Hiring a digital marketing manager is a challenge. An exciting challenge. But still, a challenge. The way new hires are recruited and onboarded has a ripple effect in our culture, our results, and our bottom line. Define the needs right. Recruit responsibly. Onboard new colleagues thoroughly. Get results.
Digital marketing managers fall under the same category as any new colleague. They directly impact brand consistency. Not to mention they are ultimately in charge of the most powerful channels of marketing. Call me Uncle Ben, but with great power comes great responsibility.
The digital marketing manager we choose has a big impact on the overall marketing results.
Assessing what you need in a digital marketing manager
Clarify your needs before spreading the “we’re hiring” word. The digital marketing manager title in itself means as much as the word “cupcake”. We know it in theory, but we’ve got questions. Vegan. Strawberry-flavored. Sugar-glaze frosting. Details attract. Details align the team so we all speak one language.
Time to brainstorm. Start with expectations from your future digital marketing manager. In fact, really get down to outlining the whole digital marketing career path that the candidate would have ideally taken in order to reach a marketing manager level at your organization. This will help you form a profile of the ideal candidate along with their skills, knowledge, and abilities. Gather your colleagues in the meeting room with the big screen and answer the following:
- What will the digital marketing manager do?
- What will their main responsibility be?
- What’s the problem you’re hoping they’ll solve?
- Do you have any ideas/experience on how they should solve this problem?
- What part does digital marketing play in your company? What’s its main objective?
- What are you expecting their digital marketing efforts will bring to your brand and company?
I’m sorry if these questions sound shrinky. Not trying to lead you to a path of introspection and self-discovery. I framed them that way on purpose. Their vagueness is aimed at keeping you away from specifics at this point. It’s pizza-dripping-cheese-tempting to go directly to tasks. It feels like we already know what this person will do or how their day-to-day will look like. Getting into the deets too soon leads to oversight. Just embrace the vagueness of my questions. Cover everything you’d ideally want this person to know and be.
After answering those, you can drill down on each one. Take the objectives and main goals behind the role and start thinking about the day-to-day.
- Do you know what specific tasks your digital marketing manager will have to execute on to achieve his or her goals? If so, write them down.
- Take into account that you’re hiring an expert to advise and strategize, not only to execute. So don’t leave out strategic responsibilities. You don’t want a digital marketing manager who simply does what you tell them to do. We’ve got Alexa for that.
- Research all the bits & pieces digital marketing has. Start thinking about what role your manager will fill for each one. Advise, manage, or execute?
- Social media management. Will they approve content written by your team, or will they do the copywriting?
- Performance marketing. Will the digital manager plan and run the ads, or will they work with an agency?
- Digital marketing analytics. Oversee, run, collect, or interpret?
- Content curation. Select, compose, or approve? Take into account all content here. Design assets for example. Will they work directly with a designer or will they have to use a specific set of brand assets?
Now’s the time for deets. More details, more clarity. Spoiler: you’ll feel the urge to skip a couple. Advice: don’t. Unlike grocery shopping, you can’t shop for another digital marketing manager tomorrow. Skipping will, once again, lead to essential skills missed in recruiting. For example, if we simply say — my digital marketing manager will only write posts and an agency will handle ads — we’ll forget to include basic paid knowledge they’ll need to manage the agency.
Once you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to draft up that digital marketing manager job description.
Writing the perfect digital marketing job description
If the needs were assessed responsibly, the job description should be a breeze. This step is mainly about using the right words. Framing it attractively and clearly. We all love templates, so here’s a good digital marketing job description template:
1. Digital marketing job description: introduction
The intro of the job description is where most applicants swipe left or right. Show how likable you are. Don’t lie. Most importantly, don’t try to be something you’re not. Each company has their own goods and bads. Talk in the way you think your ideal candidate talks. If you’re a formal corporation, don’t try to be funny. If you’re a laid-back start-up, don’t copy-paste Oracle’s JD. Be yourself. Use your charm to get them to apply.
So many job descriptions sound… boring.
“Company X Llc is looking for Y candidate to revolutionize Z area.”
Avoiding overused corporate buzzwords help you stand out. Here’s a good example I found:
If you live and breathe digital marketing, we want to talk to you. We are looking for a Digital Marketing Manager to develop, implement, track and optimize our digital marketing campaigns across all digital channels.
What does a Digital Marketing Manager do?
You should have a strong grasp of current marketing tools and strategies and be able to lead integrated digital marketing campaigns across channels. Digital marketing manager will work with the marketing team and campaign managers to launch campaigns on time and on budget.”
