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How to Hire an Inbound Marketing Generalist SUPERSTAR
Lucas HamonJan 22, 2018 5:18:00 PM7 min read

How to Hire an Inbound Marketing Generalist SUPERSTAR

Being a rock star marketer means playing to the beat of a different drum - one that is inbound and pleasing to the masses

Who's up for hiring an Inbound Marketing Generalist SUPERSTAR?

(updated 1/22/18) We're exploring different avenues for scaling. The process has not been easy - and it was after another disappointing interaction with a specialty recruiting agency when I realized that there is a severe shortage of marketers experienced in true inbound marketing.

But I found a solution recently, and an exciting one at that! It allowed me to apply the skills of several true marketing generalist superstars to projects that truly suited their expertise.

Separate Science from Sience Fiction:

What it is:

Inbound is a core philosophy. It can also be defined as a formula. In its simplist form, it's the process of generating leads through your website. It is a single component (lead generation) in your sales and marketing toolkit.

Learn more: What is Inbound Marketing?

What it isn't:

It will not pick up the phone and call your prospects for you. It won't shortcut the sales process. And it won't replace having a sales team nurture and close deals.

1: Inbound VS Outbound Marketing

There are both inbound AND outbound definitions for SEO, social media, blogging, emails, automation, content, and lead generation. 

INBOUND is about drawing an audience to you by providing educational content and a positive user experience. Your touches are based on permission granted to you by your intended audience because you give them something of value in exchange for their contact information.

So, although it's not reaching out and calling your prospects, it IS making introductions. It requires nurturing and a sales approach that coincides with their first impression... one that is inbound. Consultative, even.

This is actually easy to do, since you can build a use-case for your services or products before the first call is made. You'll see which pages they visited, what they downloaded, and whatever information is asked in the form. Sound intriguing? Check out this guide to what inbound leads look like:

See what all the fuss is about with those juicy inbound marketing leads!

I like to think of inbound as a mechanism that can be installed on any website or marketing situation. For example, you could have a team of salespeople cold-calling send links to a blog or content offer during their sales efforts.

Inbound takes time. This is important to understand, because most businesses don't have the patience to wait first 6 to 12 months to achieve something meaningful. Because of this, I typically recommend a blended approach.

OUTBOUND equates to pushing vs pulling. It typically equates to spending on advertising. This means PPC ad campaigns, radio spots, television, billboards, print, or those guys spinning arrow signs on the street corners.

It also means cold calling.

Basically, if it's disruptive, noisy, and slightly (or greatly) uncomfortable, it's outbound.

2: Education

Are marketing degrees still relevant? Yes, of course, but how much education one needs for a role as an inbound marketing generalist is relative to a lot of things.

A degree by itself will provide important foundational tools, and if the education is fresh, they are more likely to have an inbound mindset naturally. Experience, however, cannot be replaced, especially when considering roles like blogging or social media curation.

For me, an inbound marketing certification through Hubspot is one of the more desireable traits you can have. It tells me that you understand inbound at the very core.

Throw that in with a degree in marketing and some relavant experience, and we're going to be working together. It's just a matter of time.

3: Experience

This is a really tricky one, so I'm breaking it down by roles:

BLOGGING: I prefer writers with zero experience writing blogs if that means I get folks with more than 5 years in the corporate arena under their belts and/or a degree in writing. 

When I see a blog written by somebody with very little to no hands-on experience, I can spot it almost immediately. No offense, but I'd rather take advice from somebody who has experienced it, not just read about it. I find this to be the case with fresh graduates with no experience or folks in other countries. 

SOCIAL MEDIA: Being a millennial does not an expert in social media one make. And, just because the word "marketing" typically appears in the title, that doesn't mean a marketer is going to have the experience you want either. Social media is as much about sales as it is marketing, and just about marketing as it is sales....

Confused yet?

Really, this just means that the wackadoodle off-the-wall nerds (who have more to say than most are willing to hear) are probably going to do better here than somebody who simply likes being social online.

CONTENT: You need graphics, and you need text. If you can find somebody with experience in both areas, great, but it's likely you'll need to separate the two out eventually. Look at writing samples and graphics your prospective recruits have created for their thesis projects or prior employers/customers.

4: Must be Analytical AND Creative

Creativity & logic exercise two different sides of the brain, and finding people who can do both well is a particularly challenging task. But inbound marketing IS both, so it is a highly desirable trait for the person you hire. If you can find it, jump on it - even if it means deviating from other parts of our plan, like having the certifications.

The reality is that you can always teach the technical pieces and industry jargon. But you can't teach "unicornism." Yes, that's a thing. It's when you find a person who is good at everything, fusing right and left brain cells and strengths... with little to no baggage. Jacks of all trades are not experts in anything. Unicorns are experts in many things... albeit still not all things.

5: Goals & Budget

Why is it that you want a marketing generalist as opposed to a social media marketing consultant or SEO specialist anyhow? Is it because you want somebody who can do a little bit of everything and drive this process, or do you have black-and-white goals about their role within the organization?

Here are a few more options outside of hiring a marketing generalist worth exploring:

  • A full-time Inbound Marketer - They'll be able to manage your entire inbound marketing campaign, but it may be difficult to scale on their own, and they may not have the big picture strategy you need. They can get you into the proper software programs, and serve as a jumping-off point though, which may be exactly what the doctor ordered.
  • A Marketing Director - They'll help you grow and scale because of their experience with strategy, but they will have to hire somebody to do a lot of the creative tasks like blogging, social media, and content development. If you have the right budget, this is definitely a viable option.
  • Specialty Consultants - Hiring a marketing consultant to help with a short-term project is a great way to test the waters before making a hire. However, finding somebody who is fully engaged and interested in the possibility of converting to a full-time employee down the road may be challenging. Consultants by their very nature have short attention spans. And they get easily frustrated when there is no marketing organization.

  • A Unicorn - They're great conversationalists. They understand marketing the way Neo understands the matrix. And they're expensive... rightly so. I break down the pros and cons of the unicorn in detail in this post, but I'll give you a taste... Pros: versatile, quick turnaround (no collaboration required), and they see and understand everything. Cons: Expensive, rare, and losing them is devastating because, with no other collaborators, there is no succession planning.
  • Inbound Marketing Agency - They'll bring relevant experience and education and be able to scale quickly to fit your needs and resources. It's more cost-effective than building an inbound team internally, and they'll be able to bring a growing collective of experience and resources to their projects. However, they'll likely require a 6-month commitment, which can be risky, especially for start-ups or government-funded and non-profit organizations. If you go this route, make sure you are 1,000% committed to growing.

  • A Digital Marketer on Demand Combo - THIS is where it gets exciting for me... bringing on a digital marketer on demand means you're bringing on an experienced freelancer... backed by an inbound marketing agency. They understand inbound. They have resources when they need them. They have a tried and true delivery system. And they be extremely flexible with their time commitments.

Hiring a generalist may be your best course of action depending on your individual circumstances - but there may be options available that make more sense, because marketing is evolving.

I've heard many say that there's a "changing of the guards" occurring in the world of marketing - digital media has made it so. The lines between sales and marketing blurring, creating a new breed of corporate outreach, and we're transforming on many levels.

Out with old, in with the new - So... Where do you stand on the issue? If it's an agency you seek, we have you covered. Come check us out!

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Lucas Hamon

Over 10 years of B2B sales experience in staffing, software, consulting, & tax advisory. Today, as CEO, Lucas obsesses over inbound, helping businesses grow! Husband. Father. Beachgoer. Wearer of plunging v-necks.