Post-pandemic hiring should focus on employee retention and staying ahead of business needs, says Paul Flaharty, executive director of the marketing and creative practice at global talent solutions firm Robert Half, in the latest episode of Marketing Smarts.
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"It's about talent attraction and retention, and that's a shifting landscape," he says. "What used to be acceptable or considered 'industry standard' as it relates to flexible work is a completely different dynamic now."
That standard of flexible work, widely accepted since many workers have had to work from home during the pandemic, makes finding the right team members a challenge: "The difficult positions to fill become so much more difficult, and oftentimes more expensive, when a client lacks remote work flexibility because there really is no such thing as a local candidate anymore," he explains.
Such difficulty means professional development and investment in skilled employees should be a company's top priority. According to Paul, those employees "need to be shown that they are being invested in, that they're being developed, that the company is willing to put in the time, to have them not connected to their desk, not connected to their work, but learning new things, growing and developing as professionals."
Successful businesses, he says, will build a skilled team that they have plans for rather than rotating through mid-level marketers. "It's about being a step ahead of the business, it's about anticipating future business needs and having the skillsets already on board on your team."
Listen to Episode 522 for more insight from Paul and host George B. Thomas on salaries, roles that companies are hiring for, and the importance of communication between marketers and the C-suite.
Listen to the entire show from the link above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode.
George Thomas: This one is going to be a good one, especially if you are working on or thinking about working on building a great marketing team. That's right, today we're talking with Paul Flaharty about how to build a great marketing team in 2023, what you need to know. We talk about what keeps Paul up at night, what he thinks owners and CEOs need to be thinking about, how to actually hire, what positions are in demand, and so much more. Of course, you know we end with those words of wisdom, which are priceless.
Paul Flaharty is executive director of the marketing and creative practice at global talent solutions firm Robert Half, which connects professionals with companies hiring in marketing, creative, digital advertising, and public relations. His primary responsibility is to develop and oversee the growth strategy for the company's marketing and creative contract talent solution teams across the United States.
Paul began his career with Robert Half in New York City in 2005. After seven years of building successful operations in the tri-state area, he relocated to Los Angeles. Paul has held several leadership positions, including division director, regional vice president, and district director. He most recently oversaw operations throughout southern California and the San Francisco Bay area for the company's technology and marketing and creative practices. Paul is a spokesperson for Robert Half and a frequently quoted expert on various hiring trends and workplace topics. A graduate of Cornell University, Paul is now based in Los Angeles and is proud of raising two incredible children.
I'll tell you this conversation is absolutely incredible, there's a lot to learn. Get your pen and your notepad. Ladies and gentlemen, let's get into the good stuff.
Paul, I'm super excited. I think I'm excited for a couple of different reasons. By the way, Paul, this is your first time hearing me say that. It's probably the twenty-seven-thousandth time the Marketing Smarts listeners are hearing me say at the beginning of an episode that I'm excited. I'm an excitable guy. You should know this by now, people.
We're talking about a different topic than typical. I think in 2023 and moving forward—yes, I know it's still 2022, but time is running short—I think this is going to be a valuable conversation to many marketing teams and what they need to know about building great marketing teams as people move forward.
Let's start at the beginning. Around this conversation of building teams, marketing teams, 2023, the world as it is maybe, what keeps you up at night pertaining to building marketing teams in the future, and maybe even specific to, but not necessarily, B2B marketing teams in the future?
Paul Flaharty: It's a dynamic and just unique time, I would say, for marketing professionals. It's a multifaceted set of business challenges that they have to solve for at any given moment, whether that's enhancing digital outreach, improving customer engagement, improving brand recognition, it just feels like that job has evolved to a place where you have to have your head on a swivel with so many different stakeholders that are asking so much of marketing teams.
