dmba whitepaper oct14
Post on 06-Apr-2016
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How to Hire a dMBA
DIGITAL MARKETING BAD ASS
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ABSTRACT Digital marketing channels are overtaking traditional channels, even among the worlds most well-established brands. More than ever, firms need digital marketing expertise at their highest levels. Yet, we dont have a fleet of business schools minting the talent to fill the digital marketing skill-gap. There are, however, effective approaches to filling strategy-level positions with digital expertise. How to Hire a dMBA reveals the approach of Response Mine Interactive, a digital marketing agency. Leading brands turn to RMI for digital expertise they cant replicate in-house. RMI owes much of its success to its ability to consistently out-hire in the arena of digital executives. This is an inside look at RMIs hiring approach.
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INTRODUCTIONIn the 1980s, the MBA became a gold standard for executive employers. The promise was, you could hire an MBA knowing he or she would have a sound foundation for a variety of executive roles. But the internet-driven customer acquisition renaissance that began in the 1990s created a skill-gap. Traditional skills of customer acquisition became less relevant. In the gap arose a new kind of MBA a Digital Marketing Bad Ass a dMBA. A generation later, business schools still havent stepped in to fill the void. Demand for digital marketing expertise continues to grow, while supply remains short. And that makes hiring a dMBA a unique challenge.
Consider the roles of various executives from CEOs, CFOs and CTOs. Most C-level managers are pursuing objectives based on well-established disciplines such as finance, managerial and financial accounting, sales or manufacturing technologies. Sure, every executive copes with change. But few facets of business have seen the ultra-rapid change of marketing channels.
This fast change has rewritten the rules of customer acquisition, yet customers remain the one single thing every business must have. The most traveled avenues to acquire customers today didnt even exist 10 years ago. They werent even imagined. Digital channels have evolved from commercial side streets in the 90s to becoming the main thoroughfares the interstates of retail, and a growing percentage of wholesale business. In organizations that use both digital and traditional channels, digital is fast-growing while traditional is often receding. Television, radio and print are giving way to internet SEO, pay-per-click, Facebook, Yelp and a dozen other platforms. And more large firms are putting their central focus sometimes all of their focus on digital strategies.
Because digital marketing has become the main thoroughfare, managers can no longer simply staff-out digital tasks; they need to posses digital expertise themselves. They need digital expertise to plan, strategize and anticipate. C-level, VP and director-level managers must include dMBAs or give up market share to competitors who have seen the light.
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The Essence of the Problem is Rapid ChangeIts tempting to call this problem the difficulty of hiring a dMBA a skill-gap, because there is indeed a skill-gap. But thats really just a symptom of the problem. The essence of the problem is rapid change. Because of rapid changes in technology and telecommunications, marketing channels have shifted in the way floods sometimes shift the course of a river, cutting new, more efficient channels directly towards their destination.
Rapid change is the reason business schools have not adapted to fill this digital marketing need, the way they prepare people for finance or management tasks. Rapid change is the reason there is no obvious path to arrive at dMBA status. You will see that identifying rapid change as the source of the problem will be instrumental in overcoming the skill-gap, finding and retaining your dMBA not just for todays needs, but for tomorrows.
To understand how rapid change has helped define the nature of dMBAs, we can reason through the problem this way: If there are no schools to create dMBAs, and there is no single career path to dMBA-dom, and all this change happened quickly, it is logical to conclude that dMBAs must have learned this stuff largely on their own. They had to improvise their own education. They had to seek something that was not available in an easy-to-consume form.
That is the most important insight into the dMBA: Rapid change created chaos where relative predictability used to be. And the people who filled the gap and continue to fill the gap are stimulated by the excitement of a fast-changing environment.
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The Essence of the Solution is Leading the BallThe first time we try to hit a baseball we quickly learn that the ball has moved between the time we decide to swing and the time our bat reaches the ball. Thats the nature of rapid change. So we learn to lead the ball. We learn to anticipate where the ball will be by considering its rate of change. And thats what we need to do when we hire a dMBA.
The way to lead the ball when hiring a dMBA is by making sure your candidate is right for fast change making sure your candidate isnt just right for today, but will be right for the changed environment of next quarter, next year and the year after that.
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Executive Summary All of the recruiting and hiring skills that apply to other executive roles also apply to hiring a Digital Marketing Bad Ass, but there are a couple of fundamental differences. Were going to teach you why the fast change of digital marketing means you need to focus on the unteachable attributes of the dMBA. Well show you that distinguishing the traits of a bona fide dMBA from digital marketing window dressing is the most essential part of this hiring process. If a candidate is not made of the stuff true dMBAs are made of while they may be very valuable they probably wont be the candidate who thrives, long-term, in rapid change.
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A Step-by-Step SummaryADOPTING A PHILOSOPHY FOR RAPID CHANGE Youll learn a philosophical secret about the dMBAs mindset. And youll get some insight into why this mindset needs to be at the top of your hiring priorities.
KNOW THE dMBA ARCHETYPE The most important part of this process is knowing how to identify the true dMBA. This is the blueprint. Youll learn the unusual combination of traits common to dMBAs.
KNOW THE dMBAS BACKGROUND Because there is no clearly marked path to digital marketing executivehood, the academic and professional background of the dMBA is not necessarily what you would think. Here, youll learn the common paths dMBAs actually take to their dMBA status.
KNOW WHERE TO FIND YOUR dMBA Youll learn an important secret about the world of dMBAs and five doors in which you can enter their network, including one for pre-dMBAs and one for the most advanced dMBAs.
AN ENVIRONMENT TO RETAIN dMBAS After showing you how to find and confirm dMBAs, we talk about creating the environment that will cause a dMBA to say yes to your offer.
SKILLS OF THE dMBA We cover the fundamental skills and the major platforms of the dMBA.
DEfiNING THE JOB AND WRITING THE AD Well show you how to use your knowledge of the dMBA archetype to cut the clutter and capture the attention of bona fide dMBAs.
BENEfiTS OF PERFECTING THE dMBA HIRE Getting it right produces a lot more than a happy place to work. It produces an innovative and profitable environment.
OUTSOURCING YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING BAD ASSES The digital economy rewards firms who look to top digital agencies to lead their marketing initiatives. In fact, leading agencies are the actual source of the expertise youre after.
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Adopting a Philosophy for Rapid Change Philosophy may not sound like a concrete step in a process but adjusting the way you think about hiring for this role is actually one of the most important steps. The premise of the philosophy is simple:
Not only has digital marketing changed rapidly in the past, you can expect it will continue to change rapidly in the future.
That doesnt mean things will change in two or three years. It means theyre changing right now. And its observable change. Its the second hand on the clock, not the minute hand. You can anticipate that todays high-priority digital skills may be replaced with something else tomorrow. That is why the dMBA candidate is the candidate who stays out in front of the trend not because its required but because it is her nature to do so.
Enjoying fast change. Thriving in fast change. Being invigorated, inspired, stimulated and challenged by fast change.
Those are hallmarks of the dMBA.
The same fast change that produces anxiety in most people is experienced as excitement by the dMBA.
A HABIT OF LOOKING AT THE HORIZON
It just so happens that the trait of experiencing fast change as thrilling, rather than dangerous, is the same outlook as a racecar drivers. Like any occupation, the racecar driver needs to develop a number of skills steering, shifting, braking and so on. But those skills are not the essence of a great driver. The essence of a great driver is the ability to mentally slow things down. Its the ability to be calm at 170mph to manage chaos at high speed. The essence of the dMBA i