Marketing has come a long way from seemingly endless boardroom brainstorms. Gone are the days when small business owners hired specialists for each step of the marketing process. Forward-thinking organizations now seek hybrid professionals who are proficient in multiple emerging marketing disciplines and able to drive integrated campaigns that maximize budgets. If you’re looking to build a performance-driven marketing team, start with a hybrid marketing professional. It’s time to bring your marketing practice out of the boardroom dark ages and into a more efficient, integrated model. Hybrid marketers work smarter for your small business A hybrid professional can fulfill most, if not all, of the tasks at hand, which is important for small businesses that lack the resources for multiple marketing professionals or agency support. By capitalizing on the wide range of skills these hybrid professionals possess, you can execute comprehensive, integrated campaigns with fewer resources. These professionals can see the proverbial big picture and predict how various marketing activities (e.g., content, search, social) will enhance one another. In fact, in many team setups, a hybrid marketer can independently run campaigns that would involve multiple specialists in a traditional siloed structure. And with their analytical expertise, hybrid marketers can efficiently track bottom-line performance, helping to optimize budgets for more sales and better ROI. 9 traits of successful hybrid marketers — and how to look for them In today’s data-driven workplace, marketers must adapt quickly to changing market factors and consumer behaviors. As you look for modern marketing professionals, seek individuals who are proficient in multiple service areas (e.g., data analysis, content marketing, mobile) and able to formulate complex plans and shift strategies as the market dictates. They differ from traditional marketers because they’re: #1. Analytical Top marketers are judged by tangible success factors such as website traffic, leads, and sales; they don’t get caught up in impressions and other stale metrics. Determine whether candidates have an analytical mind by asking how they solved a problem or challenge in a previous role with data as their guide. #2. Creative These professionals inject creativity into everything they do and discover strategies that can propel organizations forward. Interestingly, the old standby interview question “Tell me about yourself” is a good indicator of creativity. There is no right or wrong answer, but what candidates say and how they say it can give you insight into their creative mind. #3. Intrinsically motivated Hybrid marketers define success by the pursuit of purpose. They challenge authority, seek autonomy and flexibility, desire balance, and value the freedom to pursue passions outside their careers. Uncover this trait by first looking at the candidate’s work history. Is advancement a common theme? If a candidate stayed at a company for a long period, was she promoted? Outside interests can also help you determine motivation. Motivated people like to learn new things, take on new pursuits, or work on self-development. #4. Active listeners They expand their understanding by listening to customers, competitors, and critics, both online and offline. Note the candidate’s body language during the interview. Active listeners will maintain good eye contact and have good posture. The candidate should lean in, nod, smile, and respond to the information she hears. #5. Socially savvy Successful marketers monitor forums and social networks relevant to their interests and industry, and they engage in the conversation. Use the interview to find out what the candidate knows about your industry. If the candidate has been tracking social forums and online conversations, she will be able to discuss meaningful and relevant content. #6. Strategic They understand how various marketing elements work together, and they use that knowledge to build fully integrated plans. Strategic thinkers question everything, challenge current mindsets, and solve problems by looking at them from different points of view. Ask how a candidate solved a problem in a previous situation to see how she used strategy to develop a solution. #7. Tech-minded These experts research and test emerging technologies, then identify applications for their organizations. Good candidates can tell you how they made something better by leveraging technology. Ask about a time when they improved a process by making it faster, cheaper, or more efficient by creating a technical solution. #8. Collaborative Next-gen marketers are team players who operate with the understanding that collaboration is crucial. Ask candidates about a significant accomplishment to gain insight into the way they work with others. The candidate shouldn’t be the only one featured in this story if she is truly embracing a collaborative spirit. #9. Strong writers This is the most important trait of hybrid marketers. They can communicate their ideas effectively across all available mediums and seek opportunities to strengthen this skill. This is where homework comes in. Provide candidates with a writing test that instructs them to follow the same writing guidelines you use at your company. You can also give them an editing assignment and ask them to correct the errors to determine their strengths and areas of needed improvement. Find your next-generation marketer While it might be difficult to find someone who embodies every trait detailed above, there are a few skills on which you shouldn’t compromise. With the growing importance of content and social marketing efforts, strong communication is the backbone of modern marketing. Whether it comes through blog posts, email copy, social updates, or strategy documents, strong writing typically lies at the core of a successful campaign. Seek proficient writers first and foremost. When vetting potential marketers, also look for someone with a passion to continually learn and improve. Technology, markets, and customer needs are constantly evolving. The most successful marketers will be those committed to ongoing growth, especially in the areas of technology, campaign execution, and reporting. Hybrid marketing professionals are the answer to a rapidly changing marketing landscape. They eliminate the need for overly segmented teams by excelling in emerging marketing disciplines, such as email, mobile, analytics, social networking, web, search, and content. More importantly, they operate on a strategic level, build fully integrated campaigns, and can produce business results that drive your small business forward. Images: ”high quality three dimensional text. 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