I think from the position of the teams that I interact with here at Robert Half, I think the thing that keeps us up at night is just how we set appropriate expectations with our customers as it relates to the current state of the market and just how competitive it remains for top talent. Sometimes that is about how the interview or hiring timeline needs to be shortened. Sometimes it's about competitive compensation. Sometimes it's about flexible work and just the current reality as it relates to flexible work, and how the competitive landscape has changed.
Really, I feel like what keeps us up at night and what keeps our clients up at night, I wish I could pinpoint it to just one particular thing, but I guess maybe it's a sort of dream or nightmare that takes a variety of twists and turns as you go, and it could be something different on any given night. I don't know about you, but sometimes when I have middle of the night insomnia, which occurs every once in a while, it's not one particular thing that I'm focused on, my mind kind of darts from place to place. I feel like that's probably what occurs in the minds of marketing leaders when they can't sleep.
George: It's so funny because it's a trilogy of oh mys and oh nos and maybe oh yeahs. It's funny because you are right, the landscape, the things that marketers have to pay attention to is an ever-moving target, it always seems to be getting bigger, which leads into we need a team to manage all of this. Here's the thing. I've never done this before. I'm going to ask the question in a different way because it might be the same answer or it might be a different answer.
The first question I asked was what keeps you up at night, what keeps the company that you're doing up at night. But when we think about or we try to layer a level of empathy into this episode of the Marketing Smarts Podcast and we try to get into the mindset of the owners, the CEOs, dare I say the marketing managers, do you think it's the same things, or do you think there are different things that are keeping them up at night, or do you think of them in a different direction than what you might have just said?
Paul: I think there are common themes for the owners, the CEOs, and department leaders. To me, it just circles back to how difficult is it at the current moment in a market that, quite frankly, is confusing, I would say. There are various different data points that would lead you to believe that a variety of different factors are influencing the market at any given time. It's hard to know which way is up sometimes.
I still think that likely what keeps them up at night is am I going to have the right talent on my team to execute on the needs of the business and my key stakeholders. When I get that last minute request to shift the brand message or create a new comms piece, do I have the expertise on my team to be able to execute that in the timeline that has been requested? Typically, when a new project is layered into the existing group of initiatives, they don't subtract the project that the team is already working on. Sometimes that happens, but generally speaking, it's just additive workload. I would say that's kind of the first piece.
There is very much this sense, also, of what do I need to do to create the best environment for my employees such that I maximize my likelihood of retaining these individuals. It's about talent attraction and retention, and that's a shifting landscape. What used to be acceptable or considered "industry standard" as it relates to flexible work is a completely different dynamic now. I think not all CEOs or business owners have this previously established consortium of other people in similar roles that they can just reach out to and say, "We're thinking about doing this. Are you doing the exact same thing?"
I think they probably wish they did, because there's a lot of change and you want to make the decision that you feel is in the best interest of your employees and your clients. I think just the fact that that seems to be ever-changing and just at the end of the day you want to create a great environment for the people that work for your company and for your clients. I just think there's a lot of variability in that and you have to constantly adapt and redefine.
George: I love those last words you were using, adapt and redefine. I do agree that it is this shifting landscape that CEOs, owners, marketing managers need to pay attention to, and that there are cross-verticals, you are worrying about the same thing or some of the same things they are at different directions or different levels. What's fun about asking that question is you started to almost tiptoe into the next question that was in my brain that I wanted to ask. Again, whatever direction or directions you want to take this in is totally open, because I don't know, and maybe I do know. I don't know if I know or not, that's why I'm asking the question.
If people are actually paying attention to or thinking about this at the level that I'm going to ask versus I just need to get a butt in the seat, and many times that's it, "I need help, we have to get them in." Before you do that, slow down to speed up, Marketing Smarts listeners, and think about the answer that Paul gives to this question. What do B2B marketing managers (it could be any marketing manager) need to know in today's digital landscape, in today's ever-changing marketing ecosystem, what do they need to know to build a great marketing team in 2023 and beyond?
