3 minute read

Hiring Innovative Marketers

By Rich Pearson | SVP, Marketing and Categories, Upwork

Building a forward-thinking team with the talent needed to create innovative, cutting-edge campaigns that deliver results is no small feat. Eighty-one percent of marketers expect their roles to evolve in the next three years, according to Adobe’s “Digital Roadblock” report. Amid mounting customer demands, today’s marketing leaders have important decisions to make about how they build and structure their teams.

Whether you are restructuring your team or building a team from scratch to meet changing marketing initiatives, these four hiring tips may help you continue to meet customer demands.


When it comes to building and structuring your marketing team, less is not always more. It can be tempting to hire a jack- or jill-of-all-trades, and while that might suffice for some projects, others may require more specialization and technical expertise. It’s important to take into consideration the stage of your company and the requirements needed to move ahead.

An emerging start-up might not have the budget allocated to bring in specialists and, instead, might benefit from a marketing generalist who can handle many essential functions such as event planning, social media, and content writing.

On the other hand, enterprise-level companies will benefit from leveraging the heightened talents of specialists. Marketing jobs are predicted to grow in 2019, with a focus on social media, mobile marketing, and marketing analytics skills.

Many companies are investing heavily in creating content to promote their brands online. While they can leverage a marketing generalist to write some of their content, it often requires a specialist to ensure the content is maximized across all marketing channels. This growth in demand is reflected in a Conductor study: From 2017 to 2018, the number of content marketing job openings jumped 33%, and the number of SEO jobs rose 43%.


In today’s constantly changing digitized world, time is a luxury that marketing teams can no longer afford. To remain effective and meet corporate objectives, marketers must quickly adapt and respond to changing customer needs.

Adaptability is crucial. Agile companies enjoy revenue that is 37% greater and generate profits that are 30% higher than those of non-agile companies, according to MIT research. Agile marketing brings a process to the marketing function in a way that maximizes resources, provides focus, and promotes productivity. The same research shows 63% of marketing leaders consider agility to be a high priority, yet only 40% rate themselves as agile.

Take a look at your existing team and ask yourself if your company is able to adapt to changing customer demands. Can your team shift priorities to ensure key metrics are hit? Are you leveraging new channels or geographies?

If the answers to these questions are no, it might be time to reevaluate your team structure. Making the move to agile involves hiring teams that can launch campaigns, test for results, and make quick pivots based on those results. Developing small, cross-functional teams with a team leader who has a clear set of goals and objectives will help put you on the path to success.


For marketing teams to get more done faster, they must also find talent faster. If you don’t have access to the skills you need to support marketing initiatives, you risk falling behind the competition. However, many companies consider only traditional methods of hiring, which limits them to full-time local hires. It takes 36 days to fill an open position on average—longer for in-demand skills. Failure to look outside of local markets and consider freelance workers limits your ability to access the skills you need quickly enough to innovate and grow.

With top talent scattered across the globe, the skills required for success might not be found locally. This may explain why three times as many hiring in 2017 said hiring had grown more difficult

than had said so in 2016. Freelancers can help teams scale to meet marketing initiatives by providing access to skills within budget.


When building or restructuring a marketing team, keep in mind the goals you wish to set for the future. Oftentimes marketing teams stay lean while waiting for a strong business need before bringing on new team members. By the time this need is determined, it could be too late.

The skilled talent you seek might not be available when and where you need them. Or you could lose a month or more interviewing candidates. Once you make the hire, you must wait through onboarding and ramp-up times. This can stifle your team’s momentum and hamper its ability to innovate.

In some instances, it might not make sense to hire an employee or invest in a traditional marketing agency to get work done. If your team needs designers to quickly knock out logos or content writers to write articles, the work might be better suited for freelancers. Building a bench of freelance marketing talent allows you to respond to opportunities with more agility, giving you cost-efficient access to needed skills and expertise as marketing demands require.

As you forecast for future needs, it’s important to take into consideration where your marketing team is currently and what’s coming ahead. Whether it’s launching products or introducing programs, keeping track of these important milestones will help you anticipate future needs before you actually need them. ■

This is an abridged version of an article that appeared in Chief Marketer.
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