Closing the Technical Gap in Your Marketing Team Without Hiring

By Ruben Ugarte

Modern marketing is built on two rocks: data and technology. No one will argue against that. The challenge is teams are lacking the fuel — technical marketers — to run these two rocks properly. Technical marketers are mythical creatures that only appear once in a blue moon. The race to hire can seem impossible to companies.

CMOs understand this and are starting to shift internal resources to close these gaps. In 2021, marketing teams moved 29 percent of work done by agencies to an internal function according to the Gartner The State of Marketing Budgets 2021 report. Innovation and technology was one of the three things that teams wanted to handle internally.

The good news is that you're likely sitting on hidden internal talent that could help you level up your marketing efforts. Without knowing it, you could already be employing your ideal technical marketer.

Here's how to close the technical gap in your marketing team.

Assume Job Descriptions Are Dead

Job descriptions are dead. Forget about them. Instead, you need to determine the tangible outcomes that you're looking for in a role or that you're missing in your team. For example, I had a discussion with a company that wanted to hire someone to manage their Martech. Once we listed all outcomes and responsibilities, they realized that they could assign this work to existing employees.

Having clear outcomes would also help you find the perfect fit. In hiring, you have two elements: enthusiasm and content. You can teach almost any content, but you can't teach enthusiasm. If someone isn't enthusiastic about your product or company, that's unlikely to change. Focus on hiring the right personality and trust that you can teach the necessary content.

Who Are Your Best Kept Secrets?

Companies are suffering from BKS (best-kept secret) with many of their employees. These are the engineers interested in marketing or the salespeople who have a knack for creative advertising. People want to be challenged, which can come from a lateral move.

You need to identify these people and determine if they can help you hit your desired outcomes and responsibilities. If the obstacle is training, you can solve that in a myriad of ways.

What Tangible Skills are Needed

Finally, make a list of tangible skills. Saying that you need a "technical marketer" is too vague for action. Every company has a different bar for technical skills. Instead, talk about the specific technologies and deliverables that they are responsible for. For example, running A/B tests, tweaking automation sequences, and so forth.

Close the Gap

Marketing teams are seeing budget squeezes all around. They were down from 11 percent of revenue in 2022 to 6.4 percent in 2021, according to Gartner. CMOs have to make the most out of fewer dollars and building internal capabilities is one the keys to doing this.

You close the technical gap by becoming crystal clear about the gap. You can't just expect to hire one person to solve all your challenges. You need the right direction, and you need to realize that you could be looking at the right person at this very instant. Do you see them?

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Ruben Ugarte is an expert in data and decision-making and author of the Data Mirage and Bulletproof Decisions.