Paul: I think we try to discuss this with our customers on the front end of any engagement that we start to work on. For me, and you're going to continue to hear common themes in my answers, but I think what they need to know is that it's incredibly difficult to find the people that they need.
You referenced putting butts in seats. If you have a scenario where you need to go out and find an individual with a high level skillset that can deliver yesterday on a project based initiative that you have or something long term critical, if you don't have the ability to go through a process and evaluate a number of people and kick tires, and maybe have your first choice candidate take another job and then go back to the drawing board, it's really difficult to assume that you're going to be able to go out there, find a talented individual in very short order, plug and play, and off you go. That's not typically the way it works. I wish for our clients that it was. To some degree, I guess that's why they continue to reach out to us, because it is complicated.
I would say what they need to know, and so often what I think isn't taken into consideration, is you've heard the catchphrase The Great Resignation or The Great Reshuffle, it's tired at this point because people have been talking about it for a long time. Just thinking about that in real terms, our data indicates that 32% of marketing professionals are actively looking for their next opportunity and will accept another job before the end of the year. If you just take a step back and think about that, that means essentially one-third of your team could theoretically be looking for work at any given time.
What we often tell customers, especially when we connect with someone for the first time and they say, "We're in a good place, we don't need any talent, we're appropriately staffed on our initiatives," is the majority of the opportunities that we work on with customers were unanticipated at the time that the client reached out to us. Meaning they didn't know that they needed someone for this particular opportunity. You asked the question about when the client has a defined need and they're going out and looking for a person, that's challenging enough in and of itself, but then we can't lose sight of the fact that the majority of the needs are unanticipated.
Therefore, that makes things that much more difficult because, typically speaking, you're not only trying to find a great person to join the team, but you're trying to reallocate work that individual was doing before they left, which creates excess workload and potentially burnout, fatigue, decreased productivity for your existing team. So, sometimes it's not even just about how to go out and find that square peg for the square hole. It's really about how to anticipate what kind of stressors would theoretically motivate our team to start looking for something new, how we can address those on the front end and be more proactive about keeping our staff.
George: So good. It's interesting because you dove down real niche like, "Marketing team, one-third of your people could be thinking about walking out the door right now," and it led me to a question. I feel like we're going to pull out of that niche conversation and data point. Marketing Smarts listeners, you know me, I'm not a guy who typically looks backward. But I would be aloof if I didn't realize the last two to three years has dramatically changed the landscape that we've been in from a work scenario and a life scenario. It is what it is.
What I want to ask is the question, because you mentioned data. I'm sure you're looking at data on a daily basis, you're having conversations around this on a daily basis, it is your area of expertise, which is why you're on the show. Can you just paint a picture for the Marketing Smarts listeners of what you see around this conversation, what is happening in today's hiring market? It could be specific to marketing or it could just be overarching, like here are the two or three things that we're gleaning and learning. What is happening in today's hiring market?
Paul: The first piece, almost universally the feedback that we receive is that it's really hard to find top talent. I don't think that would surprise anyone. The percentage of respondents to a survey we conducted about the current state of the market indicated that 94% of marketing leaders said that it was still difficult to find top talent.
Then you go to how are we adjusting in order to be more competitive for the talent, 40% of marketing leaders said that they're increasing salaries for the same positions that they hired for last year, so they're now paying more for that skillset. Not uncommon, you hear a great deal about wage inflation and just the price point for various different marketing skillsets growing over the course of the time. But 52% of marketing leaders actually increased compensation for their existing team as a strategy to promote retention. That would be three data points that I think are really critical to take note of. I already referenced the percentage of employees that are potentially out there looking for their next opportunity.
I really think the shifting landscape as it relates to remote work flexibility is an interesting one, too. Organizations had different philosophies around remote work pre-pandemic. You go into the pandemic, then the vast majority of employers were 100% remote, not all, but most of them. Then you get back to a place where we are right now, where there's a lot of testing of the waters as it relates to flexible work. We have this conversation with clients all the time. I think it can be more common in small and midsize businesses, but it's not exclusive to SMBs, enterprise organizations as well, have an increasing motivation and desire to get people working on-site. Certainly, I understand it when they have to interface with critical stakeholders in a way that maybe can't be conducted virtually.
