The Secret Ingredients to the Perfect Demand Marketing Technologist (And Why The Role is So Crucial for Your Business)
It’s no big surprise, marketing is expected to do more today than ever before. No longer is marketing only responsible for brand and events – it’s now responsible for generating leads and tying performance back to impact on revenue. It’s a big shift in the marketplace and has been made possible, in part, by the emergence of demand marketing technology and technologist.
Demand marketing technology isn’t new, nor is its impact on how companies can achieve growth. What started with a need to reach buyers in an online world has ballooned into more than 7,000 marketing technology tools to choose from. According to Scott Brinker, the average marketer uses 100 different pieces of software in a given month — and they don’t even think about 90 of them. They just use them!
But what’s happened is that, as more technologies enter the market, companies just keep buying the next new thing, or the thing that their latest demand marketing team member is familiar with, or the thing that will solve one specific problem… This can result in a team of highly specialized demand marketing technologists that are either struggling to put the pieces together, or lacking an efficient tech stack altogether. Even worse, it can result in these roles spending all of their time merging and managing technologies instead of doing great marketing.
To reach a strategic demand marketing state, you absolutely must have a team of demand marketing technologists that are capable of tying the pieces together to provide end-to-end visibility of your buyer’s journey. That requires some pretty specific skills and capabilities, so we put together the top three things to consider as you’re building out your team and offer a short job description to get you started.
Three Things to Consider Before You Make a Hire
As you’re building out your team, make sure to assess your current technology strategy before making a hire. If your current strategy isn’t working, then neither will the person who was hired to support it. Consider if you need to make any big changes first by thinking about these three aspects.
1. What marketing automation platform is currently in place, and how well is it working?
The answer to this question will impact who you hire. Many people in the marketing technology field specialize in a particular marketing automation platform. The person you hire to fill your role should have experience in the platform you use. But if you’ve outgrown your current marketing automation platform and have plans to evaluate other options, discuss this with potential candidates during the interview (especially if you’d like this hire to be involved in the vendor evaluation process). Make sure that you’re assessing your current automation tool with a critical eye and understand if it’s able to track the information you need to really understand your customer’s journey both from a quantitative and qualitative perspective.
2. How built out is the architecture within those platforms, and how mature are your reporting capabilities?
What are the key performance indicators that your demand marketing team uses? Are you looking primarily at email open and click rates, and web analytics? Or, do you have a mature lead funnel in which you’re able to track conversion rates throughout all stages, from acquisition to closed won, and tie marketing touchpoints directly to closed won revenue? The former is something that’s generally available out of the box with most marketing email platforms and something that any marketing technologist should be able to handle. The latter requires a large amount of strategy, design, and build-out to get it right, and experience is key. If your team is not quite able to report on marketing contributions from a dollar perspective yet, hire someone who has experience designing and building the architecture conducive to producing these types of metrics.
3. What is your current team structure like, and where would this person fit in?
How your current team is organized will have a big impact not only on who you hire, but on the overall success of your demand technology strategy. For example, is your team structured in such a way that one person owns the MAP, MarTech stack, and governance for the entire team? If that’s the case then are you hiring for that role – or are you hiring for a power user that will execute according to the established governance?
Another example to consider is if your company has a decentralized marketing operations team and each business unit/product group/channel specialist owns its own marketing technology stack. If that’s the case, where does this new hire come into play and what sort of support will he or she need when executing against his or her own tasks?
It’s important to understand how your hire will fit into the larger team structure before you even begin the candidate search. If you skip this step, you risk hiring someone who will walk into an undefined role. Make sure there’s a clear understanding of what the needs are for the marketing ops team and where within this structure the new hire will fit.
What To Look For When Hiring a Marketing Technologist
Now that you’ve assessed your current demand marketing technology strategy and understand how this hire will fit into the big picture, it’s time to start looking at candidates. Before you even begin the hunt, align on priorities and make sure it’s clear – both internally and externally – what you’re looking for.
How to Assess a Candidate’s Background
Things to look for:
- Look for someone who has a certification in the platform(s) you use. For example, prioritize someone who is a Marketo Certified Expert, Eloqua Master, or SFDC Certified Administrator.
- Consider if your candidate is involved in their local MAP user community. The field is ever changing and staying on top of latest developments and trends while actively learning how others are using the tool is important. A candidate that attends local user group meetings, network events, or online user communities is interested in staying ahead of the curve, which means that your company will stay ahead too.
- Assess a candidate’s ability to articulate technical ideas to a non-technical audience. A strategic technology approach involves a lot of cross-functional teamwork and your hire absolutely must be able to clearly communicate with coworkers, stakeholders, and clients without leaning on tech jargon.
Things that don’t matter as much as one would think:
- A candidate’s college major isn’t as important as you’d think, especially given that there isn’t a perfect major for this type of work. A combination of technological and strategic skills can be gained outside the classroom and may come from a major that you’d least expect.
- Because the marketing technology landscape is constantly evolving, total years in the workforce isn’t necessarily important. As long as your candidate has proven experience executing against the types of challenges your company faces, it doesn’t matter how long he or she has been working as a technologist. After all, five years ago we didn’t even have literally thousands of the tools that we have now.
Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Candidate
What types of key performance indicators have you leveraged to gauge success of demand marketing tactics?
- Responses that include conversion to closed won revenue, lead conversion rates, or channel contribution to revenue are signs that your interviewee has experience with a more mature demand marketing operations team and thus will think about outcomes automatically.
What type of mechanism do you use to track content and channel attribution?
- There are many ways to architect this. Organizations may use Salesforce campaign membership, custom fields, or some combination. If you’d like your new hire to be able to build or maintain this type of mechanism for your team, they should be able to explain how it works on their current team.
How would you go about testing something that’s been built within a marketing automation platform?
- Your candidate must understand the importance of testing all programming built within an MAP or CRM platform and should be able to speak to how they might test something that they built.
How would you go about trouble-shooting a problem with the bi-directional sync of records between your MAP and CRM? (For example, you have a 100% bi-directional sync, but there is a large volume of records that lives in one platform but not the other.)
- This is a common scenario that a demand marketing technologist may come across. There could be a number of issues causing it – a permissions issue with the MAP integration user in your CRM; a field specific issue with incorrect picklist values or validation rules; an issue with the custom sync filter, if there is one. Candidates should be able to name a few go-to checks they might run, before working with their CRM team for further trouble-shooting.
After the Hire: Building Out a Team
Hiring the right demand marketing technologist is crucial to achieving a strategic demand marketing state and it will likely take multiple hires to build out a full team. While each individual member should think strategically and understand how all the pieces come together to create a cohesive, end-to-end view of a buyer’s journey, you will still need some level of individual specialization. As you continue to hire, it’s mission-critical to continue looking for candidates that think strategically, have experience building the type of architecture you need, and have the capability to build reporting mechanisms that track impact on revenue. And if, along the way, you find that you need a more buyer-centric strategy to drive growth, then don’t rely on your marketing ops team to work magic – hire a partner to guide your organization through a Demand Marketing Transformation and align people, process, content, data, and technology around the buyer.