Last Updated: Jan 24, 2019

What’s the hardest position fill in any business?

Most companies today struggle to find a good marketing manager!

It’s not uncommon to find companies who’ve gone through the process of hiring an employee –or several, or perhaps have even gone through multiple agencies –with no success. None of the experts seem to work very well, and they just don’t produce the results that they’re looking for.

Part of this frustration, I believe, also stems from a lack of clarity on the role of a marketing expert. While business owners and startup founders tend to make great operators or creators, marketing is a skill that doesn’t always come naturally. Often, it’s a chore –something that needs to be done, but an area that many don’t have much experience or interest in.

This, of course, is unfortunate –since it means that all-too-often, we have unrealistic expectations when it comes to hiring or outsourcing the job. We want someone to do it all –a silver bullet to save the day and take on all the work for us –but is that something that’s really achievable?

In this article, we’ll attempt to set the record straight. We’ll dispel some myths, and take a look at how you can go about sourcing an expert –someone who’s right for your needs.

Marketing Experts: Setting the Record Straight

First things first, it’s important to ensure that you go into the hiring process with realistic expectations.

While it’s easy to glamorize the idea of hiring a marketing expert, and feel that hiring such an expert for your company in-house will be the answer to all your woes, it’s important to keep in mind that this isn’t always as straightforward as it sounds.

The truth is you have a better chance of finding a unicorn for your company.

Keep in mind that realistically anyone –or any one company, who says they can do it all is often (not always) a warning sign. Generally, when it comes to marketing experts, it’s tremendously tough to find someone who’s REALLY good at everything. Most experts are decent at many aspects of marketing, but not great at everything. Usually they’re skilled in a few key areas.

When it comes to agencies, it’s a similar situation. Any company that says they’re good at everything, is usually decent at multiple aspects of marketing, but is unlikely to be an expert in all of them.

Of course, there are exceptions to this –a boutique marketing agency, for example, may be able to source from different experts, providing you with a high level of marketing service. And then there is always that one-in-a-hundred chance that you’ll find a great marketer, who’s an expert in most aspects of marketing. But it’s important to note that the downside to these experts –and the agencies, is that you’ll usually incur a much, much higher cost. So it’s important to ensure that you really need this in-depth level of marketing experience from ONE individual or agency, before you invest heavily in it.

Different Types of Marketing Experts:
Which One is Right for You?

While hiring one individual or agency may be the best option for some companies, for most businesses, there may be a better way: picking and choosing from an array of specialists to complete your team.

Expecting one person –or agency, to be an expert at everything is a tremendously lofty aspiration. Instead, a far more feasible –and usually far more cost-effective goal would be to look to hire a few people who, together, have the skills that you need to round out your team.

Now, let’s take a look at the different types of marketing experts that you can choose from:

  • The 30,000-Foot Strategist

First up, you have the strategists –who operate from the 30,000-foot level. These experts are able to look at your marketing as a whole, and map out an entire game plan for you. They’ll be able to inform you of the direction that you’ll want to go to get the most from your marketing efforts. However, generally, they will not do the implementation –instead, operating in a consulting/advisory role.

  • The 15,000-Foot Conceptualizer

Next, you have the 15,000-foot conceptualizer, who understands how to design the campaigns, and build out the funnels. This expert is more hands-on than the consultant and able to deal with the more practical aspects of marketing and implementation, using tactics that they’re familiar with to generate good results.

  • The 5,000-Foot Implementer

Finally, we have the 5,000-foot implementer. This marketer is usually good at implementing strategies on specific platforms, such as Facebook Ads, for example, or email marketing, but they won’t be able to do everything –for example, creating the sales copy on the page with the ads and the emails, and making sure that everything is running congruently.

When it comes to hiring a marketing expert who’s a great fit for your company, you’ll want to start by determining which level of expertise you’re looking for. Do you need a high-level consultant –who will be able to help you to create a game plan, or should you instead look for an implementer who’s skilled in the platform that you’re thinking of working with?

While we’d all love to hire that one expert –someone who’s knowledgeable on every aspect of digital marketing, and able to implement the strategies on a case-by-case basis as well, the truth is that for most of us, that’s just not feasible.

