Marketers Need To Have A Good Mix Of Empathy, Flexibility And Frugality


Amid the economic uncertainty, there have been a lot of belt-tightenings, and companies are rethinking their approach to finding and using marketing talent in a highly evolving digital landscape.

The concept of “liquid teams,” where you can pull together resources on-demand to solve problems, and uplevel your marketing function without breaking the bank exists with technology at its core. It will likely trickle into industries as remote and hybrid work expands, says Scott Jones, VP of Product for MarketerHire, the talent marketplace connecting vetted marketing experts with brands and agencies.

Asked about brands facing difficulty finding marketers with the right skills for their business, Jones says, “It can be very challenging to find the desired unicorn set of skills and experiences that a marketing team requires to fill within this current workforce.”

Excerpts from the interview:

What marketing resource is the scarcest? Money, bandwidth, or knowledge?

Fascinating question –– this is an endless debate. I could argue that knowledge can be the scarcest upfront, and the tradeoff between money and bandwidth is required to unlock knowledge. For example, how quickly/cheaply can you test a hypothesis – like variations of channels, targeting, messaging – such that you can see how your hypothesis plays out. Additionally, how much bandwidth do you have to test multiple hypotheses/opportunities concurrently? My take would be that it’s ultimately a resource allocation between money and bandwidth to unlock knowledge.

Are companies rethinking their approach to finding and using marketing talent in a highly evolving digital landscape?

The word is getting out that the old empirical model – 90 days hiring, if you like someone, they might stick around 18 months, if it’s not a fit it’s 90 days to manage them out; not to mention that whole time you’re paying fully loaded costs (insurance/benefits, tools/subscriptions) – is stale. There’s been a perfect blend of ingredients over the past several years that have unlocked this new era: better online collaboration tools, better internet service and access, a once-in-100-years global pandemic as a forcing function to normalize remote work, and a forcing function to wake many workers up to the fact that they don’t necessarily want to ride out 9-to-5’s that don’t fuel their passion.

So the premise – and specifically the approach of MarketerHire – is extremely compelling in this environment, as organizations expand their horizons with regard to the hiring and team-building process. Tell us about your company (stage, industry, objectives), and we’ll help you identify the right marketing role(s) for your current situation and requirements and introduce you to vetted, talented, top-tier marketers in as little as 48 hours. If you like them, give them as much work as you like (and as your budget allows). If you love them, buy them out.

This concept of “liquid teams” – where you can pull together resources on-demand to solve problems and uplevel your marketing function without breaking the bank – exists with technology at its core and will likely trickle into industries as remote and hybrid work expand.

Is empathy the most important skill for marketers? Or is it flexible and frugal marketers helping companies survive and flourish.

Empathy strikes me as being important. But flexibility and frugality also resonate in the current climate of stressed consumers, businesses with tightened purse strings, and so on. It’s going to be increasingly challenging to compete for marginal dollars in both B2B and B2C constructs, so the mix of skills to lean on for success would include what you’ve described but also creativity and a tester’s mindset.

There is no guidebook we can take off the shelf to say how to ace marketing immediately after a global pandemic and shortly before what is predicted to be a monster recession. It’s a mix of having all these traits – you can be empathetic while still being flexible and frugal. We are constantly trying to plan while working within the current marketing trends.

Are brands facing difficulty finding marketers and CX talents with the right level of skills for their business?

In the traditional full-time hiring model, I described earlier, finding the desired unicorn set of skills and experiences that a marketing team requires to fill this current workforce can be very challenging. This is one of the reasons that MarketerHire is so compelling; we have a deep bullpen of marketing experts with a host of those skills and experiences – that tie to a wide variety of needs and are much easier and faster to source than when seeking a full-time employee through traditional means.

Is MarketerHire actively feeding into AI while hiring marketers?

We are currently leaning into AI in the context of matching freelancer marketers to our customers. It is on my mind to bring AI into the sourcing of our marketers as well, but we haven’t gotten there –– yet.

What’s the best way to adjust B2B marketing strategy in the current uncertain state of the economy?

Marketing strategy in this state, whether B2B or B2C, shouldn’t be slow-moving. The marketing strategy shouldn’t be a single tactic – like how we talked about a liquid workforce above. We should consider marketing strategies to be elastic –– being able to contract, grow, and change. Technology is changing; vendors are changing; our marketing strategies and tactics must constantly absorb those changes. If an organization has a test and adjusts ways of working, it helps.

Do you see more and more SMBs creating freelance marketing teams to achieve growth quickly and easily?

I see the trend, for sure. I don’t think the news of the democratization of on-demand marketing resources through platforms like MarketerHire has reached the masses of SMBs. But when that happens, it should be a huge game-changer in how they operate.

I have a friend leading a nascent social-impact tech company in its very early stages (a handful of employees). When I told him about MarketerHire, he was amazed at the possibilities to uplevel their marketing strategy and execution without spending enormous money. That story will be pervasive.

Is low/no-code a must for digital marketers?

Low/no-code is mind-blowing in democratizing technical skills to non-technical people. It’s truly the future of entrepreneurism and startup, and it’s been exciting to see it spread in popularity.

Low/no code is a game-changer and a must for all types of roles and functions and companies because it fundamentally allows for achieving technical outcomes that previously required teams of engineers with much greater speed and much lower cost. The use cases of low/no code for digital marketing are vast – simplifying workflows, building web applications to test/validate ideas before scaling up with formal tech implementation, running CRO on a website, data collection from customers and prospects, creating and implementing referral programs, and more.

There’s a ton of value to be unlocked and yet to be discovered, so I would counsel digital marketers to check out low/no-code tools.

Are there any marketing technology trends you are keeping an eye on?

I spent about five years driving innovation in adtech and martech and got to watch the evolution of viable channels to reach customers from desktop in-browser display ads to mobile in-browser display ads, to mobile in-app display ads, to video ads, ultimately leading to targeted ads in internet radio and smart TVs. I was also on the front lines of geospatial analytics, knowing where targeted market cohorts are for backward-looking measurement and real-time optimization to drive campaigns.

That was all exciting, like how foot traffic measurement allowed me to tell the ROI story of a mobile ad buy by virtue of a test-and-control study showing the increased probability of the group impressed by the ad being observed at the hyperlocal business location where the ad was driving them. But what’s exciting to me is the convergence of many of these forces. My mind is regularly blown when I am served targeted ads on my smart TV that allow me to buy a product directly from the ad using my remote control. Marketers can target folks wherever they are and drive them to conversion at that time and place.

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