What's Your 2017 MarTech Talent Strategy?

What's Your 2017 MarTech Talent Strategy?


Marketo’s recent breakfast event in Sydney placed Tools, Technology & Talent at the top of the agenda. It was an insightful morning with a resonating message for me:

We can have all the tech and tools in the world but we are nothing without talent.

In this post, I want to build on the messages that Google, Facebook and LinkedIn representatives put forward at the breakfast and offer some suggestions for your 2017 Talent Strategy.

As I pointed out in my last post, there is an extremely limited pool of qualified and skilled candidates in Australia. When any one of them looks for a new employer, they are in very high demand. From my experience, it’s not unusual for candidates to receive three or four offers within a two-week period of looking for a new job.

Global MarTech trends - and predictions from industry experts on the ground in Australia - state that we are all going to need more MarTech people in 2017. Australia’s MarTech talent pool is set to become even more competitive.

With this is in mind, how can agencies, consultancies and end users of marketing technology remain competitive for talent in Australia?

In my mind, there are two main prongs to a potential strategy.

Firstly, we should broaden the funnel. This means:

1) Growing our efforts in recruiting international talent

Bringing in talent from abroad will add more supply to our talent pool and simultaneously diversify our market too.

Whilst some (mainly a dinosaur-recruiter I had the "pleasure" of meeting at a LinkedIn event) argue diversity is nothing more than buzzword, I believe that diversity empowers businesses to challenge the status quo and broaden horizons.

A more diverse workforce provides new learning opportunities for everyone within a business. Rather than clash of cultures, done in the right way, diversifying talent can enhance a business’ culture and be great stepping-stone to international growth.

2) Getting better at retaining employees and home-grown Australian talent

In a country with limited resource, and fierce competition for talent, a surprising number of employers don’t listen to their workforce. If talent is the most important element of a business, then why do companies not put people first?

One of the most successful business I work with do exactly that. They have structured their consultancy around their employees strengths.

Every new employee is given choice; the chance to specialise in an area of their own choosing. New starters are not expected to be 100% billable for 12 months. For the first 6 months or until they’ve settled in, employees are given a 40% of their time innovate and play with new technologies; to find their specific passion within the range of tools available under the Marketing Technology umbrella.

When I’ve candidates interviewing at multiple companies, they have won candidates every time, leaving their competitors still looking for a decent candidate!

Secondly, a talent strategy shouldn’t just be about talent acquisition. Yes, we need to broaden the funnel but how do we nurture, retain and grow talent?

(Marketers, do those terms sound familiar?)

3) We have to invest more in training and entry-level positions

Taking on juniors arguably costs more than hiring experienced candidates, despite the difference in salary. Given the size of many MarTech businesses and startups using the tech, it can be hard to justify the amount of time and resources needed to get a junior up to speed.

Whilst it would certainly help if universities gave students more of a grounding in the technical aspects of marketing. Is the education system creating future-proofed, tech-savvy marketers? I'd argue not, but that's a different story...

Therefore, we have a responsibility to do this for a longer term, healthier industry.

4) We have to be more agile and use existing resource more efficiently

Agile is not a new concept. The best software development teams have been following this methodology for years. As marketing becomes more technical, shouldn’t we consider it too?

Do you know what a Kanban board is? Do you hold daily stand-up scrum meetings? Do you work in sprint periods?

In my eyes, agile methodology is exactly that: agile. If you lead a MarTech team, there are heaps of different elements that you can adapt and adopt to make it fit for your team. For example, in my role, Kanban helps me keep track of the different interview process I have ongoing.

Agile has proven to make teams more productive, more autonomous and, ultimately, happier. Happiness is a huge factor in employee retention!

5) We have to innovate more

According to Walker Sands 2016 report on the state of marketing technology, more than half of marketers think that the MarTech industry is evolving faster than their companies’ use of marketing technology.

More than half of marketers think that the MarTech industry is evolving faster than their companies’ use of marketing technology.

If working with the latest technology is important to an employee, then we have to innovate to stay ahead of this curve.

In a recent CMO Show Podcast, Lee Hawksley (VP of SFMC in ANZ) argued that we should dedicate 20% of our time to innovation. That’s one day in the working week, set aside to playing with new technologies and doing different things with your existing programmes and tools.

The idea of devoting 20% of employee time to innovation is nothing new. Google’s policy has been well documented and its how things like Google Maps & Gmail were born.

Empowering employees to be more creative and innovate

Innovate. Fail fast, and cheaply.


Whilst none of this revolutionary, I speak to several prospective clients that haven’t given true thought to the elements listed above. How do you attract, grow and retain your employees?

If you’d like to discuss your 2017 MarTech hiring strategy, please don’t hesitate to give me call.

blog author

by Carl Thomas