The One Trait to Look for in Your Next Marketing Hire

October 6, 2015 at 11:36 AM by Kathleen de Lara


For some recruiters, the proverbial question remains the same: If marketers don't market themselves, do they really make a sound?

With just one more day until we kick off the third part of our series on hiring every person for your company, we linked up with Mindjet's Melissa Matlins to answer this question, and to find out the key to hiring a team of marketers built to adapt to an ever-changing customer landscape.

Who do you need to hire to effectively brand your company? What types of marketers should you anticipate to hire in the next five years? How can managers identify strong candidates fit for the role even if they don't come from a marketing background?

Here's what we learned. 

As someone who's been in the space for about 13 years, what are the biggest changes you've observed?

Marketing technology has completely transformed the landscape. New tools have made it easier than ever before to connect with buyers, but with great power comes great responsibility. A buyer today expects a relevant, personalized marketing experience, throughout their relationship with the company. Delivering on this requires data and analytic capabilities that just weren't a part of the marketing skills mix just a few years ago. The nature of content and messaging has also changed, and become a lot more personalized and customized.

What skills are you looking for in candidates now that you weren't looking for five years ago?

I'm looking for people with analytical skill sets and a buyer/customer persona-first mentality. The departure point for any marketing program shouldn't be, "What do I need to get 'out there'?" but instead, "How will I connect with and help my potential customers today, and what data and insights can I leverage to be as personalized and relevant as possible?" It's an experimenter's mindset, not a program manager’s mindset.

Most underrated skill set in candidates without a marketing background?

Curiosity. I love marketing, growth, and ops candidates without experience in marketing.


It's much more important they come in with an optimization mindset, an adaptable skill set, and a track record of setting specific goals.

Curiosity helps, because asking "Why?" will help you eliminate preconceived notions of what works in marketing. Frankly, given the trove of data most marketers are sitting on and have access to, we have no idea what might potentially work better or differently until we try new things. I love being surprised.

What are you up to? What excites you most about marketing?

Today, I'm heading up demand generation, growth, and marketing/sales operations at Spigit/Mindjet. There are so many new ways to engage with buying audiences today, it's exciting to leverage these new forms of engagement, drive adoption of new products, and drive and scale growth for companies.

What's the next trend in marketing?

I'm really excited about some of the new personalization tools rising on the market now – tools to get to the level of answering questions about what matters to a company, an individual, where and when people want to engage, and why.

These tools will reshape marketing practices for the next decade. There's definitely a talent crunch in this area. Many of these tools are new, most marketers have yet to even try them, and they don't fit very well into the traditional agency skill set.

On the content front, I'm really excited about the authentic nature of branded content. I think companies are getting dramatically better at telling stories, and leveraging mobile and web tools to deliver them in new ways. Companies are already filling a sizable content gap left by traditional media, and often play a key part in the knowledge and skill building of functional business audiences, including marketers.

Melissa Matlins is the VP of Demand Generation and Global Marketing Operations at Mindjet, a software company that helps enterprises and individuals innovate and solve business problems. Prior to Mindjet, Melissa founded Moment, a marketing practice that works with entrepreneurs to scale and grow marketing tech, programs, and teams. She has also held marketing leadership roles at numerous technology companies in both San Francisco and New York.

Save your seat for How to Hire a Marketing Team to learn the key hiring techniques for finding and engaging the best marketers (and non-marketers) for your team! On the flip side, if you're looking for recruiters, salespeople, or engineers, we likely have something for you, too.

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