The difficult positions to fill become so much more difficult, and oftentimes more expensive, when a client lacks remote work flexibility because there really is no such thing as a local candidate anymore. If you're sitting in North Carolina, you are theoretically a candidate for opportunities anywhere in the United States, or the world, that are open to whatever time zone you prefer to work in. For that reason, the local market organizations can't just think about "what's my local talent pool," because your local talent pool is now sought after by organizations all across the country. We often tell clients whereas hybrid work at one point was considered to be progressive, it's less progressive today, it's more the bare minimum as it relates to the industry.
The last piece I would say is the thing that employers need to know about hybrid work is if you are 100% on-site or hybrid where you need someone to come into the office a couple days a week, you're dealing with almost the identical candidate pool. You might expand out a little bit if you go to hybrid, like someone that will maybe begrudgingly bite off the commute that's pretty horrific a couple days a week, but that's still going to shrink your candidate pool. Even though you may feel progressive because you're doing hybrid work, you're still cutting your candidate pool down significantly.
George: So much good information and interesting information around this topic of building marketing teams moving forward. It's funny because most of these questions thus far really have been aimed towards the owners, the CEOs, the marketing managers. This next one, though, I feel like it's a little bit more of a two-pronged fork, maybe more prongs.
When I ask this, I know that there are going to be the CEOs, the marketing managers, the owners that are going to be like, "If I listen to this question, I'm probably going to hear some knowledge about maybe who I want to think about hiring next if I don't hear that position in my team and I hear it in this conversation." Although, if you're a marketer paying attention to this, it also could be the prong of maybe I want to add that to my plethora of tools that I can do as a marketer and make myself of more what the market needs me to be. So, this could be multiple conversations on this one. With that said, I'm just going to get to the question because the listeners are like, "Come on, get to the good stuff, let's go."
The question is what marketing positions have you seen through the data and conversations are in demand now and in the foreseeable future?
Paul: I'm pleased to say there may have been a point where I would have given you a top three, but that's a hard thing to do at this moment because we see demand in a much more broad-based way across a variety of different disciplines, both up and down the marketing org. I would say just in terms of some of the most commonly placed functional roles for us and what our data suggests would be digital marketing manager, not sure that would surprise you, marketing manager, email marketing manager.
Certainly, we are seeing a great deal in the technology side of marketing, whether that's marketing automation or marketing cloud platforms, customization, implementation. We have seen an increasing demand in martech and clients just wanting to do more and better with whatever marketing tools they're using and how they're automating processes internally, so project management is also incredibly key. We see a great deal of project management on a contract basis and on a full-time basis to plug in the gaps.
I think that's something we've seen a nice uptick in is the contract demand for some of these skillsets as well. Where a client has a very specific project-based need where they're looking for someone to come in and just execute for a finite period of time. The full-time market has been viable for a very long time. We're very pleased to see contract usage expanding as well.
I would say some of those functional roles, marketing manager, digital marketing manager, automation, martech, and email marketing are really at the top of our list.
George: Those are some good ones right there. Hopefully, Marketing Smarts listeners, you're paying attention to did I have all of those or do I need all of those or what of those do I need.
I want to stick with the two-pronged conversational questions here for one more. This next question, I fully understand that CEOs, marketing managers, owners are going to be like, "What is my budget going to be to create this team as I move forward to do the things that I need to do?" On the other side of it, I can hear the marketers that are listening to this saying, "I have to get paid." Or not. It depends on what the answer to this question is, to be honest with you.
Really, I just want to talk about salaries. I know sometimes it's like the conversation that never happens, but we're here and I'm going to ask the question. With the data and conversations, how are salaries trending with the marketing field now and in the future?