Perfect. The only thing I’d add is a bit about the company. But these two short paragraphs say it all. They want passion and results. They’re cool. They’re goal getters.
2. Digital marketing job description: team
Now’s time to share the vibe of your company and team even more. Show your applicant what they should expect. What’s the structure? The size. The community. A sneak peek into life at your company.
“Tucked away in the heart of Leicester, there’s a business challenging the market and changing attitudes towards death. By facilitating the creation of 1 million death wishes.
This is Dead Happy. This is Life Insurance. Redesigned.
When you walk through the door, into the small, open plan office your eyes are immediately drawn to the pink graffiti on the wall. One of their favourite quotes is “Suits don’t make you smart” . This sums Dead Happy up pretty well.
So, what will you be a part of?
“World Domination” according to Phil, the co-founder. The belief is clear to see.
The first stop is 1 million Deathwishes. You’ll play a huge part in this.
These are not a desire for self-annihilation, they’re simply a way of allowing their customers to express what they would like to happen when they die. This could be anything from paying off your mortgage, through to funding a wake in Ibiza for their pals.
Start Up life isn’t for everyone and Dead Happy are no different. We totally get that.”
Yaaas. This is what I’m talking about. Dead Happy’s JD talks about the company. The copy clearly gives you the vibe of the team. The last line targets who they want to apply. It’s perfect. Only thing I’d add is a bit more about the team. Number of employees, department, structure.
It is perfect. And it seems like it was done with the help of Distinct Management.
3. Digital marketing job description: responsibilities
A bit less wit, more clarity. You’ve lured them in. Now clarify. What will they do? Details win again at this point. “Manage campaigns” means nothing. Where? How? What? Check out this example:
“Guide digital strategy and vision for the U.S. public sector market in partnership with key stakeholders, field marketing, and corporate digital marketing teams.
Manage the creation of public sector-specific digital properties and messaging, aligning to the overall marketing strategy and objectives.
Create and deliver a cohesive digital marketing activation plan for the public sector market.
Manage relationship and program optimization with a third-party digital agency.
Manage the digital marketing budget“
These are only the first 5 bullet points from Red Hat’s JD. There were more. The main idea is to create the right expectations. Applicants at this point read it like a checklist asking themselves 2 questions: “Can I do this?” and “Do I like to do this?”.
4. Digital marketing job description: requirements
The checklist isn’t over yet. We’ve defined what they’ll do. Let’s clarify what skills they need to fulfill those responsibilities.
“You are a strong candidate if you are:
Data-driven: You use data to drive decision-making and improve results. You also recognize where data may not exist and you’re able to move forward without it.
Expert: You are an expert in at least one channel (Facebook, programmatic, AdWords, SEO) and have worked on campaigns in each of the others.
Collaborative: You build strong cross-functional relationships and get joy from the team’s collective success.
Creative: You think about solving problems in different ways when you hit roadblocks. You come up with new ideas for how to motivate and influence target customers.
Structured: You like to organize and classify things (like ad campaigns!) to help you communicate and scale your work.
Curious: You want to know what makes people tick and are always seeking new ways of influencing target customers.
Adaptable: You have an entrepreneurial spirit and crave a high-growth, fast-paced environment where you can innovate and help build a disruptive business.
Self-Motivated: You’re motivated to be amazing in your role and, ultimately, improve the lives of patients.
Action-oriented: You have a BS/BA degree and 3-5 years relevant experience—enough to hit the ground running and drive growth for us in your first 30 days.”
5. Digital marketing job description: benefits
Worst job descriptions don’t include a benefits section. That sends a bad message. It’s basically saying “we care about what we want, less about what we give”. This section is another good moment to ensure you’re targeting the right applicants. Benefits like an Education Budget attracts ambitious professionals.
“What you need to know
- Competitive salary
- Stock options
- Comprehensive health benefits (medical, vision, dental, etc)
- 401(k) retirement plans
- Flexible PTO policy
- Paid volunteer days
What you really want to know
- Coffee. Lots of coffee.
- Cool company swag + your very own Ember mug!
- Catered lunches through EAT Club
- Fully stocked fridge & pantry with all the snacks your heart desires
- Daily ping pong tournaments
- Potential celebrity sightings
- Guaranteed puppy sightings
- Team happy hours
- Spontaneous team outings!”
Fresh brewed coffee first thing in the morning. That’s the feeling this benefits section represents. Ember’s benefits in their job description include all the right spices. It acknowledges the fact that monetary pragmatic benefits matter to everyone. Then they go to the cool stuff. What makes candidates apply. What drives them to stay engaged. To want to work for them.
