Hiring Marketing Talent? Why Strategy Matters.

Hiring marketing or content marketing talent?So, you’re in the market for a strategic marketing professional. You’ve screened hundreds of applicants, and it’s down to the handful you’ve picked to invite in for interviews. But this is an inherently creative position, and cookie-cutter interview questions about an applicant’s past experience or about their evaluation of their own qualifications might not give you enough insight to pick the right man or woman for the job.

In my experience as head of communications for organizations in industries as diverse as healthcare, energy and education, I had a favorite question I would ask every applicant. A variation of that question would be one I’d highly recommend to anyone interviewing for a marketing professional of any kind.

It would go something like:

“We’d like to do a better job of engaging our target audience through Facebook. How would you do that?”

Asked this question, some applicants would jump right in, developing a generic strategy on the spot, utilizing everything they’d learned in every marketing class from college and marketing meeting in previous jobs. Often, these candidates would demonstrate a fair understanding of some fundamental marketing concepts. But the answer I would want to get to that question would go something like:

“Well, before I can answer that, I’d have a few questions for you— who, specifically, are you trying to reach and what, specifically, are you trying to achieve?”

I would use this type of question as a way of exploring whether the applicant takes a strategic or tactical approach to marketing decisions. Far too often, the responses I received were tactical. They’d describe what they would do on Facebook (or whatever channel or tool I presented them with), rather than taking the time to step back and consider the situation before jumping to a solution.

This may seem like a borderline “gotcha” question, but it exposes something important about the person answering it. Any marketing professional can come up with some basic marketing techniques and recite “best practices.” But when it comes to finding a truly strategic marketing professional, you want to find someone who thinks before they dive in and who has the wherewithal to evaluate where your organization is at before telling you where they think it should be going.

Strategy matters!

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About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We are adept at evaluating and analyzing communication efforts and working with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content, through both on- and offline media to achieve desired results. Our background in business journalism, marketing, PR/media relations and online communications makes us well-positioned to serve the needs of 21st-century marketers.

We serve clients who are looking for help creating content for a wide array of channels—from social media posts to full-length manuscripts, and everything in between. We focus primarily on service-related B2B topics and work with a number of independent consultants interested in building their thought leadership through online channels. For ongoing content management, our first step is to fully understand your goals, objectives and competitive landscape.

Then we’ll conduct a thorough analysis and assessment of your digital presence, compared to competitors, and recommend a communication strategy to achieve your goals. But, we also regularly take on individual projects – white papers, blog posts, contributed articles, etc. If you’re interested in learning more, let us know!

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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