Will Your Marketing Team Thrive or Fail Under These 3 Trends?

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You’ve seen first-hand the exponential growth in the digital marketing industry. Unfortunately, the high demand for marketing talent who can address this transformation of the industry has revealed a tangible shortage of candidates. As a result, even leading marketing teams acknowledge that they aren’t reaching their recruitment goals. The hunt for marketing candidates is often in vain.


However, we believe that the core trends influencing the marketing industry are simultaneously changing the hiring profile of the best marketing talent. Understanding these trends will inevitably change the way you recruit the professionals who can successfully address your business objectives.  


1.      The Power of “Whole-Brained” Talent

You’ve probably heard someone described as left-brained or right-brained, but have you heard of a person referred to as “whole-brained”? According to a recent study by McKinsey, many companies have begun searching for talented individuals with left- and right-brain skills in an effort to more deeply integrate different marketing functions. In this new approach, creativity and data are equal partners.


Historically, data and creativity have been at odds. You might know this as the “ideas vs. numbers” or “emotion vs. logic” dilemma – the first is hard to measure from a business perspective, but the second struggles to be relevant and engaging to an increasingly demanding audience. However, as the marketing industry has advanced, the idea that creativity and data are adversaries has become outdated.


Today, “whole-brain” marketing professionals, who have the skill to integrate data and creativity in a single role, are innovating the marketing department. These are individuals who are simultaneously creative and logical – and they’re also nimble enough to interface with colleagues of a variety of different backgrounds and functions. It’s a combination that enables them to more effectively drive brand growth, improve performance, and engage the customer experience.


This fundamentally changes the hiring profile of most marketing functions. Hiring a creative director or a data scientist with traditional backgrounds and perspectives simply isn’t enough. A “whole-brained” marketing professionals has elements of both functions even if they lean more heavily towards just one. This will change where companies look for talent and how they assess their skillsets. Adjusting their recruitment strategy accordingly is critical for success.


2.      The Growth of Cross-Functional Teams

Breaking down the walls between creative and logical skillsets is also a trend at the team-level. Many companies are pushing the envelope on what it means to enable collaboration between creatives and technologists, choosing an agile marketing model in which they create small, highly-focused, cross-functional teams.


These high-performance teams are staffed with talent from a traditional marketing background as well as people in fields such as IT and operations. Tasked with executing on one specific business objective, they’re simply faster, thanks to a unified view of the customer, eliminated data siloes, reduced inter-departmental bottlenecks, and more seamless testing and integration. Ultimately, new ideas can more quickly be brought to market.


This agile model is especially well suited for the growing trend of personalized marketing. Although personalization has been a buzzword in the marketing industry for years, 2019 could be the year marketers finally deliver more mature personalized marketing strategies, thanks in part to the collaborative effort between creatives and data-focused functions.


While there are many benefits to the cross-functional agile model, searching for marketing talent suited to this unconventional structure can be challenging. Although their experience may be more traditional, qualities like curiosity, emotional intelligence, and natural leadership ability should be top of mind, as these skills will enable them to successfully integrate into diverse teams. Overall, cross-functional marketing teams are here to stay, and adapting your talent search to this new model will be essential to staying competitive in the digital marketing environment.  


3.      The Rise of Ethical Marketing

Finding the right balance between creativity and data is critical, but we can’t mention the increase of data in marketing without also considering its consequences. Used right, data can massively improve the reach of marketing strategies, but companies must gather a comprehensive knowledge of consumer data privacy and security. A growing number of regulations acknowledge that customers want to know how their data is protected and how it is used.


At this point, everyone should be familiar with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that was implemented in 2018. Similarly, California’s 2020 privacy law requires companies to meet certain principles and conditions regarding data collection and storage. With continuing data privacy concerns and increased regulation likely, companies that implement data privacy protections now will be better prepared for future success.

To earn consumers’ trust, marketers should be focused on ethical data collection and management. However, this is still a relatively new area of expertise, and many companies have been slow to adjust their hiring profiles accordingly. Making the change and recruiting talent with knowledge of data security will help guide companies’ ethical data management strategies.


The landscape of the marketing field continues to shift under the weight of powerful trends. Proactively building a team with talent who can withstand this transformation and pioneer a way forward is critical to the success of your business.


At Brightwing, we believe that finding the kind of individuals who can achieve your marketing goals depends upon relationships, intuition, and experience – we call it “recruiting, reimagined.” We’re on the forefront of the market, keeping in touch with trends like these so we can bring you insights and advice to help you stay competitive.


For more research, check out the Brightwing 2019 Hiring Insights in Marketing guide today.