Perhaps the most important role of the marketing leader is creating a competent team, and for that reason alone, its one of the most challenging. It’s a constant fight for talent. You might have the best products and services in the market, but without a strong and talented marketing team behind them, you’ll start losing ground to the competition, so lets look at ways to win this battle, but before we start, let me share an insight. You read a lot in the media about the generational aspects of business, and the many differences between millennials, Gen X and baby boomers, but guess what? from my experience, the same things that excite millennials are the same things that excite baby boomers, so don’t get too caught up with the demographic shifts.
How do you attract and retain great marketing talent? It starts with great products and services backed by the reputation of a global brand. Coca-Cola, Apple, Amazon and so on, but what do you do if you have a wonderful reputation but no one’s ever heard of you? Here’s an example. The ThemeRevel Corporation is a global fortune 500 company with over 50 unique and successful companies within it. If it’s going to win the fight for talent, it has to raise its prominence in the job market, especially at business schools, so you do that with promotional efforts, attending job fairs, and having a great website about careers at your company.
Next, look at how you communicate opportunities at your company. What is it that you’re stressing? Are you telling them how amazing they need to be, or are you telling how amazing it would be to work at your company? Now here’s why that matters. If you stress why they need to be supper talented, those who are super talented already know it. If you just reinforce that you’re looking for superstars, they’re likely to react by saying, “well duh, I know that”, so instead focus on why its amazing to be at your company.
Promote all the perks, the cool spaces in your headquarters, the types of challenging work you do, they values you bring to society overall. That’s what really matters to the superstar of all ages. Sure, you need competitive pay and benefits, but its the intangibles that mattes so much recruiting talent. Now one area that I think is often overlooked in recruiting is telling the candidates about how much autonomy they’ll have in their job. if the message comes across as, we’ll tell you what do do, when do do it, and how to do it, hey , forget it.
Marketers especially want some degree of autonomy in their job. Finally, you need to assume potential candidate that they’re joining an elite team. Thoroughbreds like to run with thoroughbreds. Give candidates a strong sense that they’re joining a team of people just as talented as they are. That rally get their juices flowing, but that means you have to back it up. A players want to be with other A players. If you’ve got a log of B players, good but not great, you may be over-promising, and if you have and C players who you havent cut yet, these new recruits will spot it right away, thats not good.
Going out and getting the best talent you can afford may be your biggest marketing challenge of all. If you do it successfully, you’re on a path to win in the market place.