Paul: I think it's a great question. It's a certainly timely one in that Robert Half just very recently released their 2023 Salary Guide, which I think is one of our best pieces of thought leadership that we release every year. Anyone that is interested in seeing that can go to our website and click on the marketing and creative section so you can see salary data and how particular skillsets are trending in your local market.
That's one of the nice parts about the guide is you can break it down to local variants depending on the skillset. You can see almost every skillset is seeing increases from a salary perspective. There are some, I would specifically say those tied to digital and the technology side are really experiencing some of the most explosive growth in terms of year-over-year salary change.
I indicated before, when you're thinking about 52% of marketing leaders, CEOs, and owners giving raises to their existing staff, that just continues to influence the market rate and the going rate. We always tell the candidates that we're working with whatever a candidate wants to be paid is one thing, what the market is telling you that you are worth is something else. The market continues to tell top marketing talent that they are worth more than they were worth yesterday, so we're hopeful that's a trend that continues.
It really does feel like, based on our salary guide data and all of the research that we've conducted with marketing leaders that the increases are being felt across the board. Again, it's either about adjusting internally and giving the appropriate raises, such that your competitive benchmark in compensation with your existing team is really one of the primary focal points that we reference when we're out there talking about the salary guide with our customers. What do they say in the NFL? The best offense is a good defense, or the best defense is a good offense. I think being proactive as it relates to compensation reviews, digging into the data.
You've asked the question a couple of times in the context of CEOs and marketing managers. I think sometimes one of the issues is the disconnect between an executive level leader, maybe the marketing leader that isn't part of the C-suite but tries to explain the current state of that market.
Think about the pandemic, for example. Marketing budgets were cut substantially in the early days of COVID, and then really quickly there was this realization that the best way for us to reach customers is going to be through whatever screen they're glued to on any given day, which was really the only way to reach them because people were just in their house by and large. So, then there was this feeding frenzy for talent once that realization was made that we need more digital talent than we've ever had before, so we have to go out and scramble to find these people.
I think that was a very recent memory for these teams. I guess the reason I bring it up is just the communication between the CEO and the marketing leader, I don't know if that's ever been more critical because it's important that the highest level business leaders understand the current state of the market from a compensation perspective, from a flexible work perspective, from just a variety of options that the talent has. If they're not on the same page, I think that's part of what sometimes can lead to issues with organizations.
George: Such a good micro or macro tip in there of the importance of communication across the C-suite and the marketing manager, whoever that may be, and just having that visualization into the reality that they now live in. Speaking of reality, I want to dive into where I think the rubber meets the road in this conversation. If we were talking about sales, we'd be like we're always focused on getting more leads, but all the revenue is going out the back door because we're not retaining it. But that can be true about the humans that are actually sitting at the desks doing the things that we do. My question to you, Paul, is what can companies do, how can marketing managers retain their top performers? What are some things, maybe other than salary, that they can do so people will feel like, "I'll never leave this place," and they'll have an affinity? Talk us through that a little bit.
Paul: I would say there's a number of things that I would point to. One would be we've already talked about competitive compensation, so I think that's a bit of a no-brainer.
One that we haven't discussed yet that I think is really critical is upscaling and professional development. I was recently at a networking meeting in San Diego where the topic was digital design, and we were in sort of the lunch section of one of the days and I was going around meeting various different people at these tables. It was unbelievable how many teams of digital designers were at this meeting with their leadership, clearly as a way for them to be shown that they are being invested in, that they're being developed, that the company is willing to put in the time, to have them not connected to their desk, not connected to their work, but learning new things, growing and developing as professionals. The common theme was there were teams of professionals that were there with their manager, and their manager was kind of watching them like hawks to make sure that they were there and not talking to recruiters or anything like that. It's like we want you to go and learn, but we maybe don't want you to network too much.
