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5 Reasons You’re Failing to Attract Top Marketing Talent

Posted by: Jimmy Bower

It’s difficult to play down the influence of marketing in the digital age, such is its ubiquity. From the most blatant of banner ads to the most subtle of product placements, it permeates the digital experience to such a degree that many of us can no longer tell the difference between what is marketing and what isn’t.
This omnipresence has exponentially intensified the impact of marketing on the organisational bottom line. Never before has there been so many marketing channels available, never before has there been such control over the audience that’s targeted, and never before has an advertiser been able to instantly modify and enhance campaigns in real time. Any company worth its salt has realised that in order to survive and thrive in today’s commercial climate, it needs to make a serious investment in its marketing.
Top tier marketing talent, therefore, is in high demand. While the Digital Marketing Institute found that 52% of companies believe recruiting digital talent is critical in the next two years, a survey by Deloitte found that 75% are struggling to recruit the required talent. The digital skills gap is real, and is predicted to get worse before it gets better. So how does an organisation ensure that they’re the preferred employer for the finest marketing minds?
  Let’s take a look at five reasons why your organisation might be failing to attract top marketing talent, and how these problems can be fixed.  

1. Your talent expectations don’t match the market reality

Many organisations have their sights set on a marketing unicorn – the complete professional package who’ll instantly solve all of their marketing woes.


Parallels can be found between shopping for a new home and shopping for marketing talent. There’s inevitably a trade-off when house-hunting; house A has three bedrooms but no garage, while house B has a garage but just a small second bedroom. There’s no ideal home in your price-range, so you simply choose the best possible fit for you. A refusal to do so will see you house-hunting ad infinitum, treading water instead of moving forward.
In the hunt for marketing talent, inflexibility equals stagnation. By being adaptable in your talent search you’ll hire quicker, and subsequently see a swifter return on your recruiting investment. Smart recruiting will see you identifying not just the top tier candidates, but those with potential, who will grow into a role and offer exponential returns on your initial investment. Be sure to research the market, and gain an understanding of expected salary and benefits.
Perfect doesn’t exist. But a pragmatic attitude to recruiting will help you get close.

2. You aren’t offering marketers the opportunity to develop

Marketers – the desirable ones at least – are passionate about marketing. They seek to constantly challenge themselves by learning new skills, using new technologies and testing out new methodologies. So, will your organisation allow them to grow?
Be it through formal training or a more autonomous working environment, professional development opportunities will be high on the preferred employer checklist of top marketing talent. Formal education courses provided by the likes of The Chartered Institute of Marketing, The institute of Direct and Digital Marketing and Digital Marketing Institute can prove quite the carrot, as can specific skills courses on topics like Google Analytics or copywriting. Networking will also be high on the agenda of top tier talent, so consider providing the opportunity to go to events and seminars such as TFMA or the B2B Marketing Expo.

3. You aren’t focused on strengthening your employer brand

How do outsiders perceive the experience of working as an employee of your company? This, in essence, is the idea behind your employer brand, a concept that is coming into ever sharper focus as the competition for talent heats up.

There are a wealth of ways you can actively enhance your employer brand:

Provide website content, such as blogs, videos, pictures and interviews, that paints a picture of what it’s like to work within the walls of your organisation.
Use social media to share the fun side of your company – the Friday drinks, staff trips and in-office perks that will help to make you a preferred employer.
Take your organisation’s Glassdoor profile seriously by responding to any negative feedback, and by actively encouraging current employees to review your organisation.
Don’t disregard the experience of those candidates who unsuccessfully apply for a position – they can be just as influential in shaping your employer brand as your actual employees.

4. Your recruitment processes take too much time

Good talent doesn’t stay on the market for long. If your recruitment process is eight weeks long, the candidate will have already accepted an offer by the time you’re ready to act.
Again, winning the services of top talent requires flexibility and pragmatism. If you find the right candidate, you must be prepared to hasten the application, interviewing, and onboarding processes. Don’t let the slow-turning cogs of organisational bureaucracy deny you the services of in-demand talent.
A full scale overhaul of your current recruiting processes may be in order, but you’ll soon identify inefficiencies and excesses that are stymying your hiring efforts. It could be as simple as ensuring that those responsible for pushing the process forward regularly put time in their diaries to do so. Aim to be as efficient and nimble as possible, without compromising on due diligence.

5. You haven’t appreciated a marketer’s passion for marketing

What opportunities (beyond the opportunity for self-development mentioned above) are you offering marketing talent? If you were to switch seats, would you be excited by what your organisation has placed on the table? Marketers are passionate about marketing, and they want to know that you’ll be fostering that passion.

Why should they join your business? What does the opportunity look like in the long term? What will they be working on, and who will they be working with? Will there be a mentor to help fast-track their development? What marketing technology is your organisation looking to utilise in the future?
Sell them the big picture at interview. Spell out the opportunity that lies before them; the exciting new channels, technologies and people that they’ll work with, and the vital role that you hope for them to play in driving the organisation forward. Remember: you’re likely selling to a candidate who is being courted by a handful of other suitors, so ensuring that they understand the potential of the role you’re offering – without stretching the truth – is crucial.

You don’t choose top talent, top talent chooses you

Low unemployment means that today’s job market is steadfastly candidate driven, but in the case of top talent, and in the face of a serious digital skills shortage, this effect goes into overdrive. You no longer get to cherry-pick the finest candidates from the pool of marketing talent. This talent now picks you. Thus it has never been more important to be seen as a preferred employer.
While such a reputation isn’t earnt overnight, by acknowledging this new paradigm, and doing all that you can to recognise and avoid the pitfalls mentioned above, you’ll be far more likely to land that most prized of modern day team members – the marketer.




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