In 2016, the American Staffing Association estimated there are roughly 20,000 Staffing Agencies in the United States. We believe there is somewhere between 22,000 and 25,000 with less than 500 firms specializing in both marketing and information technology staffing combined.
Historically, marketing people hire marketing people and technology people hire technology people. With the convergence of the marketing and information technology departments, there is a fundamental shakeup happening when it comes to identifying and selecting staffing resources, and the question of who really makes the marketing technology staffing decisions.
Who draws the Marketing IT Staffing Red Line?
All the news outlets, blogs, and industry analysts point to marketing departments across the country generating the need for brand awareness and the need for speed to be competitive. Yes, it is true that marketing departments have the budgets, but are they really the ones drawing the red line of vetting the new staff of marketing technologists?
We are seeing technology departments leaning more towards a ‘mentoring’ role in the staffing decisions to fulfill marketing technology needs. We see this in mid-large scale organizations. This could be because of the ‘do more with less’ (yes, I said it) where IT simply does not have the resources or money, or perhaps it as a position of delegation. Nonetheless, IT is maintaining a level of distance.
Larger organizations have already initiated the transformation to the ‘CMO-CTO’ office. Even though lines have been established and are still currently being fleshed out, marketing IT staffing decisions appear to be leaning more to the marketing side. In smaller organizations, the red line appears to have been collaboratively drawn on longer-term projects and/or cloud specific solutions – with limited or no technical support from IT.
Regardless of the organization, we are seeing consistency that both departments maintain key roles in the decision process when a marketing technology engagement is fully outsourced. An exception to this are special short-term marketing IT projects. In most cases, it’s marketing driven and IT has little or no involvement identifying and sectioning the appropriate resource.
Shouldn’t it be the Marketing IT Staffing Grey Line?
Overall, the resource pool with both Marketing and Technology skill sets are currently limited. Both sides are making ground at a steady pace in understanding the inverse skill sets. From the technical side, we see this in UX design, Mobile Application Development, and Analytic Integration – primarily because these types of projects require a fair level of marketing knowledge in order to compete. From the marketing side, we see it with the Social Media Integration, Campaign Management, and Content Management – primarily because the software platforms warrant a level of technology knowledge in order execute.
While this crossover is currently transitioning, marketing and technology remain separate and distinct when it comes to marketing IT staffing. The marketing and IT staffing red line remains red with a hint of grey forming in favor of marketing.
Over the next few years, we will begin to see dual competencies in both, non-technical marketing strategy and positioning coupled with technical level integration capabilities. The challenge will remain for some time to properly identify, select, manage and retain the right marketing technology resource for the need, regardless of contract, contract-hire, or dire-hire positions.