Establish your digital marketing manager salary
Numbers time. How much are you willing to spend for the right person? This part is important. A digital marketing manager’s salary can vary so much.
Much like any other salary, you need to take a few things into account:
- The market
- The country
- The needs
- The possibilities
Then make that Venn diagram and get your answer. Ideally, you want to be competitive. And yet not attract people who only care about money. But professionals with the right skill set and motivation. While not affecting ROI. Easy peasy. Let’s deep dive a bit.
1. Digital marketing manager salary: market
One google and I found 5 different benchmarking websites that give you the average.
- Glassdoor says the average is $69,755/yr.
- Payscale says $66,052.
- Salary.com says $162,109.
- Totaljobs £42,500.
- Builtin $78,223.
- We quickly realize these averages aren’t enough. You have to target by location, experience, industry. That’ll give you a more accurate estimate. Which will be a great starting point.
Next step is to get some first-hand info. Friends in HR, friends in digital marketing. Real people, honest numbers. A sample of about 15 salaries should give you a frame of mind. As long as they’re in the same city you’re hiring.
2. Digital marketing manager salary: needs
Averages have to be taken with a grain of salt. Every company is different, their needs can vary quite a bit.
Skills. Let’s take an example. A company looking for a digital marketer who has to plan the strategy, run organic social media, and manage the blog is one thing. It’s a different story if they should also do performance marketing, PR, SEO, and lead generation, it’s a different story.
Be honest about what you’re looking for. I don’t think aiming for superheroes is wrong. As long as you’re willing to put your money where your mouth is. Fairness is what wins here. Benefits should reflect expectations. Otherwise, exceptional candidates will be left with a bad taste. And never apply again.
Once you have decided what kind of employee and skill set is required for a particular position, you should list all the requirements. Mentioning the required skills in the job posting in detail would help you save time and filter out suitable candidates a lot faster.
Experience. Besides skills, look at the level of experience. Will 2 years do? Or less than five is unacceptable? Does industry matter? If so, how niched are you looking? B2C is broad. Hospitality is specific. Fintech SaaS is niched.
The narrower the niche, the emptier the pool of choices. The emptier the pool, the greater the competition and the bigger the salaries.
3. Digital marketing manager salary: the possibilities
Looking for a superhero is ok. But again, you have to be able to pay. Or your non-monetary benefits have to be exceptional. Talk to your team or management to get exactly what you can offer. Start at the top limit.
If we find someone incredible, what can we offer?
How much wiggle room is there? If you were to find the digital marketing manager of your dreams, how far would you go to get them?
I find the top limit is the best metric. You can always set a bottom one as well. That’ll help understand candidates’ level when they say their number. It’ll also keep recruiters from profiting off prospects bad at self-evaluation.
“Aiming for the bottom salary will leave you with less capable candidates. Whether the reason for that is you having a low budget, or the candidates having trouble with establishing their worth, you get the short end of the stick. If you want somebody competent, T-shaped, and versatile, you’ll need to splurge. That’s just how it is.” Stefan Batory, CEO at Booksy
Recruiting processes for digital marketing jobs
The recruitment process is about finding a mutual fit. You have to love them. They have to love you. They’ll have to love their work. You’ll have to love their work. No point in recruiting a highly qualified digital marketer if they’ll be miserable.
What you’re looking for
Skills aren’t everything. They’re part of the story. They tell us what a person knows how to do. They fully miss what they can do.
I find potential to be the most important aspect when hiring. How much can they learn? How fast can they learn? How driven are they to learn? Digital marketing managers are no different. They’re the perfect example actually. They function in an industry that changes instantly. SEO might be dead tomorrow. Adaptability and the ability to learn is key.
Skills and potential make up about half the story. The rest is personality, mindset, and personal values. What makes them click has to align with what makes the company click. Their motivation factors have to be part of the benefits.
In the needs assessment process we looked at what the person has to know or be able to learn. Now’s the time to go company-level and team-level. What are the values? What makes people connect? What makes a candidate integrate within days?
Pinpoint all the things you want to learn about your candidates. Then start designing the process to discover those aspects.
Get to know your candidates
Recruitment processes can be as short as a resume & an interview. I’ve also found 8-step processes. No, not only at NASA. Here are the most common processes:
- Resume/ form application
- Short phone interview
- Face-to-face interview
- Skill Assessment
Resumes or forms are the leakiest part of the funnel. That’s where you drop most of your candidates. Resumes alone can be quite confusing. Which is why I vote for forms. They can include resumes as well as a couple of questions. Ask candidates to tell you something about them. Anything important to you. Why did they apply? What’s the best thing about them?
