• nat sharp

What skills do you need for marketing?

Updated: Oct 16

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How do you hire a marketing manager for your small business?

If you run a small to medium-sized business, the chances are you’re juggling a variety of roles to keep it operating successfully. While it can be extremely satisfying being your own boss, it can also be hard to stay focused as daily challenges come at you all the time, from product or service delivery to keeping on top of your finances. The list goes on.

Marketing from experience isn’t usually top of the list, after all, you need to build and deliver the product or service in the first place, but telling the right people about it in the right places isn’t as easy or straight-forward as it may initially seem. There is a lot more to it to do it successfully than just ‘let’s create a brochure’ or ‘we need a website’. And recruiting someone in-house could be the perfect solution.

How to determine what level of in-house marketing support you might need?

With a plethora of options to choose from, getting a priority list of what you need is a good place to start. That can then determine if you need someone with specialist skills like strategy, copywriting, digital marketing or running campaigns.

In this blog, we lay out some top considerations for resourcing marketing based on my experience working with clients, as well as being a client myself and recruiting marketing staff.

How to look for a marketing specialist?

So, you’ve established you want to recruit a marketing specialist. Ideally, you will have a clear marketing strategy in place before you start looking for the ideal candidate so you know what the person will be required to do and crucially what skills are needed.

If you’ve not been able to do this and you envisage the marketing role to encompass both setting the strategy and implementing it, then you'll need a highly experienced marketing manager. The reality is it is very difficult to do both. Thinking time is extremely time-consuming and impossible once you get engrained into the daily tasks.

Even a marketing manager role varies so much and could be someone with 5 years experience or 15 years experience, so decide what you can afford to pay and what your maximum budget is. Marketing Manager salaries vary enormously from £30k to £60k. To look at industry be benchmarks, have a look at the Marketing Week salary survey. Another option would be to get someone with more experience, but on a part time basis.

Preferably the ideal candidate should come with a mix of planning and execution experience. Digital marketing experience is a must including understanding the basics of SEO and being able to navigate various social media platforms. Other important skills include creativity, communication, analytics, project management and technical skills. It is a long list of requirements and finding the perfect person and fit for your business can take a long time which is why using a freelance marketing consultant can be the perfect interim solution. Alternatively, a marketing consultant can also provide coaching on a more permanent basis to mentor a less experienced recruit or provide some additional support whilst the new marketer is being on-boarded.

Ensure you put a detailed job spec together listing everything the person will be required to do. Hubspot has some useful examples of various marketing roles you could use to get the ball rolling.

Michael Page has recently published a useful checklist with key skills needed as a marketeer too.

We have a clear marketing strategy and we need someone to implement it now

If you know what skills and experience you need, and the new marketing role will be straight forward implementation, then hiring someone should be relatively easy and quick. You could recruit from a marketing exec level and request a couple of years’ experience. Today’s graduates who've been through university often come with the latest knowledge combined with work experience achieved during their degree or from their first few years in work. Eager and hungry to do well will come as standard.

However, if your needs mean taking a look at your marketing strategy, a more experienced, seasoned marketeer should be considered. A Senior Marketing Manager is likely to be a better fit and they will come with experience in managing multiple and complex multi- channel projects and also managing agencies should you already have one. Plus they should have strong business acumen and commercial understanding to advise on marketing return on investment.

Alternatively, you can find a good freelance marketing expert to come in and provide a service on a retained basis i.e. 1 or 2 days a week per month. It all depends on your cashflow circumstances and what you want to achieve. As marketing covers so many disciplines, from strategy to planning to advertising and PR for example, you should consider if a specialist is required for particular areas of marketing you want to focus on.

Find the right option for your business

More businesses are turning to outsourced freelance marketing consultancy which can be a more flexible arrangement and doesn't carry the overheads. It is also something you could get up and running within weeks.

If you're not sure whether to want to keep your marketing in-house or to outsource then read my blog for further help and guidance. Alternatively, feel free to contact Sharp Thinking to discuss marketing operations for your business.

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