For many years now a debate has been raging on about whether it’s better to hire a marketing generalist or a specialist. Each one has its camp of rabid supporters and detractors touting various benefits to hiring managers of one and warning of the problems should they dare go in the other direction. From our point of view, both have their place in your organization — it all depends on your specific situation.
Your resources, your company’s goals, what’s expected of marketing, and the competitive brand landscape you’re operating in should be the first factors you consider. (We’ve all been in that awful spot when our wants are more than our resources and circumstances will allow.)
In the hunt to find the right people to grow your business, you first need to sort out some important factors. We put together this short assessment to help you do just that. It’s by no means perfect, but it’s a good first step that should help you clarify initially which direction to lean towards.
|Reasonable||Stretch||Over the Top|
|Insufficient to reach goals||Sufficient to reach goals||More than enough to reach goals|
Weak to strong
Little to No Differentiation
If you’re an agency trying to decide whether to hire a specialist or a generalist to support one or more client’s accounts (rather than to grow your agency’s business), use your client’s situations to make your selections. For instance, the marketing goals you’ve agreed to, the budget they’ve allocated, how many full-time staff you’ve attached to their accounts, and their brand competition and positioning.
Deciding which way to go is not all that simple. Even with our assessment, you still need to consider what the costs will be to your company if you go one way or another. And we’re not just talking about the hard dollar costs and your cash flow. Those are of course extremely important.
We’re also talking about the opportunity costs. Think about what will happen if you don’t hire a specialist (or generalist). How will it help you? How will it hurt you? Will you be getting closer to or further away from the vision you have for your company? Will you be reinforcing your company’s positioning or taking away from it?
At the end of the day, you need to be able to sleep and rest easy with whatever your decision is. Enlisting the support of your leadership team and the rest of your company is crucial at times like this. Because growing pains will always be with you.