3 Important Things You Probably Don’t Know about Marketing Executive Search

— April 5, 2017

Marketing leadership has never been more important, so it’s surprising how little thought is put towards what actually goes into finding and hiring senior marketing management.


Businesses often don’t consider the nuances and difficulties involved in recruiting the right executives for their marketing teams. Likewise, experienced marketers are frequently confused by how involved the process can be when they start considering new career opportunities.


Here are some of the places I see that surprise professionals most frequently.


It’s WAY Different from Executive Search in Other Fields


Executive search is a well-developed and important corporate discipline that serves every business function that has senior leadership, from accounting to HR. So what makes recruiting a new COO or CFO radically different from finding a new Chief Marketer or other marketing leader?


Simple: marketing is evolving at a much more rapid pace than any other business pillar. Our field is widely believed to have evolved more in the last two years than the previous 50 put together. And that makes finding and hiring great leadership in this area a special challenge that requires a special approach.


Because marketing is getting more complex by the day, it’s increasingly difficult for regular executive recruiters and HR teams to identify top leaders. How can you find a great marketing executive when your understanding of marketing is outdated. That’s part of why there are so many bad marketing executive hires these days (and, by extension, why the CMO has the shortest tenure in the C-suite).


Hiring vs Headhunting


For many roles, businesses will rely on inbound applications to job postings to fill their ranks. That’s often not a great strategy for key marketing executive roles.


The responsibilities of a modern marketing leader are numerous, and the costs of having the wrong person in charge are high. Most organizations can’t afford to assume that a good candidate will jut fall in their lap—they have to be proactive in scouring the talent market for top talent.


That top talent is often already employed (frequently by a competitor). So something called marketing executive headhunting must be used to discretely find, engage, and entice this talent with a new opportunity.


It Will Probably Take Way Longer Than You Think


Marketing moves fast these days. It’s important for departments and agencies to be flexible and nimble to react to market changes and emerging trends. Real-time adjustments can make or break a campaign, and consumers expect constant, live engagement from prominent brands.


However, executive searches can be quite lengthy. It’s not uncommon for one to last nine months or more.


A variety of factors influence time-to hire: quality and experience of the recruiter, the location of the job, the industry, the scarcity of talent, and even plain luck.


That wait can throw a massive wrench in the plans of a marketing operation. Going half a year or more missing crucial leadership is crippling to agility and responsiveness. If you urgently need a new marketing executive, it’s important to invest in resourced with a strong track record of short turnarounds.


More Guidance on Marketing Executive Search


Marketing executive recruitment is as complex as marketing itself. Fortunately, there’s a resource available that explains everything you need to know, whether you’re an HR pro, hiring manager, aspiring talent, or just a curious observer. Read my Comprehensive Guide to Marketing Executive Search here!

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Author: Mark Miller


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