A good business owner/VP of marketing like yourself knows business opportunities exist online. Naturally, you post an opening to hire someone that can get more leads and:
- Maintain website(s)
- Assist with content marketing and SEO
- Run paid search campaigns
- Manage social media accounts and email marketing
- Design creative pieces, infographics and video. Content is king. Remember?
The resumes come rolling in and you hire the James Bond of digital marketing. You're excited! Now you have a guru on your team that can take you to that elusive 'next level' and has your interests at heart. No more extra charges for extra hours or dealing with expensive marketing agencies and contractors.
Wrong. Below is the first, and in some cases, last 6 months with your digital marketing specialist.
Months 1-2 - Buzzwords and budgets
Your specialist impresses you with buzzwords and abbreviations that you're unsure of, but sound important during the honeymoon period. Their initial budget calls for a new Mac (since you apparently can't get to the next level without one), apps, software and other gadgets. They also set up new deals with their favorite vendors and replace your old ones. All on your credit card. A new broom sweeps clean after all. The switching costs and budget alarm you, but you relax and are all in.
Months 3-4 - Shortcomings and more expenses
You notice James Bond supports tactics he knows and dismisses the rest. You could say he's 100/100 in doing Google ad campaigns and posting stuff on Facebook (kind of like how your teenaged child is), but a 007 in design, writing, HTML, development languages, SEO and other technical tasks you need help with. Those websites, apps and content aren't going to create themselves. That means you still need lots of contractor or agency support.
Most digital marketing people love all things Google. You may notice you start spending more time looking at AdWords dashboards and frantically setting up Google My Business and Google+ accounts. You'll also repeatedly watch The Internship. For work and pleasure. Google is great, but opportunities abound to grow your business in the digital age apart from paid search. Don't just buy traffic and hope for results. Have 'the talk' with Mr. Bond. Tell him to be creative in how they get you leads.
Your digital marketing person's Linkedin profile gets updated. You notice an uptick in inspirational and entrepreneurship quotes they share online after you have this conversation. Translation: they're down on things and looking for a change.
Months 5-6 - End of employment and back to square one.
Mr. Bond tells you he's accepted a new role as a PPC specialist at a marketing agency. Or, they move to a competitor that assumes they're your rainmaker and are poaching them. He says he loves working for you, but wants a job that takes advantage of his strengths (Adwords and social media) instead of what you want him to do (increase sales, generate leads and make money). You have a lot of Google AdWords dashboards to look at and not much else to show for the past 6 months. Oh, about those AdWords dashboards and social media accounts, they were created with Mr. Bond's personal account so he's not going to give you access. You'll have to create new accounts everywhere when you hire the next person. Breaking up is hard to do.
What You Should Have Done
Why do you need a technical digital person? The answer to that question from our customers is very strategic ("we need someone in the marketing department focused on growing our business using online activities") and not technical ("We need full time help on Tweeting and YouTube video development").
Hire a marketer that has grown businesses like yours using online tactics. They'll develop a strategy for you to digitally win more business. Make them accountable for the online portion of the business. There are tons of metrics to evaluate them on (Internet leads, sign-ups etc). You need an architect in-house, but not builders. Offer monthly income to an agency for ongoing support and a wide-reaching service level agreement (SLA). Agency organizations are wired to create video, write copy, build apps and design websites. They have the manpower and are abreast with current trends. They'll be your builders. Since they have the people in-house, and benefit from economies of scale, you should be able to acquire their services for a year at around the cost of a junior employee or less. Keep looking until you find the right partner that takes your offer.
You need a marketing person that understands digital and how your business can benefit from it. Instead, 6 months ago you hired a techie and trapped them in a marketer's body.
Somebody call Moneypenny.
About The Author
Sajeel Qureshi is the VP of Operations at Computan, a digital marketing and software company. Computan serves as the digital department for numerous businesses throughout the globe ranging from start-ups to multinationals.
He has a degree in Business Administration from St. Bonaventure University and MBA from Eastern Illinois University. Sajeel plays tennis well enough to convince the untrained eye that he knows what he is doing and poor enough that the trained eye submits him to a drug test.