Another thing is we talked about flexible work, I think that one is critical. Understanding the landscape for flexible work. The on-site component of work is often tied to a need for managers to feel like they have more control over the work product and the productivity of their teams. Sometimes they feel that it is essential that an employee perform that work on-site. I think there really needs to be a re-evaluation for what essential work means. You've had teams of people that have demonstrated for multiple years now that they can be highly effective working in a remote way. What maybe previously seemed essential to be functions performed on-site is not really that way anymore.
The last thing I would bring up, and we talked about this before, we talked about communication a minute ago. Taking the time, and this is something that if you're not intentional about it, it's probably not going to happen, because we already talked about how much work is on the plate of these teams. Be intentional about sitting down. We tell teams to conduct retention interviews with their teams where you sit down with someone and you ask them, "How would you rate the quality of your experience on a scale of 1 to 10?"
It's a question that I ask in every review that I conduct with anyone that has ever worked for me because the answer to that question, even if someone tells you that it's an 8 or a 9, the things that don't make it a 10, the delta between the 8 and the 10 is why someone might theoretically find themselves in that 32% of employees that are looking for the next job. Anything short of a 10 is an opportunity to dig in and try to make the experience better for that employee.
You can't be afraid of the answer, you have to ask the question. You have to be proactive about your retention strategy. Something as simple as a good old-fashioned 1 to 10 is just incredibly eye-opening, so I think that's a great strategy that I'd recommend for marketing leaders.
George: I love that section so much. Marketing Smarts listeners, I think we might have reached the rewind point. That feels very much like a roadmap of things to pay attention to. Now that we have a roadmap, as you well know, sometimes we're on the road and there are big nasty gnarly potholes that get in our way. What are some of the potholes that you think marketing managers should be paying attention to and watching out for along the way? If we think about this conversation of how to build a great marketing team in 2023, what you need to know, what do they know that's going to give them a flat tire, stop the entire journey, take them off of the highway, what should they be watching out for?
Paul: It's a good question, and I think I could answer it in a variety of different ways. I think it still boils down to being proactive about thinking how to meet the customer where they are right now. Buying patterns are consistently changing and how a brand engages with their customers needs to change and evolve in order to meet those needs.
I would say that the market, even though it seems as though we're approaching the tail end of the pandemic, there is still so much change every single day as it relates to what is going on in the macro economy, what's going on with inflation, what's going on with the current state of jobs and jobs data, and that impacts the mindset of customers. I would say any decisions that are being made for 2023 as it relates to the marketing budget and how much to allocate to digital outreach, customer engagement, email marketing, you have to be so thoughtful about allocating resources appropriately to that section because if there's any motivation based on macro economic concern to look at marketing budgets and say, "Are there areas where we might potentially cut back from a spend perspective," I just think we've seen that movie before.
We've gotten back to a place where budgets look very similar to where they did pre-pandemic, which is I think exactly where they need to be, and they need to continue to grow and evolve for the marketing teams. That's creating potholes for yourself next year. If you aren't appropriately allocated to key marketing based initiatives in digital, in client engagement, in brand.
One thing I know about 2023 without having a crystal ball is it's going to throw us unexpected curveballs. There's no question. If we don't have budget built-in to adjust for those, that might be as it relates to the budget for talent, that might be as it relates to the budget for tools, but one thing is for sure, teams are going to need to continue to adapt and evolve.
George: Absolutely. Change is always consistent, so you know those curveballs are going to be coming. Let's flip the coin. We talked about potholes, aka hurdles. Let's just pretend we're at a different position, we're going to flip the coin, and we're going to talk about what success looks like. It might be you prop your legs up on your desk, you're sipping on a cold sweet tea or maybe a nice bourbon or whiskey, whatever you like to enjoy, no judgement here, but you're like, "We did it, we created a great marketing team." Things are plugging along the way they should.
How do we know that we've reached that, what does success look like with marketing teams in 2023?
