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Hiring the perfect internal marketing resource

June 02, 2021 / Brent Closs, AVP Marketing - CAA Club Group

In our recent article, Starting your marketing journey, I shared some insights and tips for Brokers to get started with their marketing efforts. Now that you’ve solidified your business objectives and have some ideas on what your vision may look like, it’s time to invest in someone to strategically plan it out, collaborate with the business, execute the tactics and measure the results.

Marketing is a very complex discipline, and it’s becoming more complicated all the time. The role of a traditional marketer has become much more complex thanks to the growing popularity of digital and social media marketing, and especially because of how consumers interact with media.

The key to hiring an in-house marketing resource is to look for someone who has a strong theoretical understanding of the business of marketing, and its best practices and principles. Someone who has a good grasp around the value of the various disciplines available, who can solution the most ideal tactics to answer your business challenges. And, ideally, someone who has experience with a network of vendors to help you find marketing solutions to orchestrate the execution of your marketing plan.

Your hire should not necessarily be an expert in any one marketing field (like branding or digital or social media, etc.). This limits your opportunities. For example, if you hire someone with extensive experience in digital marketing, how many other tricks will they be able to pull from their tool box? Really only digital-related strategies. By hiring someone who has knowledge of many aspects of marketing and related tactics, they can offer a broader perspective.

To see your objectives translated into an effective marketing strategy, you need someone who will understand your business challenges. You need a thinker more than a doer— someone who can think strategically and is a problem solver, who can put the consumer at the center of your decision making, and seize the opportunities that your business challenges may reveal. Someone who can also understand the true value of your brand and how it can respond to and meet the needs of today’s consumer.

This person doesn’t necessarily need to be a senior-level marketer. Focus on someone who can develop and sell the marketing strategy to the non-marketing, key stakeholders at your brokerage. They should be able to take the complexity of the marketing solutions and make it easy to understand for the business, and in a way that makes sense based on the business objectives.

The next question you need to ask yourself is what experience am I looking for? Someone with marketing experience relating to insurance or financial services? Not necessarily. Look for marketers who come from parallel industries that operate under similar complexity and circumstances as insurance. Products that may be deemed commodities or seen as ‘grudge’ purchases, like the gasoline industry, as an example. Or industries that focus on professional advice, like the travel agency industry. You may also want to consider a ‘fresh’ perspective, especially if you want to truly differentiate your business. Provided they have a proven track record, they may be able to offer a new perspective to really make your business stand out.

Finally, they must be a strong communicator, both written and verbal. This person will take your business objective, come up with the strategy, articulate and gain buy-in on the plan, build and work with a vendor network to execute the tactics, and then track KPIs and report back on ROI. All while ensuring your brand expression is adhered to and visible in the tactical outcomes. Being able to ensure that the original objectives are matched to and communicated at each stage of the process is critical.

Because marketing is so complex, many marketers today may focus on one discipline only. But there are many who have experienced the ever-changing landscape as marketing has evolved. And therein lies your ideal candidate.

In our next article, we will offer sample interview questions, and what you should look for in the answers.