marketing manager presenting new business strategy to his employees
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The 5,000-plus marketing technologies are useless without good marketing managers behind them implementing successful campaigns. But many can attest that it isn't easy getting the right fit into the door. The industry includes plenty of competition for marketing managers for your organization. The number of jobs available for marketers seem astronomical. Lisa Schneider, chief digital officer at Merriam-Webster, wrote in the The Hired Guns she always looks for marketers with creativity and initiative. "It’s great if you can do what your manager tells you to. It’s even better if you can spot an issue, generate a solution, and bring that to the table on your own," she wrote.

What should you look for in a marketing manager? Here are 4 considerations that our sources say are necessary to be a successful marketer today.

Communication is Key

Marketing at its core is creating a campaign and telling a story that elicits a measurable response, according to Christopher Viscomi, director of Aliste Marketing Placement Services (AMPS) for Aliste Marketing. "As a marketing agency we understand the necessity of being our clients' advocates, providing ideas and direction for their marketing ROI and partner that with our placement services, AMPS, where the number one skill we look for in recruitment is the ability to hold a meaningful conversation," Viscomi said.

You want to know what kind of marketing manager you're hiring. Not just their skills and knowledge in the marketing discipline itself, but rather the type of person you'll be inviting into your organization. And you won't find out much with canned interview questions. "During an interview, the majority of people are trying to be on their best behavior, keep eye contact and formulate the perfect response to questions. The stress level can be high, especially if the position is extremely competitive and they aren't familiar with the interviewer," Viscomi said. 

That means you have to strive to have a real dialogue. Avoiding the typical interview questions can mitigate those with perfectly-rehearsed answers. "We uncover a person's real personality and comfortability with stress and new people by just talking. When a candidate can hold a stimulating conversation that is clear and provides insight into the questions you're asking, that is when we can truly match their skill with a position," Viscomi said.

Marketing succeeds, Viscomi added, "when it delivers the company's story or brand to their target audience. Ensuring that a marketing manager is able to clearly communicate allows your messages to be delivered in an impactful and conversational way."

Related Article: Stop Trying to Hire 'Digital Marketers'

Excellent Writing Skills

Let's not forget about the timeless skill of articulating the written word.  According to Michele Szabocsik, VP of marketing for BlueConic, If she had to choose between adding a graphic designer or a strong writer to her team, she would pick the writer every time. "It doesn’t matter which aspect of marketing you’re in — product marketing, demand generation, event marketing, corporate marketing — we all write, all the time. If we can’t effectively communicate through writing, then we won’t succeed as marketers. So whether you’re developing a product sheet, a video script, an email subject line, an event abstract, or an infographic, it all starts with clear and concise writing."

Intellectual Curiosity

Szabocsik said she looks for people who don’t shy away from the "mad scientist within them." You want a worker who is always looking to test new ideas, but in a structured way that allows iteration and improvement.

According to her, attitude and aptitude are equally important when searching for the right marketing manager. "You can teach someone the mechanics of marketing, but you can’t teach them to be intellectually curious. I look for team members that possess the innate curiosity to dig a little deeper, as opposed to just going through the motions. They consider all the possibilities. And if something works or doesn’t work, they are driven to find out why," Szabocsik said.  

Related Article: 4 Emerging Job Roles in Marketing and Digital Experience

Thinks Outside the Box

That sounds like a cliche, but marketers need to fight the urge to stick with what's comfortable every day in order to stay competitive, according to Szabocsik. "I’m constantly looking for ways to make sure our internal processes, as well as external marketing campaigns are efficient, effective and relevant. Sometimes that means adopting new technologies and processes that go outside of our day-to-day comfort zone. So I look for team members that aren’t afraid to evolve and learn new things. I also look for them to bring their own fresh ideas to the team based on their own experiences," she added.

Aliste's recruiters carefully vet every marketing candidate by asking them how they would promote a specific business or encourage them to share an idea they had to help enhance an idea, Viscomi said. "The reason this question is exciting is for the simple fact that each candidate can shed light on how they brainstorm ideas or find inspiration for out-of-the-box campaigns," Viscomi said.  This approach encourages candidates to highlight their experiences and creativity, which can be a solid indicator of how they might collaborate or work with your team.