Hiring a Digital Marketer? Look for the T


Looking for a digital marketing specialist, must know –

  • SEO
  • SEM
  • Social Media
  • Blogging
  • E-mail Marketing
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Mobile Advertising
  • Conversion Optimization
  • Media Buying
  • Lead Nurturing
  • Content Marketing
  • Growth Hacking
  • Gardening, Plumbing, Dog Walking and

Candidates with ability to perform open heart surgery during coffee break will be an added plus!

If you are a digital marketer looking for a job, this is what you see on most job boards these days. How can anyone specialize in more than 20 traffic sources! It is not even funny. With the exponential growth of internet and its ability to drive exposure and generate business, recruiters and traditional marketing teams are looking for candidates with skill sets they don’t fully understand themselves.

Dear CMOs, STOP your recruiters. It is not just a far-fetched expectation, it is borderline fantasy.

Back in 2008, while looking for our first employees at our digital marketing agency, I remember being confused about finding talent in a region where digital marketing was unheard of. One of the exercises we did back then was to split up all the activities of a digital marketer and find someone whose skills matched close to our needs. For example, to hire an SEO, we would look for someone who

  • Has good command over the English language
  • Knows how to use Google really well (quickly find information online)
  • Surfs the web and reads a lot online (ability to scan content and understand what’s between the lines real fast)
  • Patience for data entry (collecting data and building lists)

The additional skills of on-page, off-page, technical analysis and everything else important to SEO could then be taught through checklists, templates and e-books. This worked our really well for us for many years.

In 2016, the marketing world has become much more complex and digital marketers must work with other departments including but not limited to – traditional marketing, customer service, account managers, product owners, talent acquisition and external agencies providing specialist services. So, what should the modern marketing team look like? It should essentially be a team of individuals, each with their own specialization and the ability to work with their skilled colleagues.

The T-shaped marketer

As the Indian digital marketing industry matures, CMOs must understand the need of hiring more T shaped marketers; highly specialized individuals in one or two skills with a broad understanding of the entire digital marketing spectrum. Look for the depth of knowledge and cross discipline of competence.


Isn’t it possible to be a jack of all trades and master of few? Marketers who understand digital marketing and specialize deep in one or two disciplines are a better hire than someone who has a broad theoretical knowledge across domains.

Sometimes it is important to take a step back from all the jargon and look at something for what it is. Who is a digital marketer? Someone who understands the audience and makes them aware about the existence of a product/service that will make their life easier? You do not advertise hot-rods on a fitness magazine, do you?!

A modern marketer needs to understand and think like his consumer.  This brings unique challenges to the CMO in terms of training, KPIs and recruitment. How do you think a modern marketing team should be structured? How does it work (or not) in your organization? Sound off below!

Thoughts? Questions?

One response to “Hiring a Digital Marketer? Look for the T”

  1. Siju Avatar

    My first job as an SEO consultant was too similar as you mentioned in your post. Instead of asking Digital Marketing questions, they asked my knowledge in HTML and PHP. Luckily I knew HTML coding (just beginner level knowledge) and replied programming concepts with my knowledge in C and CPP (from college). They actually had no idea what an SEO does. They just recruited me to satisfy the client’s requirement for an SEO consultant.

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