In the previous post, we looked at some of the behaviours that modern marketers need to employ to build social capital as they seek to create sustainable careers in an environment characterised by impermanence.
Some individuals will, however, find these behaviours harder to adopt than others; particularly networking and self-branding. There is a danger that those who are more introverted and so have less social capital may find it harder to get promoted or secure new jobs. There is also a risk that a natural talent for these behaviours will be confused with a natural talent for marketing. Whilst perceptions of marketing may be of charismatic creatives and gregarious account managers, the reality is more prosaic – a great deal of marketing success is based in operational efficiency and project management.
In addition, technology has created a new set of marketing skills. Using data to model, analyse and target customers is now as critical as the creative promotion of a product, and marketing has emerged one of the most data-driven departments in any business.
Today’s business landscape places as many new demands on marketing teams as much as it does on individuals.
Many marketing jobs now require analytical minds, data smarts and a genuine interest in the technical capabilities that are constantly evolving. It is too simplistic to stereotype introverted analysts and extroverted creatives, but it is true that marketing teams require a wide range of talents, skills and interests. If we value social capital above competence and skills, we could be in danger of overlooking potentially great employees.
Don’t be dazzled by the hype
Today’s business landscape places as many new demands on marketing teams as much as it does on individuals. What, then, needs to be taken into account when creating, and maintaining a strong team?
- Introverts should not be overlooked. It’s easy to be dazzled by extraverts with enviable social capital, but there are unique skills that introverts have to offer. There are also plenty of modern marketing roles that need people who work “behind the scenes”.
- Those who self-educate should be sought out, but don’t rule out those who are curious beyond their immediate industry or beyond marketing. Creativity and insight do not come from reading Wired, but from the clash of ideas generated by all aspects of life and experience. The person who independently seeks knowledge will be an incredible asset to the team.
- Natural networkers and personal branders should be encouraged to shine. They have the potential to showcase your brand positively, so allow them to do so. Their impact could be far-reaching – just make sure they’re shining in a positive way!
- The value of the person who hasn’t moved on should not be underestimated. This person will have unique and invaluable organisational knowledge that could ensure successful business growth. Their preference for stability may stem from all sorts of factors, including a loyalty to your team or company that is hugely valuable.
The landscape in which we work might be changing, but the fundamentals of a good employee – namely the ability to communicate and work in a team, and a willingness to share in your company’s vision – are as important as ever. In fact, in a time when nothing is permanent and loyalty is rare, they’re more important than ever before.