Marketing Role and Skill Challenges in The Tech World

19 June 2019

Here are the most common challenges companies face when defining marketing roles within their company and unique insights on how to mitigate these issues.

It’s hard to keep up with today’s ever-changing digital marketing landscape. To stay current, marketers at all levels are increasingly specializing. Marketing tactics that were considered cutting edge just a few years ago have quickly become obsolete. In order to be successful, you need to constantly test and innovate

As a marketer, it’s hard to know what marketing skills are needed to advance your career given how quickly new channels and tactics evolve. It’s also hard to know which channels and tactics are in demand for top companies. 

As a leader, it’s difficult to know how to build your marketing team with modern roles and the right skill sets. 

In addition, high growth tech companies face unique challenges, which impact how marketers think about their skills and career progression, and how leaders think about their org structure. 

This article will cover these common challenges and provide insight into how they can be mitigated. We also provide information on RevelOne’s useful tool that marketers use to identify the skills they need to progress and company leaders use to build their org structure.  

Marketing Role Challenges

  1. Rapidly changing channels and technologies mean that marketing skills and even titles can change over any 2-3 year period. 

RevelOne Insight: What was previously called Performance Marketing or Acquisition Marketing is often mislabeled as Growth Marketing. True Growth Marketing roles are ones that combine traditional user acquisition with product-based tactics and is most often used by platform companies with strong virality. The best practice is to call your role Acquisition Marketing if it’s mostly driven by paid media.

  1. Growing companies evolve from hiring generalists to more specialized roles as they scale. However, deciding when and how this happens in each area is not always obvious and can cause disruption. It can also create dissatisfaction (and turnover) with individuals who enjoy having their hands in multiple areas and resist a narrowed focus. 

RevelOne Insight: One of the main reasons we see candidates turn down senior channel-specific roles is due to their desire to broaden their skills in order to reach higher-level roles such as Head of Marketing. The best practice is to keep channel-specific roles below Director level unless you are a very large company.

  1. Similarly, team members vary in their ability (and desire) to step out of the day-to-day execution and into management. The process of elevating existing team members or bringing in more senior people from the outside (and leveling loyal current employees) is also tricky.

RevelOne Insight: Often, a Senior Manager will think she/he is ready to step up to a “Head of” role when they might not have any direct management experience. Unless you have the time to train this person, it is important to bring in outside talent when key requirements cannot be fulfilled by existing team members. 

Marketing Skill Challenges

Within Marketing, rapid change has made managing skills and roles far more complex and more important than ever. Here are a few skill-specific examples:

  1. Channels like Facebook blur across Acquisition and Re-engagement, forcing organizations to decide whether they separate those lifecycle stages, or have a channel specialist who can span both. 

RevelOne Insight: We recommend focusing your hiring (both in terms of prioritization and leveling) based on what stage of growth the company is in. Early stage companies should focus more on acquisition hires and later stage companies should focus on engagement to ensure they don’t have a leaky bucket. 

  1. While “Growth Hacker” has become a buzzword, it can describe roles where marketers need more diverse skill sets than in the past. This can mean bringing together paid acquisition campaign skills with product management savvy around working cross-functionally to optimize activation, viral loops, and other feature-driven growth initiatives

RevelOne Insight: These candidates are rare and in high demand, which means you will likely need to pay more or be flexible on skill requirements. However, if you can find a good one, they are worth their weight in gold.

  1. B2B marketers who once focused on product marketing and sales support now manage marketing automation and lead nurture programs that require them to be more quantitative and accountable like their B2C peers.

RevelOne Insight: Lead Generation B2B Marketers need competency across three main categories: content strategy & storytelling, media buying & distribution, and tech-savvy & quant skills to manage their automation platform. Rarely is someone equally good across this spectrum, so you need to prioritize across these three sets of skills.   

Marketing Skills Map

RevelOne Marketing Skills MapTo help guide both candidates and companies, we created the RevelOne Marketing Skills Map, which lays out the core competencies and functions that make up a mature marketing organization.

Company leaders use our skills map for designing org structure, defining roles, and assessing skills.

Marketers use our skills map for career trajectory planning and exploring new marketing channels.

Access RevelOne Marketing Skills Map




About RevelOne

RevelOne is a leading marketing advisory and recruiting firm.  We do 300+ searches a year in Marketing and Go-to-Market roles from C-level on down for some of the most recognized names in tech.  For custom org design, role scoping, and retained search, contact us.

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