Paul: I think it looks different for different organizations. I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all as it relates to what the team would consider to be successful. One group might have been somewhat dysfunctional in 2022 just trying to adapt to this year's changes, getting the right talent in place, creating campaigns at an appropriate pace, meeting the needs of the business, so just getting out of the storming phase and getting into a place where there's more of a band of predictability where you can meet the needs of the business is your success for next year.
I would say from the perspective of most of the leaders that we talk to, it's about being a step ahead of the business, it's about anticipating future business needs and having the skillsets already on board on your team, such that you're able to present to them ideas around here's how we're going to build our lead funnel, here are some of the marketing campaigns that we think are going to have the most ROI for us, here's how we're going to enable revenue growth and actually be a major driver and contributor to what is perceived to be the business upside and growth potential, we're perceived as a growth center for the organization.
I think anytime I meet with my marketing team and they present a project-based initiative that they've been working on for quite some time that addresses a future team, either for my team or for my customers, and it's an eye-opener for me, it's an a-ha, I didn't anticipate it, that to me feels like they are highly successful. That and we have to be realistic about how quickly campaigns should be turned around. Just the asks have exploded in the last couple of years in terms of how much content the business needs to be creating to communicate different brand messages.
You have a reasonable ask for what you're looking for content to be created, it gets turned around in a reasonable period of time, you know exactly who the key stakeholders are that you have to reach out to you in your marketing team, they're responsive, they really understand the business and they're delivering quality work product in a proactive and thoughtful way. I think that feels like success for me.
But I love when I hear about a new tool that will make my life so much easier that the marketing team has been researching for months, that they're now prepared to talk about implementing. I know that's what really excites my teams.
George: So good. I love this next question, it's the way that I always end the show. I've alluded to this and said it numerous times. You're having conversations, you're looking at the data, you're entrenched in this, it's a journey that you've been going through, so therefore you've learned some things, you have some wisdom. I always like to have our guests depart some of those words of wisdom to the Marketing Smarts listeners.
Around this conversation that we've had today about how to build a great marketing team in 2023, what you need to know, what are some words of wisdom that you'd like to leave the Marketing Smarts audience with today?
Paul: We talked about essential work as it relates to the flexible work conversation and making sure that clients are thoughtful about what work is essential to be performed on-site. I guess thinking about the concept of essential work, I think that marketers with a high level skillset are essential to the business right now in a way that is more undeniable than it has been in the past, and that it's important for you to know your worth. Pay attention to resources like our Salary Guide. Don't put yourself in a situation where you're willing to accept below market compensation.
Be proactive about discussing your career development. I referenced how to retain your staff, you ask the question about how are you feeling about the experience on a scale of 1 to 10, but I think it's important for marketing professionals to proactively schedule conversations with their leadership where they're asking about their career progression, they're asking about how their work quality is currently being perceived. If you were to score my work performance on a scale of 1 to 10, what does that look like?
I think sometimes the turnover that marketing teams experience are because professionals don't understand what their opportunity looks like moving forward. What's the next step for you? How will you be developed moving forward? How will you grow? When you get to this place of essential value-add to the organization, you can be proactive about asking those questions. It's on the mind of your leadership, they're thinking about ways to retain you, so don't be afraid in your reviews to ask about where you're going and how you're doing.
You never want to give the impression that you're looking past today's work, so that's important, too, that you make sure that you communicate the fact that you're incredibly focused on delivering high level work product today. But I would say be proactive about those career discussions and know your worth.
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Published on November 17, 2022
Paul Flaharty, executive director of the marketing and creative practice at global talent solutions firm Robert Half, which connects professionals with companies hiring in marketing, creative, digital, advertising and public relations. His primary responsibility is to develop and oversee the growth strategy for the company's marketing and creative contract talent solutions teams across the United States. Flaharty is a spokesperson for Robert Half and frequently quoted expert on various hiring trends and workplace topics. A graduate of Cornell University, Flaharty is now based in Los Angeles and is proud to be raising two incredible children.
LinkedIn: Paul Flaharty
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