Recruiting Marketing Talent: Hire the Artist or the Scientist?

Let’s talk a little bit more about the difference between the artistic and creative side of marketing communications and the science of marketing and what’s more important to a successful company.

When you are recruiting a marketing executive, you should be looking for somebody who much more resembles a scientist than an artist. Why? The scientist is the one who’s going to bring you the analytical, quantitative, and strategic thinking skills that are necessary to properly target the right markets and reach the right customers with the right products. This requires more technical and scientific skills than it does artistic/creative skills, such as what you’d find in a marketing communications person.

Many of the top marketing people we meet and who we place, have deep quantitative analysis skills and often times come from technical backgrounds. In the technology sector, many of the marketing executives we place actually come from an engineering background and have moved up through product management or product development into a marketing executive role. These are the kinds of “scientists” who have the quantitative and analytic skills that are so important to modern marketing effectiveness.

The “empty marketing suits” we meet may have the ability to develop flashy ad campaigns and be very polished communicators, but often lack the substance to analyze, create or manage a company’s core strategy. For this reason, if a company has to pick between marketing disciplines (the strategic and quantitative side vs. the creative side), it should focus on the former and outsource the latter.

Why is this? Well, there are thousands of creative agencies out there that are capable of taking your company’s messaging and positioning and translating it into effective sales tools, advertising copy, brochures, collateral, etc. But there aren’t lots of people that can actually lead a company’s strategic marketing effort internally.

If you are up against a decision on what kind of person you hire to lead your marketing efforts, I would opt for the quantitative, analytical, scientific marketing type and I would outsource the creative, qualitative, marketing communications types of activities.

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