Managing The Prototype Marketer: Starter Tips

By | March 5, 2012
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There is a widening talent gap in the marketing industry. A shortage of professionals that grasp the full landscape of digital marketing, and can deliver on critical competencies in writing, analytics, technology, creativity and business planning.

Whether you’re a marketing manager or agency leader, it is your job to nurture and develop the next wave of talent, in career paths that are just being discovered. As well as secure your future career as a hybrid professional.

There is discussion about WHAT is happening, but not as much on HOW to build the foundation to transform your team.

Yes, it’s true that education must evolve, and professionals need to take it upon themselves to advance, but you will also need to aggressively drive programs, systems and training that will work for your business.

Managing the prototype marketerBuilding Hybrid Professionals

You may have individuals with potential, but perhaps they haven’t had the exposure or responsibility to gain the experience needed to become a true hybrid.

The following are five management tips to transform your current marketing team into hybrid professionals. They are also good for self-assessment as you work to redefine your career.

Cut the Cord

If you want to see change in your staff members, you have to stop letting them feed off of your successes, or relying on past wins, to define their careers.

As exciting as it may be to support major efforts, nothing will compare to the excitement they feel when achieving something on their own. You’re still there to manage and guide, but demonstrate genuine trust and comfort as they take ownership of new initiatives.

Help From the Outside

As much as you keep up on marketing trends, realize that there are unlimited resources available to learn new skills, advance knowledge and stay updated on new developments – all brought to you by credible sources in specialized areas.

Make sure to share the resources and training programs you follow, and encourage them to share things they come across – you’ll learn a lot in the process as well. There’s also nothing that compares to third-party validation, especially when they won’t take your word for it. Check out this past PR 20/20 blog post on inbound marketing training resources.

As outlined in Chapter 3 “Think Talent and Team,” of The Marketing Agency Blueprint, the following are several means of building capabilities across the diverse disciplines of hybrid marketing: search, mobile, social, content, analytics, web, PR and email marketing.

  • Books
  • Webinars
  • Real-Time Sharing (through internal social networks)
  • Knowledge Transfer (through organization-specific training resources)
  • Role Playing/Group Exercises
  • Conferences
  • Online Courses
  • Blog Writing

Coach, Don’t Coerce

When leading a team, it might not be a partnership, but you’re also not a parent. You’re a coach to set them on the right path, encourage them to keep practicing, pick them up when they are down and celebrate the big wins. You have to serve in the mentor role to deliver value, but no professional being groomed for autonomy and ownership will respond to tactics like threats or put-downs.

Measure and Adjust

Performance goals without metrics, deadlines and accountability, are simply good intentions. Create clear and focused new roles and projects, with actual data-driven goals behind them. Revisit these advancement plans and goals regularly, and adjust as things evolve.

Protect Your Investment

Understand that in building a solid contributor for your team, you’ve also produced a top candidate for the rest of the talent-hungry market.

Make sure you nurture your new-found talent, and take care of these employees beyond salary and bonuses – offering authentic recognition of the progress they have made, and unmatched advancement opportunities.

They’re Convinced

In Paul Roetzer’s recent guest post on Jay Baer’s Convince and Convert blog “The Hybrids Are Coming: Evolution of the Prototype Marketer, he stated that “the future of marketing belongs to the generalists, the hybrids.”

These marketers are the key to increasing efficiency and productivity, building an insurmountable competitive advantage and fueling your organization’s growth….

…Forward-thinking organizations seek hybrid professionals who are highly proficient writers, analytical and tech savvy, with a strong grasp on business, IT and human behavior. These next-generation professionals excel in the emerging core-marketing disciplines of mobile, analytics, social, web, search and content.”

Paul also referred to what Jay and Amber Naslund detailed in The NOW Revolution, that organizations should, “Search for well-rounded professionals with core business skills that can translate across roles and enable them to excel in an ever-changing environment.”

Earlier this year, Clinton Bonner contributed to the Convince and Convert blog, in a post titled, “Marketers Here are the Keys to Your IT Department – Good Luck.”

He shared that individuals are “no longer just in marketing. You are a technologist, you are a social enterprise creator, you are a consumer co-creation strategist, you are a User Interface architect, you are empowered to drive value for your company through non-traditional means, technologies and innovation platforms.”

Where are you Starting?

What are you doing for yourself, your team or your clients to become hybrid professionals? Please share your experiences below.