Whether the title is Marketing Director, Marketing Manager, VP of Marketing, or something similar, once organizations grow to a certain size, they typically hire an individual that is responsible for their marketing initiatives. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these positions are projected to continue to grow by 8 percent between 2018 and 2028.
As small to mid-size companies grow, they are often faced with a question of whether to hire a dedicated marketing professional or outsource this work to a marketing agency. While it may be more cost-effective to work with an agency initially, there are plenty of advantages to hiring a dedicated Marketing Director:
- A Marketing Director usually has more specialized education and skills focused toward marketing and sales, meaning this responsibility can be taken out of an owner’s hands, or an individual that may not be best-suited for the role.
- A Marketing Director can be an excellent point person when working with outside partners or agencies, as they likely speak the same language and can effectively communicate goals and strategic plans.
- A Marketing Director can coordinate many internal departments and initiatives, often working with the internal sales team and stakeholders to ensure that the organization is prioritizing marketing efforts that drive leads, sales, and awareness.
Important Skills for a Marketing Director in 2020
Too often, organizations search for a Swiss-army knife candidate who can do everything, ranging from PR and marketing communications to digital marketing to website design to copywriting. The reality is these individuals rarely exist. Prioritizing the most important skills for a Marketing Director within your organization is critical, and supplementing their skills with freelancers or agency partners can provide the perfect mix of broad skills and specialized skills.
At the top of this list for a reason, strategic thinking is a critical skill that all marketing leaders must have. One of the most important responsibilities of a Marketing Director should be translating an organization’s short- and long-term goals into actionable marketing activities. A top-performing marketing leader should be able to create a vision for the organization’s marketing strategy, both short-term and long-term.
With so many options between traditional and digital marketing channels, a Marketing Director should be able to understand how the relationship between all of the individual parts of the marketing plan work together.
Hiring a Marketing Director should come with the expectation that they’ll take on the responsibility of interacting with the different departments, leaders, and partners of your organization. That means effective communication skills are critical.
One of the most critical elements of communication will be the ability to translate often complex ideas into understandable information. The President or Owner of a company doesn’t need to know the intricacies and lingo of the latest social media platform, but they may need to understand how it can be an opportunity for the organization to increase lead generation or engage with their audience. A Marketing Director can help all parties gain an understanding of technical or foreign concepts by communicating clearly and effectively.
A Marketing Director can also act as the point person for partnerships like agency relationships, vendor relationships, freelance employees, press contacts, and more.
In a world of “big data,” it’s not critical for a Marketing Director to act as a data scientist per-se, but having an understanding of setting and measuring organizational and marketing goals is an increasingly important skill.
This starts with being able to set KPI’s (key performance indicators), OKR’s (objectives and key results), or whatever measurement acronym your organization prefers. Understanding how to measure success and communicate these metrics on an on-going basis with leadership is an invaluable skill.
Going deeper, understanding the drivers of awareness, leads, and sales through data analysis will help Marketing Directors make better strategic marketing decisions, spend marketing budgets more effectively, and drive better results long-term.
Most business leaders don’t have the time to provide constant oversight to key employees within their organization. That’s why a Marketing Director needs to be able to effectively manage multiple projects, timelines, and relationships.
At any given time, a Marketing Director will have dozens of internal initiatives to manage, each with their own timeline, contributors, and goals. Not to mention, the variables for each of these initiatives will likely be constantly changing. A well-organized individual that can remain calm under pressure and roll with change will be able to handle the critical project management aspects of marketing management.
So far, we’ve touched on mostly soft skills – traits that are important to the success of a Marketing Director but aren’t related to a specific discipline within marketing. Training Industry asks the question, “Why is it easier to develop new hard skills, such as a new procedure or task, than it is to develop a new soft skill…?” Organizationally, finding a talented individual with the right soft skills should reflect much of your hiring effort, knowing that hard skills are important, but tend to be easier to train up.
Here are some of the technical skills that are important in 2020 and beyond:
- Technology Proficiency – Let’s face it, there are thousands of platforms that marketers can access to support anything from SEO to analytics to email. You shouldn’t expect to find someone who knows them all, but if you already use certain platforms or know you’ll be focusing on a specific discipline in the future, focusing on proficiency within those categories makes sense.
- Writing and Content Creation – Not only are writing and content creation important to marketing in general, they’re simply an important part of effective communication. Asking to see writing samples during the hiring process can shed some light on a candidate’s writing skills.
- Digital Advertising – Organizations focused on growth will want to hire a Marketing Director who understands the value of digital advertising and the landscape of platforms that exist.
- SEO – While SEO is constantly evolving and complex, having a basic understanding of the factors that affect SEO can be an important skill. This will allow a Marketing Director to develop a strategy focused on increasing search engine exposure and traffic.
- Social Media – While some organizations mistakenly delegate social media to an intern or office associate, a capable Marketing Director should be able to understand how their audience interacts with social media and what opportunities it brings to create awareness and engagement.
- Email Marketing/Marketing Automation – An important opportunity to engage with customers and prospects, a Marketing Director should understand the nature of email marketing and, if applicable, be able to develop a strategy to effectively communicate with email contacts.
- PR/Media Relations – Sharing important company news and interacting with writers and publishers can be an important skill for organizations that are in the public eye.
- Traditional Advertising – While digital advertising can be more cost effective and easier to track ROI, organizations looking to reach a large audience through branding and awareness may need to look for an individual with experience in print, radio, and/or outdoor advertising.
Determining Compensation for a Marketing Director
Identifying a competitive salary range for a Marketing Director or related position is an important part of attracting the right talent. Take into consideration the following when researching the salary range for a marketing leadership position:
- Level of Experience – Identify the level of experience that you’re looking for. If the position is new and you can accept an individual learning on the job, you may be able to hire someone with a few years of experience. If you’re ready for someone to hit the ground running from day one with a strategy and high-level of marketing leadership, you’ll likely want to recruit individuals with 5-10+ years of related experience.
- Location – When you’re researching salary figures, keep in mind that the salary of a Marketing Director in Silicon Valley is going to vary significantly from that of a Marketing Director in a more rural location.
- Skills – Identify the skills that you feel are necessary to perform the job well. Some skills may warrant a higher salary, such as experience with more complex technology platforms.
Hiring a Marketing Director in 2020
As we’ve mentioned in this article, at a certain point in an organization’s growth, hiring a dedicated marketing leader can add focus to your overall marketing strategy and strengthen collaboration between agency partners. If you’ve hired a marketing professional recently or are looking to hire, and need a digital partner to focus on the technical aspects of web design and digital marketing, let us know!