R+ Management

Need a marketer: how to find a competent specialist in one of the most controversial business-sphere

The sphere of marketing in Russia is probably one of the most controversial and incomprehensible. There is a wide range of understanding of the functionality of a marketing specialist, his necessary professional qualities and competencies, as well as the significance of experience and the companies in which it was acquired.

The article gives a brief analysis of what marketing is. in particular, in the Russian context, what key specialists exist, how to measure the level of their competence and guarantee effective work.

There is a certain halo of mystery and high hopes around marketing in Russia. For the vast majority of employers, a marketer is a person whose job is to bring direct profit, expressed in leads, applications, customers, and so on. In general, this is true, but the same can be said about any specialist in the "commercial" sector of the company - from an ordinary sales manager to a commercial director.

So, what is the difference and feature of marketing, what is the key range of tasks for a specialist in this field? First of all, marketing is not advertising or PR. The original and correct definition of marketing is strategic and tactical market planning. Therefore, it is much broader than just advertising, it can have related fields with PR, but it has other tasks, primarily strategic ones. Proceeding from this, the first and main task of marketing is the development, testing and implementation of a development strategy (of the entire company, direction or product).

Any strategic planning is based on a detailed analysis: the industry (genesis, dynamics, barriers to entry and exit, key factors) the competitive environment (market saturation, the presence of monopolists, the placement of strategic groups, KFU competitors, etc.) the target audience (its key segments, the structure of needs, in the case of the B2C segment - behavioral portraits, etc.) and analysis of the company itself (its resources, potential, HR policy and strategy)

After the analysis and understanding of the developed competitive market strategy, understanding the target audience and its needs, the next important step is the development and testing of a product or service positioning hypothesis. Approbation is carried out through qualitative and quantitative research, the so-called Customer Development, and includes the full range of tools (Hall tests, Delphi analysis, focus groups, testing, in-depth interviews, participant observation, etc.)

After carrying out Custdev, confirming the positioning hypothesis and development strategy, you can proceed to the stage of operational planning of strategy elements. At this stage, key tools are being developed that would be most effective in achieving the strategic goal. These can be affiliate programs, direct advertising, PR campaigns, public-private partnership formats and various other tools. For each of them, it is necessary to control the compliance of the predicted and real results, and constantly monitor the dynamics.

Further, each direction of the strategy is broken down into smaller tasks, the specific channels needed, their potential effectiveness, and an estimate of the payback. And all this branched structure should function in one vector of achieving a strategic measurable goal, have a constant connection between the elements included in it.

Therefore, based on this, we can present a pool of key employees and the professional competencies they need.

First of all, it is the leading center. In addition to the leader, there should be an assistant or deputy who can assist in the development and replace if necessary. Further, these are the heads of all the directions chosen for the implementation of the strategy (advertising, affiliate programs, etc.) Together with the head and his deputy, they form a kind of headquarters, which is the intellectual center of the entire marketing structure

Further, in each direction, ordinary employees responsible for a specific channel or tool (in advertising, these can be chief specialists in TV advertising and targeted advertising, in PR - the chief specialist in SERM and media relations, etc.)

In addition to the main specialists of the direction, they can be understaffed with line employees, as necessary.

This is the most general, brief description of the logic of organizing marketing activities. Of course, in small companies, the department may consist of 5 people, but the structural approach should not deviate and change.

The popular approach among most small companies - finding one marketer responsible for everything - is completely pointless and counterproductive. A really good specialist cannot qualitatively perform the functions of several line employees and at the same time engage in strategic planning. Also, the "tradition" of the owner taking on the role of marketing manager is also vicious; based on the experience of working with several hundred companies, it can be said with confidence that the owner, general director are product specialists, sometimes they can implement operational and production management, but taking self marketing always affects the development of the company.

about the required competencies. Specialized specialists, such as a manager for targeted advertising, site optimization, advertising and other highly specialized specialists, do not raise any special questions, although they require separate consideration. But the main problem is the assessment of the head of marketing, or a marketer with cross-functional tasks.

Most companies solve this problem by looking for a candidate with experience in exactly the same company and in the same industry. And the more experience, the better. In fact, these factors are not key. A specialist from the same industry, at best, knows the industry, the past product, and then, subjectively, therefore, may have some distortions in understanding its principles. The number of years is also not something unconditionally significant, as well as the scale of work and projects. As described above, large-scale projects are the result of the coordinated work of dozens of competent specialists, where a specialist could be just an element that follows someone's wise instructions.

The most effective is an individual assessment, which includes cases and working situational models, and complex psychodiagnostics in order to understand the personal characteristics of the candidate, which may contribute to or hinder the implementation of certain tasks. The results will show the actual professional value of the candidate, and it may turn out that a graduate without experience is an order of magnitude more competent and professional than a candidate with 5 or 10 years of experience in an international company. In addition, it is optimal to "cultivate" specialists within your company, since a person with experience can also bring behavioral patterns that have been established in past jobs into a new company and team. Therefore, this kind of comprehensive diagnostics can identify really potential and capable young professionals who can become true professionals committed to their company.
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