Digital marketing managers—like any digital-focused role—are in hot demand these days. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of marketing manager roles will increase 13% between 2012 and 2022. With social media and mobile search playing such a huge part in how consumers both discover and engage with brands, it’s no wonder that employers are adding more positions to account for the new ways consumers shop and stay in touch.
Digital marketers are in interesting breed (myself included). In many environments, they’re in charge of a plethora of functions or departments, all while being expected to remain an expert on the constantly-changing digital landscape.
If you’re in the market to hire a digital marketing manager, what should you look for? Here’s what would be on my list:
This one’s first on my list for a reason: if someone isn’t naturally curious and doesn’t have the internal drive to always be learning, it’ll be nearly impossible for them (and your brand) to succeed. Why? The digital landscape is changing by the day. If someone doesn’t have the tenacity to stay on top of all of the changes, they can’t push your brand forward.
This might be a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how many brands are hiring folks straight out of college to manage all of their digital work. When you look at the job descriptions, there’s such an emphasis put on social media. Posting routine updates to a brand’s social media account is only a drip in the pool when it comes to social media, let alone digital marketing.
If you don’t have the budget to hire a more senior-level marketer, look for people who might be more of a Jack of All Trades, who’ve flexed a wide variety of their digital muscles, and who can back up what they say with quantitative data, case studies, or key learnings. People coming straight out of college might be experts at crafting great social posts, but there’s no substitute for people with experience—those who know what works, what doesn’t, and why.
Even if your digital marketer doesn’t double as the brand manager or strategist, s/he should understand the foundational principles of brand strategy. HubSpot says some of these components include purpose, consistency, emotion, flexibility, and loyalty. Any marketer—digital or traditional—should be able to critique a campaign based on what the overall brand stands for and what it’s ultimately trying to achieve or convey. Depending on the size of the organization, I’m an advocate for having the digital marketing lead involved in the heavy brand planning sessions.
Your digital department is bound to grow. Chances are, the first (or next person) you hire to manage your digital marketing will manage people at your organization at some point. Even if the person hasn’t had true people management experience, look for someone who’s had the chance to lead cross-department teams, lead or manage projects, or did something that shows s/he has had to lead a group of people in some way. Great leaders can be taught to be great managers with the proper training, but great managers can’t necessarily be taught to be great leaders.
This should be a prerequisite for anyone applying for any position, regardless of his/her title or seniority. In digital marketing, it’s especially important. Since there are probably plenty of people in your organization who don’t “get that social media stuff” (see my last quality below), it’s important to hire people who can clearly communicate their ideas and why they’re important.
It’s also an important attribute because digital people tend to work with a lot of different people and departments—PR, finance/procurement, agencies, the C-suite, etc. If they can’t tailor their message to fit their ever-changing audiences and make it relevant to each one, it’s going to be hard for them—and you—to get much done.
No problem saying no
This is one of the most important on the list. Your digital marketer needs to be really good at telling people no in a diplomatic way. There are going to countless people who have SOS (shiny object syndrome), who want photos from the company potluck posted to Facebook, and those who are always asking for their update to be on the homepage of the website. A good marketer will be able to take feedback with a grain of salt, politely explain why something isn’t going to work, or, when the situation is appropriate, cut straight to the chase and say no. Not everything can happen (nor should it). Your digital marketer’s job isn’t to please everyone.
And last but not least, I’d look for someone who is a great educator. Why? Because, again, digital is always changing. Just like someone years ago had to sell Facebook and Twitter as a new strategy to someone higher up, there’s going to be another new product, channel, way of advertising, etc. that will be available tomorrow. A great digital marketer will be able to understand which new thing is right for your brand, and will also be able to educate stakeholders on why they need resources for it.
If your organization wants to create advocates out of its employees, a great digital marketer will be able to help you out there—which might include showing folks how to share the company’s Facebook post, how to tag you in photos, or the key messaging you want employees to understand and share with others.
Did I convince you? Have more questions? Want to debate one of my points? I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can find me on Twitter.