10-15 minutes phone interviews are to find the click — the chemistry. It’s the time to get a glimpse of who the candidates are. Leave time for their own questions too. They’re also assessing if it’s worth their time.
Face-to-face interviews are the most important part. It’ll be the best and most accurate sample you could possibly get from them. The questions and discussion here have to be on point. Flexibility isn’t bad though. If the conversation is flowing and the details are important, you can skip a couple of questions. As long as both you and the candidate leave the room informed.
Skill Assessment. I loved Sujan’s saying here
“It’s a great way for us to separate out the people who know their shit from the people who are just full of shit”
Sounds tough. But it’s true. People bring out their best selves to interviews. It’s only natural. They also lie sometimes. That’s not really natural but it happens. Reasonable homework is a way to get into their brain. How they think. What they know. Yes, they’ll be able to google stuff. That’s also a skill. Don’t knock it. Keep in mind that Google has its limits too. It can give you knowledge but it can’t teach you how to implement that knowledge. At least not in a few days.
You can also use pre-employment hiring tests to evaluate soft skills & role specifics skills. For example, you might test a prospective marketing manager’s PPC & SEO skills, but you can also assess applicants’ critical thinking skills, personality & culture fit, and more. That way you cut down the list of candidates drastically, and only spend your precious time interviewing those with high scores.
Keep a balance
Companies can get greedy. There are jobs out there asking for months of people’s lives. Keep a balance and be fair. Design a process that tells you what you need and helps you recruit the right person. But don’t abuse your position. You dictate the process, but people can drop off at any time.
Tip: To make the hiring process effective and save you time, money, and effort, rely on digital recruiting tools. They help you identify the best candidates and track the whole process in one place.
Onboarding your digital marketing director right
We’ve got a match. Swiping right has paid off. The honeymoon starts. Onboarding can set up a digital marketing manager for success or make them regret their decision.
First month is about learning. What the company does. Their competitors. The team. The roles. The tools. The work.
Some managers think “they’ll learn in time” and forget that time is money. Too much time is frustrating as well. New hires want to feel appreciated and welcome. They’re excited about the new role. They want to get to work and feel noticed. Being put at a desk and handed a laptop feels disrespectful.
Appreciation and common enthusiasm is what they’ll love. Team dedicating time for meetings, handover, and education shows just that.
I’ve joined Planable 2 years ago. My onboarding was absolutely amazing. Based on that experience, we’ve developed clear processes and tasks to welcome every shiny brain who joins now. Here’s how it looks:
For the hiring manager
- Prepare employment agreement
- Have their workstation ready
- Create their email
- Invite them to aaaaall the tools
- Prepare an individual collection of resources
- Organize Welcome drinks
- Give them office access
- Introduce them to the team on Slack
- Hold a session about our company
- Hold a session about our industry
- Hold a session about our product
- Hold a session about our tools of trade
- Hold a session about their role
- Schedule 1-on-1s with the team
For the new team member:
- Sign your employment agreement
- Pick up your laptop
- Get a tour of the office
- Send out a “hello” message to the company on Slack
- Initial check-in with your manager
- Schedule a weekly 1-on-1 with your manager
- Week 1 check-in with your manager
- Schedule 1-on-1s with relevant team members
- 30 day check-in with your manager and the CEO
- 60 day check-in with your manager and the CEO
- 90 day check-in with your manager and the CEO
Didn’t build this so I can say it: pretty freakin’ cool. It includes the open-arms welcome activities like educational sessions and team drinks. It’s also got the logistics in there. I took out a few that we’re company-specific and not useful.
Another important part of the process is to redefine team collaboration including the new member. A digital marketing manager is connected to so many different parts of the company. Their team. The social media team. Brand team. HR team. Finance. Budget. Legal. All. All those ties mean communication. Starting with an efficient process saves money in the long run. Using team-based activities to help the new member settle in is a good idea too. You can even use games that are great for team building if that’s the kind of atmosphere you have or want to create. For any content collaboration, you know what I’ll say, go for Planable. It’s the tool where content teams can create, review, approve, and publish their social media content. It’s also very WFH-friendly. Give it a free spin.
3 thousand words later, we have arrived at the end. We’ve successfully gone through everything we need to find and work with the ideal digital marketing manager.
Miruna Dragomir, Marketing Manager @Planable. Social media fanatic, tech geek & a sucker for learning. Past experience? Social Media Comms Manager @Oracle & Marketing Coordinator @Uber