Ah, the elusive Marketing Unicorn.
That person who can not only build a solid strategy and comprehensive execution plan but deliver all the analytics and the insights to support it, business case the new platforms to drive that funnel of customers, design a newly branded website, a few content pieces for all of the social media platforms, write the media release for that new product launch, design a few things for a new landing page and maybe even work on the sales team event needs.
Phew! And that was just in the first week.
But wait, we are a DIY nation at heart
We have the much-celebrated can-do attitude in New Zealand, born out of the limitation of our size. A little bit of expertise and a willingness to give things a try has made us champion those with broad-ranging capabilities, and that’s not a bad thing. We can become a ‘Jack of all trades’ as they say.
However, when building a house you can’t expect a Gib-stopper to also build the timber framing and I am pretty sure the builder will not be great at the plumbing. DIY people beware as that house you did yourself, may eventually leak and have to be pulled down and rebuilt. At your own cost. Ouch.
It is a common problem in many start-ups trying to grow their business: “We are now growing the business and need to get our name out there and get more customers. We need a marketing person ASAP!”.
This is where a unicorn marketing job ad is created and will look like the list below:
- Hands on and willing to roll up sleeves
- Previous experience managing 20+ person team
- Strategic thinker but can also execute details of a campaign
- Expert with Marketo, lead nurturing, and content marketing
- Great public speaker and can manage all PR
- Intimate knowledge of SEO and A/B testing
- Comfortable executing all internal communications
- Able to manage multi-million dollar marketing budget
- B2C and B2B experience
- Previous work experience at Salesforce, Google, Hotjar, Hubspot and Workday (name any other hot tech of your choice)
- Adobe Illustrator and Indesign skills a plus
Stop and think carefully
I think at that point you have to decide what you need and where the most important resources are best utilised. Go slow to go fast as they say. Stop and think. Do the research and work out what you need to achieve in the short to medium term. Be very realistic and look at the outcomes you want. Don’t just write a list of all the non-prioritised ‘marketing’ things you want to be done and then see that as a position description.
In saying this, in today’s complex digital marketing landscape, it does take a broad set of skills in multiple areas to successfully execute a campaign and arguably some level of unicorn-ness is needed amongst most people who sit within stand-alone Marketing roles.
The reality is that many marketers today (probably at the more senior end of the scale) are some form of marketing unicorn, especially those who have been thrown into a fast-growth tech start-up. And that is OK. We like to juggle many things all at once. To a point. As the startup business grows so will the needs of that individual, so you must plan ahead and grow the team (or external resources) for future success vs adding more to a marketer’s already very full job description. Think about the future and be very realistic about what a person can do in one role.
Digital is a multiple horned beast
Another problem lies in today’s multiple digital channel world with a huge dilution of marketing activity across so many different platforms and media – that scope alone needs a specialist. So that is why any digital marketing specialist is in high demand. It is seen as a one-hit wonder to fix all problems ‘digital’.
Digital however is a very broad term you can drive a bus around. What specific digital activity do you focus on? In most companies now you are seeing specialisation – UX specialists are not going to design web pages, Search specialists are not going to design and post content on Facebook for you. If either are asked to build an overall communications strategy – you might get blank stares. So be very certain on what you need to achieve vs a focus on all you want and wrap it up in the world of ‘Digital Marketing’ things you might need looking at.
Even when you define all the skills you need in a role, the scope will change over time so allow for that, but be very specific to the outcomes you are looking for today. You should have a defined business strategy and key results or targets you are looking to achieve. Start there and build out all the functional things you need. Avoid leaping for the “we need a marketing automation system”. Do you? Why? You need to attract more customers online. Start there. Don’t define the problem with a solution.
Get some ideas, talk to others
This is where you need to take advice. Talk to a mentor. Have discussions with similar companies who have been through the same process. Take advice on what’s possibly available in your market. What can you outsource vs. do in-house? What are the skills you need now and more important for the near future?
Do use your own network as the person you are looking for may already be known within your own groups. Again reach out and ask.
NZ Tech Marketers Group have a mentoring programme that links you to some extremely talented advisors across a range of sectors and disciplines.
We have an incredible mix of experienced senior marketers in the group – they’ve been through almost everything from major expansions, acquisitions, brand overhauls, recessions, system implementations and more.
This service is free to our Tech Marketers Group Members. Sign up here to connect with us: https://techmarketers.co.nz/mentorship/