Graduates in red cap and gowns celebrating.
PHOTO: Germanna CC

A number of marketing leaders are likely tell you how important it is to invest in your actual marketers, more so than your marketing technology. However, some numbers indicate organizations don’t always agree, at least when it comes to marketing spend. Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey 2018-2019 found marketing technology (martech) accounts for the biggest slice of the marketing spend budget — 29%. Meanwhile, only 24% goes to labor. Maybe it’s time organizations pool more resources into “martalent” rather than martech?

Some organizations are certainly trying to look appealing to the next generation of marketing talent. Of course, a good deal of their efforts comes down to money. How much are you paying your marketers? Salary alone may not be the most appealing thing about a company. though (unless you still live with your parents). 

“I know that it’s not only money that drives peoples’ decisions to join companies in today’s market," Infor CMO Ashley Hart said. "Marketers want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, work in an environment that fosters community, have projects that they feel will excite them and, ultimately, adds to their personal growth.” 

Beyond your salary scales, how much effort are you actually putting into getting marketers through the door? What are some of your recruiting techniques and challenges? We caught up with some marketing leaders who live those challenges daily.  

Recruiting Talent Is Hard

If you find yourself in a company that sits in a US tech hub, it’s going to be hard getting the right talent through the door. And it’s not just Silicon Valley that has intense competition — as we know, Silicon Valley companies tend to expand

“Particularly in tech hubs — Boston, NYC, San Francisco, Austin — recruiting talent is insanely hard,” said Sam Melnick, VP of marketing at Allocadia, whose headquarters is Vancouver, BC. “Organizations are moving beyond perks, and sometimes even compensation, to providing the ability to own their practice. The practice could be an entire department or just their specialized area in SEO or marketing automation. This absolute ownership gives marketers the ability to take control of their careers while also getting the benefits of learning in a larger team setting.”

Related Article: Compensation Matters in the War for Talent

Employee Experience is Important

Melnick said the best marketing teams will have success recruiting talent by providing a solid marketer experience. “So many CMOs are now focused on the customer experience, and rightfully so, and now they have to shift their attention to creating an amazing work experience for those employees who deliver this customer experience, the marketers.”

Melnick cited the following red flags as bad marketer experience:

  • Distracted work that has marketers spending too much time in spreadsheets or disparate systems.
  • Lack of purpose by not communicating the end goal or "the why" in their work.
  • Not providing the tools and insights to do their jobs well.

Related Article: 5 Tips to Help Win the War for Tech Talent 

Make Marketing Departments More Attractive

Infor’s marketing team wanted the department to be attractive, naturally, and did some restructuring to address what they’ve learned drives marketers, Hart said. “When I joined Infor as CMO in 2018, I wanted us to create and exhibit a marketing department of diversity and inclusion, and give our employees clear ownership of responsibilities, but work together in a cross-functional team culture to build a strong creative community within our organization,” Hart said.

Here’s a snapshot of what the company has done to become appealing to marketers:

  • Added new departments: product marketing, global events, marketing analytics, digital marketing and an internal marketing creative agency to build all brand assets for broadcast, digital, print and out-of-home (OOH) advertising. 
  • Launched new marketing programs, such as Infor Core, a crowd-sourcing platform to foster ideation, not only from the marketing team, but to allow anyone in the company to offer ideas on how to build a better Infor culture, whether it is ideas for products, culture or interoffice interactive fun contests. 
  • Continuously adding to its martech stack to have the most modern technologies at its disposal.
  • Building mentorship programs “to make sure that the next generation of marketers succeed at having long careers at Infor.”
  • Introducing a new diversity initiative called Diversity Tech Hiring Fest, a joint partnership that Infor launched with other enterprise-level and fast-growth tech companies. 

“I believe that talent is looking for a holistic experience at a company that offers them a positive community environment, projects that will inspire them, and career growth opportunities,” Hart said. “We want to offer all of that at Infor to make us stand out from the competition.” 

Proof Is in Marketing Results

Showing what her marketing team is capable of has worked in recruiting for Denise Persson, CMO at Snowflake. "The reputation and performance of our marketing efforts are what attracts the best marketers to Snowflake,” she said. “Our goal is to be the most customer-centric brand in the cloud computing industry as well as driving an insane alignment with our sales organization. We’re looking for marketers who bring a unique super strength to our team and an extraordinary ability to make things happen. Thinking big, getting it done and putting customers first, are core values we live by every day.”

“Focusing on what matters” is a mantra of her team, Persson added. “The fact that we’re accountable for driving at least 80% of our pipeline is what attracts revenue-marketers to join Snowflake,” she said. “We’re also pushing the boundaries in terms of using technology and data to drive the performance of our own marketing programs.”

Exposure also helps. Snowflake marketers are often presenting at marketing conferences and leading user groups on data-driven marketing, she said, and that is helping it appeal to marketers.

Related Article: Want to Attract Top Talent? Remember the Golden Rule 

People Want to Work With the Best

Ultimately, the reality is most marketing organizations will probably never be done recruiting new talent. Fact is, a marketing position is a high-turnover one and has been for at least 20 years, according to Marketing Week findings

“Getting the word out there is often as simple as doing great marketing,” Melnick said. “Marketers want to work on high performing and innovative teams. Nothing highlights that better than a great campaign, a speaking slot, or innovative use of technology. To an extent it’s a bit of a flywheel. The best want to work with the best.”