What do you need in a marketing leader?

Consult your strategy.

What do you need more in your marketing leader, a modern marketing professional or an expert in your industry?

Reportedly one of the most significantly changed industries in the last 10 years, marketing is both an art and a science. Our online “social” world has turned the average consumer from highly private to openly public. We post our profiles online to ensure the world knows our version of who we are personally and professionally. We engage and interact with others digitally, and we can learn just about anything by watching a YouTube video tutorial. All of these changes have created an expectation that marketing must target prospects on an individual level, delivering a highly personalized experience that recognizes individuals needs and solves problems in a highly customized manner.

Professionals, including marketers, can get typecast in their industry based on their experience. The landscape of job competition now involves a much broader span as companies use technology to connect distant employees to their teams, sometimes spread throughout the globe. But as you begin your search for a marketing leader, note there may still be a distinct difference in the qualifications you seek. Specifically, the difference that can exist between a modern marketer and an industry expert.

You may be lucky enough to find an individual who has both. But if that’s not the case, your strategy should lead your decision. Here are some things to consider.

Modern Marketing Professional

A seasoned professional who knows when to apply art and when to lead with science is not as common as we would like. It is reported that only 11% of marketers possess the skills required to meet this challenge and are considered modern marketers effectively. This particular marketing professional knows how to connect a human to a product by understanding an individual’s behaviors and needs.

Marketing professionals with a foundation of marketing acumen evidenced by proven results is a good starting point. However, on the science side of the marketing equation, a modern marketer uses data and technology to create and implement the marketing plan with scientific and data-driven strategies not previously available. This individual brings a new perspective about your target prospect and existing customers as they learn about your industry. They will look for the obvious and the subtle while seeking to learn what consumers like about your industry and what their challenges are. These subtleties may be precisely where your competitive advantage lies. Their unique perspective helps you see your industry from the outside-in.

Industry Expert

Industry knowledge is one of the keys to understanding your market space and competitive landscape. This individual fits into your organization rather quickly due to their experience. They are immediately ready to contribute to your product roadmap discussions and can have educated conversations with your customers. They know the lingo.

The competitive field is not at all foreign to this expert, and because they are deeply ingrained, they can identify the differentiators that will set your product apart. In fact, they may even bring some competitive intelligence that can help steer your product in a differentiated direction. This inside-out view of your industry might be just what your product needs.

What is your strategy?

As you consider your strategy and contemplate your decision, start by truly understanding what you need in a marketing leader. Is your product ill-defined or struggling in the space due to customer attrition? You may want an industry expert to help assess what features or functions your product needs to compete in your space. In fact, if your strategy is to lead with your product, then you want an industry expert.

On the other hand, if your product is great, but you just can’t seem to break into or increase your market share, opt for a modern marketer. Even if this individual is new to your industry (which won’t last long with the right person), your internal subject matter experts will help ensure the marketing message is accurate and authentic.
You see, it is much harder to create a modern marketer than it is for a modern marketer to learn your industry. Without these modern marketing strategies, you begin your marketing journey behind consumers in marketing competitive advantage. So before you sort your job candidates by industry, take a look at your strategy. You may actually want a modern marketer.

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