The reason it’s so hard for most companies to find a rock star marketer who’s interested in working as an employee, is because if someone is really that good –then chances are, they will be running their own company, and not interested in working for someone else. Granted, there are exceptions to this, and some real diamonds out there, but this is tremendously rare.

Instead, for most businesses, a better strategy may be to look for a strategist who maps everything out, and then seek out implementers to execute the plans. As your company grows, you may want to consider looking for a conceptualizer as well –someone who will be able to facilitate everything, and ensure that all of the implementers are on-task.

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What Capacity?

You’ll also want to determine whether you’re going to hire in-house, or an expert on a one-time basis. This is something that you can usually determine easily enough by considering your long-term goals, and the scope and duration of your project. You’ll also want to bear in mind the level of marketer that you’re looking to hire –remember: a 30,000-foot implementer will be tremendously difficult to source as an in-house employee!

Let’s say, for example, you’re looking to run a Facebook Ad campaign, but you just don’t have time to learn the ins and outs of doing it yourself. In this case, you may want to narrow your search to the

5,000-foot level and look to bring a Facebook Ads expert on for a specific time period. There’s usually no need to hire in-house in cases like this.

Other times, of course, having someone full-time might make sense –such as if you’re going to require their particular experience and skills on a regular basis. Or, as you grow your company and require consistency and fast turn-around times. But for most cases, especially for growing companies, hiring per-project is a more feasible and realistic option.

What to Look for When Hiring a Marketing Expert

All of this begs the question: what should you look for when hiring a marketing expert?

  • Experience

The first thing to look for is experience. If any marketing expert –particularly one at the consulting level hasn’t already successfully done it for themselves, then you should run the other way. There are too many people out there, who may have taken an online course or read about a strategy, and as a result positioned themselves as an expert. But what you’ll want to look for is someone who has a Rolodex of resources that you can leverage, as the real reason to use a consultant is to eliminate the learning curve and the trial and errors.

Ideally, you’ll want to ask for examples of some of their previous projects. Any expert should be more than happy to provide success stories and testimonials, along with references. You can also take a look at their LinkedIn page –particularly at their recommendations, to see what others are saying.

  • Cost

Unfortunately, many companies simply assume that they can’t afford a marketing expert, and leave it at that. However, it’s important to keep in mind that no marketing strategy –or a poor strategy, could end up costing you as well.

As consultant Leo Pound says, though, it’s important to ensure that you find a firm who’s a good fit for you.

“You can dig a deeper hole for your company either by hiring the wrong firm, or by not hiring the right firm,” Pound says. “Hiring the right firm could well be the best money you will ever invest in your business. Once you decide, ask about their fee structure. Will you be billed on a daily or hourly basis? Are there success or transaction fees you should be aware of? Will you be billed for one person or multiple consultants?”

Once you’re aware of their fees –you’ll be able to plan accordingly –and work towards budgeting for them. Note too, that the cheapest option isn’t always best. It’s important to keep value in mind –and not just cost. After all, a $600 consulting fee may be less than the $6000 fee that someone else is charging –but if it doesn’t do any good, then it was a complete waste of money.

On the other hand, though, if that $6,000 fee were to help you double or triple your revenue, then it might be a good investment. So be sure to consider their experience and track record; checking their reviews and testimonials to see what others are saying before you commit –no matter how tempting the deal might be.

At the end of the day, a solid marketing strategy is one investment that shouldn’t be overlooked.

So be sure to take some time to ensure that you’re clear on what your company needs –and then look for the right expert –narrowing your search to someone who’s at the 30,000, 15,000, or 5,000-foot level. Then be sure to evaluate your candidates based on previous experience and successes with verifiable references.

Remember: in most cases, you’ll want to avoid looking for someone who claims to be skilled at everything –from consulting to implementation, and instead get extremely targeted with your search, zeroing in on the candidate who’s experienced in the exact area that you’re looking for help in.

With this approach, you’ll have a much easier time sourcing top talent –and will be able to ensure that your resources are going exactly where they’re needed.

What aspects of marketing are YOU looking to outsource?

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