Digital marketers are the craze in Singapore. Everyone wants a digital marketing magician on their team. We often see news saying we don’t have enough. But a quick search on LinkedIn shows tens of thousands of digital gurus, each eager to ride on the digital wave and secure the next high salaried role.
As a CEO or hiring manager, how do you pick the real deal out of so many similar-looking candidates? How can you gauge their skills, when digital marketing isn’t something you are very familiar with?
The situation is made worse when hiring marketers because marketers are good with words.
We can make anything sound good.
Reframing is our most powerful weapon.
And if you can’t see past the superficial level of data, we can even make it look like there is a world of evidence to back us up.
Imagine hiring a Head of Marketing, who doesn’t have much marketing knowledge.
And that Head of Marketing uses his limited knowledge to evaluate new candidates. And you hire more people to the team. Your Head of Marketing then hires his replacement. And so on and so forth.
What happens in the end?
This scenario is very real. And it has already happened in quite a number of companies around the world, some of which are global names. It partly explains why 90% of marketers are clueless about measuring performance and 82% of marketing campaigns result in losses.
As a business owner or CEO, you must avoid this.
It all starts at hiring.
Here are 4 things you can do to find out if you’re talking to someone who merely marketed himself well or someone who really knows digital marketing.
“Those are some impressive figures. I’d need you to do that for me. Shall we use that as your KPI in the contract?”
Every marketer will list their achievements. The more impressive ones will likely have listed numbers or figures associated with a particular campaign. But how involved was your candidate in those campaigns? Did they play a critical role?
Unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing is more of a science than an art. A good digital marketer will be able to repeat any of the feats in his track record, provided he is given the right support. Challenge your candidate to do it for your company.
“We plan to start Google AdWords + Facebook Page Posts Boosting for our product immediately. Do you think that’s a good idea?”
This one is a trick question.
If the candidate forms an opinion, goes on a long explanation, filled with brilliant examples and personal experience, then you know you are NOT talking to a digital marketer.
A real top-notch digital marketer or growth hacker will only have 1 answer: “I don’t know. But what I can do is help you find out using the fewest resources possible. Then we improve on that in double-quick time.”
A poor digital marketer will form an opinion quickly. He/she will then take a long time to review the results (“quarterly review”) and subsequently try to salvage or re-frame failing campaigns.
A good digital marketer or growth hacker will not form an opinion fast. He/she will execute and review fast (might be as quick as 1 day). Then admit failure and kill off bad campaigns before starting the next one immediately.
“Do you have any evidence of making money on your own?”
Marketing is a unique industry.
Unlike Accounting, Operations or even HR, it is a field that lets you invest your money to generate returns.
Let’s be honest. Anyone who can make $5,000 on their own wouldn’t be working for a $5,000 salary. They are giving up flexible time and creative control while being subjected to the mercy of a boss. Maybe they’d take 25% less if they see a job as a more stable career path, but not much less.
So if your candidate can’t even make $1,000 on his own with his digital marketing skills, what does he/she have that justifies the $10,000 asking salary?
“Your homework is to sell a T-shirt online.”
This is the acid test for internet marketers. You don’t need your candidate to actually succeed here. But it would at least give you valuable insight into how he/she will approach the situation based on limited resources while trying to achieve maximum impact.
It’s not uncommon for you to start hearing all sorts of excuses at this point. These will usually revolve around scale, lack of big data, different industries, not enough time, lack of resources, “it’s not the same” etc.
But seriously, do you really want to entrust your company’s $1,000,000 marketing budget to someone who can’t even sell a T-shirt?
Of course, apart from all that, you are also looking for someone with the right personality who best fits your company culture. But you’re good at that. And now, with those 4 points above, you can finally pick that elusive whiz kid marketer out from the huge crowd.