slowdown, such as online retail, energy, security, and healthcare. Even when overall economic growth was stalling and the U.S. unemployment rate was rising, those industries continued hiring digital marketing talent.
Digital Marketing Careers Let You Work Where You Are – or Where You Want to Be
I have found in digital marketing executive search that digital marketing is universal. While many of the largest and best-known digital marketers are located in and around major metropolitan areas, chances are there’s a company engaging in digital marketing within commuting distance of your home. Additionally, because digital marketing is an online-intensive field, it offers more telecommuting opportunities than other industries which require a regular in-office presence. Digital jobs such as programming and coding don’t need as much face-to-face time with other departments compared with more traditional marketing-related roles. The field is flexible enough to allow candidates a certain amount of latitude in negotiating these types of jobs. I once placed a Vice President of Ecommerce who managed a 15 person staff, and not one of them lived in the same state!
Digital Marketing Offers Opportunities to Candidates from a Variety of Backgrounds
Whether candidates work in design, marketing, analytics, merchandising, or programming, digital marketing offers many different ways to get a foot in the door. A lot of companies, particularly the largest digital agencies, offer internship programs, and many of them send human resources representatives to major job fairs throughout the country to look for entry level talent.
Digital Marketing Offers International Opportunities
Digital marketing opportunities are not just limited to the United States. Many of the corporate clients Bernhart Associates Executive Search works with do business internationally. In some cases, companies service a major piece of their business through remote offices on other continents. For a candidate with an interest in international business, working with a multinational online marketing organization can offer valuable exposure to how digital marketing is conducted in other countries – and potential opportunities to work in those overseas markets.
Even Business-to-Business Firms Need Digital Marketing-Savvy Professionals
It’s not just consumers who buy what digital marketers have to offer. Many companies also rely on digital marketing to sell supplies and equipment directly to other businesses. Business-to-business (B2B) direct marketing calls for a different approach, which requires different skills. Selling a product to a consumer is typically a simpler, quicker process than selling a piece of equipment or an enterprise software solution to a business: Within an organization, the purchase decision is often based on a relationship-driven, multiple step buying process involving numerous decision makers. The digital marketing future opens up a whole other world of opportunities in B2B, particularly for those skilled in lead generation and contact nurturing