How to Hire Marketing Staff


By Robert Tuomi

(WINDSOR, ON) – One of the quandaries of small business owners is how to find a marketing person with the appropriate skills in today’s digital age.

In the National Post’s April 17 edition head-hunter Mandy Gilbert calculated that the hiring of, “a marketing professional with any experience costs money, yet can mean the difference between bottom-line success or thousands of dollars (or more) wasted on ineffective initiatives. When your marketing department consists of just one or two people, hiring the wrong people can prove catastrophic.”

Today small businesses, and all businesses for that matter, can’t afford to make the critical mistake of hiring a person who proves unable to help build sales. In the small business environment, finding the right person is much more complicated. Larger companies have somewhat of a luxury because with their size they can employ staff for specific functions. Smaller companies often face the daunting prospect of having only enough budget to hire a single person to “fill a crucial position that often entails wearing multiple hats and doing the job of several people on a given day.”

Too often those available for such diverse positions do not have the width or depth of experience to perform productively. It doesn’t have to be this way. As Gilbert points out, “many chief executives, for example, decide they need a full-time marketing specialist when a part-time hire – or even contracting duties to a third party firm – might make better financial sense. Other times they fail to realize that marketers tend to have drastically different talents, and finding a generalist who’s great at everything is almost impossible.”

You might wonder why finding the right person is so hard. It rests largely with the Four P’s of marketing; product, place, price, and promotion. As shocking as this might sound, it even can be challenging attracting someone with experience in just one of the quartet at a pay level that a small business is able to afford.

The simple reason for this is the limited exposure those working in large companies have to all of marketing. The majority of staff are rarely involved in decision making and thus don’t have the exposure that small companies often desperately need.

All the while there is an ever growing number of subsets which continue to change as new technologies appear. In promotion alone, there have been seismic changes in modus operandi which has caused one of Canada’s largest independent advertising and marketing firms to pioneer new techniques. Toronto-based Cundari has announced a plan to “build-out of a stand-alone media offering to be spearheaded by new V.P. Managing Director, Media, Luke Moore.”

Media departments in traditional advertising/marketing agencies are charged with spending their client’s money wisely. At one time, eighty or so years ago, this was limited to selecting the best newspaper to reach a target market. Then came radio, billboards, television, cable and the Internet which has complicated the work of even the most classically trained media experts. Says Cundari founder, Aldo Cundari, recent, “changes in the media landscape necessitate a different kind of media agency, where conventional planning and buying are completely re-engineered to address the required diversity and transparency of today’s media marketplace.The vision for this innovative media agency includes a fully automated client solution unlike anything we’ve seen in the North American marketplace.”

Although announced with considerable fanfare, much of the work of Moore will be based on tried and true marketing concepts, only the names have changed, as he tries to capitalize on the new ways to reach customers. Effective selection often means relying on well-rounded media skills combined with marketing practitioners who understand the nuances.

With all this change, it has become, as Gilbert says, incredibly hard to find good marketing people. The danger is that small business owners who need help may place too much of an emphasis on the new digital skills causing them to favour a master of digital technologies. But people with good social media technical skills are often missing the basics.

To get around this, companies on the lookout for staff need to have a very clear idea of what needs to be accomplished and what skills their marketer must have to generate the desired results.

If you have a question about marketing, you’ve come to the right place. Let us know and we’ll give you an answer to help your business.

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata
Ian Shalapata
Ian Shalapata is the owner and publisher of Square Media Group. He covers politics, the police beat, community events, the arts, sports, and everything in between. His imagery and freelance contributions have appeared in select publications and for organizations in Canada and the United States. Contact Ian with story ideas.