On Talent, Hiring Strategy, and Building A Next-Gen Marketing Organization

On Talent, Hiring Strategy, and Building A Next-Gen Marketing Organization

If you know me, you know how passionate I’ve become about the talent and recruitment side of our industry. When I speak to marketers in our community, it’s a topic that comes up frequently, at this point, possibly more often than the events we produce.

So when I sat down with a group of our speakers and industry leaders backstage during Brand Innovators Vegas earlier this year, as we debuted our Backstage Video Interview series (sort of soft launch for an upcoming show: On Brand with David Teicher (#ShamelessPlugAlert), it’s something that came up in conversation almost immediately.

What was most interesting to me is how today’s responses contrasted with those I would get when I would ask about hiring strategy, even just a few years back. Only a short while ago, a majority of the answers boiled down to subject matter expertise. Specialists, if you will. People who could come in and OWN a discipline, build out the function and all its best practices.

We saw this across the organization: Leaders with focused expertise in areas like social media, influencer marketing, data and identity, programmatic buying, etc., were sought out and brought in to build these new capabilities. And that all makes sense.

But what’s become clear to me is that, while they are still needed, the pendulum has very much begun to swing the other way, if it hasn’t already.

As CMOs and other senior brand leaders are building out their teams, it’s evident (see video below), that they are increasingly looking for talent who can operate cross-functionally and for those who can understand and speak multiple marketing languages. There’s an increasing demand for generalists who can develop ad hoc expertise, but at the same time, be nimble, willing to build upon and broaden expertise, shifting and learning as the organization requires of them.

It’s perhaps an evolution of the prototypical “T-Shaped Thinker,” popularized by IDEO.

Those who live and work at the  intersection of marketing, advertising, consumer behavior, media, and technology understand how this world changes so rapidly, and that expertise today doesn’t entail expertise tomorrow. This is why almost every leader I spoke to emphasized one trait above all: Curiosity. 

In other words: Always. Be. Learning.

If you’re interested in learning more about the topic and hearing from CMO’s and senior brand marketers about their hiring philosophies and approach to talent, keep an eye out for our upcoming series, “On Brand with David Teicher.” 

Marketers: What do you look for when hiring and building your team? Tweet me your thoughts @Aerocles and I’ll try to include some in the next video.