A guest post by Nemo Chu of Bloomfire.
"What do you look for when you hire a marketer?"
Recently, I presented that question to owners of companies ranging from half a dozen employees to over a hundred employees, and they all gave similar responses.
Companies want their marketers to have the following traits.
In a smaller, fast-moving environment, everyone's wearing a lot of different hats. Companies don't always have time to give 16-point instructions. Instructions might be just a couple of sentences, and companies expect smart marketers to figure it out, even when given little direction.
2. Business acumen
Those folks who can figure it out often have business acumen. They're the people who can ask themselves the question, "What can I do today that would best move the business forward?" and come up with an intelligent answer.
To do that, marketers need more than just an understanding of marketing—marketers need to have an understanding of business. Knowing the mechanics of how money comes in, how money goes out, and how customers are retained will do wonders towards furthering anyone's understanding of business.
3. Sales training
In some sales-driven organizations where sales reps bring in the cash, marketing wins when it sets salespeople up for success. Marketers in such organizations will need to collaborate with salespeople, which means they'll need to understand sales.
As someone who works at a company that builds sales training tools used at successful organizations like Kellogg's and Dannon, I see firsthand the value of marketers who "get it" and collaborate with sales teams.
4. Pleasant personality
When Zappos hires people, one of the questions they ask to gauge cultural fit is, "On a scale of one to 10, how lucky would you say you are?"
People who says they are the luckiest ones have a much better chance of getting a job because Zappos doesn't want to hire people that bring bad luck to their company.
Zappos recognizes that lucky people also tend to be pleasant people. Because people like them, people want to help them, which means they attract opportunities. Lucky!
If a small-business owner is hiring a marketer, the owner is looking for someone with small-business marketing experience.
If a large corporation is hiring a marketer, the manager is looking for someone with large-corporation experience.
In both cases, experience trumps degrees and certifications.
People who've done marketing long enough know that small-business marketing is a different world than mega-corporate marketing. Know where your strengths lie and position yourself accordingly.
6. Hunger to be the best
One of my colleagues is the co-founder of an Inc. 500 Internet marketing consultancy with over 100 marketers on staff. What does he look for when he hires another marketer?
A desire to be the best at her craft. That means this marketer's not looking to pick up marketing as a stepping stone to some other end goal. Her end goal is to be the best marketer on the planet.
7. Killer writing chops
Direct marketing is a popular form of marketing at small businesses because owners can easily see the ROI equation. The thinking goes like this, "If I spend X and 2% of my audience converts into customers, then I'll make Y. Hey look, Y is greater than X, so that means the marketing pays for itself! What a no-brainer."
Smart marketers know that the Web is a great direct marketing channel, one that will dwarf the direct marketing industry wrapped around snail mail.
To succeed in both online or offline direct marketing, great copywriting is mission-critical. And copywriters know that writing skills take time to develop, just like better piano-playing comes with more practice. That makes a marketer with writing abilities baked in so much more valuable.
What other traits are valuable for a marketer to have?
(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Little Boy Dressed Up)
Nemo Chu does marketing and sales at Bloomfire, a popular Web-based sales-enablement tool used by organizations large and small.