Why don’t we treat marketers like developers?

Today I read Digital Marketers: Say These 20 Things At Tech Events To Appear Really, Really Smart by The Office Guy™(yeah, that’s his Medium name). Two sentences especially caught my attention:

The fundamental issue here is that ‘digital marketer’ is apparently an all-encompassing term, like ‘coder.’ Unlike ‘coder’, however, when you are called a digital marketer, you are expected to know all the nuances of digital marketing.

Digital marketers and coders have a lot in common:

  • Both require analytical skills.
  • The most successful are highly creative.
  • An A+ performer is better than 10 B+ performers.

And yet we ask them different interview questions. We look for different skills on resumes.

We look for developers with aptitude

When I’m hiring developers I don’t care what programming languages they know. Great developers can learn any new language. Standards, platforms, libraries — it all just changes too fast.

I care how they think, solve problems, and what they’ve done.

We look for marketers with proven success

For some reason we evaluate marketers differently. Maybe “growth hacking” has created an expectation marketers have some magical, easy way to get lots of new customers.

We ask about tactics. We ask about results. We expect them to know how every latest “growth hack” would work in our businesses.

Don’t believe me? Spend some time looking at LinkedIn profiles for digital marketers. Almost all have stories of “got [big number] of new customers in [no time at all] with [practically no money] using [buzzword bingo] campaign.”

(I don’t blame the candidates — they are just responding to what prospective employers are asking.)

I’m going to talk to marketers like developers

I’m going to make a conscious effort to ask digital marketers better interview questions. I’m going to focus on how they run experiments, plan, and evaluate results and stop talking about the last campaign at hot startup X.

I don’t need someone who knows every digital marketing nuance — just someone who can run the best campaigns for my business.


Originally published at ScribbleIQ Blog.

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