Let's talk with Sarah-Lee - The Marketing Generalist vs The Marketing Specialist

The World of Recruitment Sees No Sign of Slowing Down

Can you believe we are in May already? 2022 seems to be flying by and the world of recruitment sees no sign of slowing down. However, as promised, I am continuing to take the time to write my monthly blogs – hoping that you enjoy them!

Each month my aim is to discuss topics that are impacting Sales & Marketing professionals, from industry changes, recruitment trends, advice and general news.

It needs to be said that I never profess to be an expert - but after many years of working in the sales and marketing space and personally experiencing the transformation across both sectors, whilst also spending the last 16 years recruiting sales & marketing professionals, I hope I can give some of you a little help, get you talking about things or at the very least make you smile.


The Marketing Generalist vs The Marketing Specialist

This month I promised to give you my thoughts on the full mix marketing professional versus the channel specialist. This is a discussion I have with my team every week as we read more and more job specs with new and wonderful titles, that the industry seems to make up or change. It is also something I discuss when I guest speak at universities, always causing a general debate – should you specialise, or should you cover everything?


Small Businesses Need Marketeers with Broad Skillsets

When I talk about full mix marketing, I am considering those professionals in a generalist role. They have the ability to look at the overall aim of your marketing plan and consider the best channels to deliver your goals including;

  • Marketing & Social Media
  • Email Campaigns
  • Public Relations & Media
  • External & Internal Communications
  • Events & Exhibitions
  • Sales Collateral & Print Requirements
  • Design & Brand

According to the Content Marketing Institute, most marketing teams consist of just 2-5 people and this surprisingly still proves true for 49% of large companies with 1000+ employees. So, if you are a smaller business or a large company which falls within this 49%, then typically you will need and want someone with a breadth of skills that can do all of the above.

Three women working at computers.


Hiring Marketing Specialists Can Give Your Business a Competitive Edge

Alternatively, if you have the benefit of a large marketing division made up of many parts, their leader is ‘usually’ a Marketing Director/CMO who has risen through the ranks, through a full mix marketing career route.

However, as marketing and technology advances, this has given marketing professionals more areas to consider – no longer just the 4 P’s I was trained on 20 years ago!

The Marketing Mix: Product, Price, Place, Promotion, People, Process, Physical Evidence

Companies now have the ability to reach their audiences and analyse their performance in new and exciting ways, meaning they need the technical and specialist expertise to deliver their plans, which can include;

  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) & Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
  • Automation & Personalisation
  • User Experience (UX) & User Interface (UI)
  • Social Media & Content
  • Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) & Lead Generation

All great techniques that can allow you to dig deep and know where to spend your money in the right areas. Allowing you to report on cost-per-lead (CPL), customer lifetime value (LTV), cost-per-action (CPA), cost-per-click (CPC), personas & segmentation and of course much more. This is especially important considering that 60% of marketeers agree that their customer acquisition costs (CAC) have gone up in the last three years alone.

Therefore, when looking for a new role or hiring a new team member, do you go for a generalist or a specialist?


Which Type of Marketeer Makes a Better Leader?

Marketing is an ever-growing, ever-changing sector. Our recruiters are constantly having to reinvent themselves, go on courses, network, check YouTube – use all available tools to keep up with industry trends and technologies; just to advise clients and rate candidates. If we have to do this, imagine how difficult it is for candidates to make this choice.

Ways to Stay Up-to-Date With Marketing Trends: Complete short courses, attend networking events, watch YouTube videos, follow thought leaders on social media, subscribe to industry blogs and social media, join online groups and forums, listen to podcasts

However, as more and more graduates come out of university, specialising in a specific area, our question is, where are the future leaders? If you have specialised in digital for example your entire career, can you be the marketing director, if you have never experienced any offline channels? Or does this matter in a post-pandemic world where consumer behaviours have drastically changed, and digital marketing roles are amongst the fastest growing in the industry?

Close up of a business woman.


Final Thoughts: Surround Yourself with People Whose Strengths Compliment Your Weaknesses

Personally, I feel if you have a large team and a budget to match, then why not surround yourself with experts. Find people that know things that you don’t, find people that can add value to what you are trying to achieve. However, I still agree that if you are a smaller business then start out with a strong all-rounder, who can help you in a range of marketing channels.

A group of people having a creative meeting.

I lead our marketing team here at Elevation and my role is simple. As a board member, I work with our CEO and my fellow directors to understand the business aims. I then develop the marketing plans and goals that can help achieve these. However, over the last 12 months, I have then hired others within my team to deliver this including a full mix marketing professional that can turn her hand to anything, design specialists and also a recent SEO & digital professional and now I am on the hunt for a videographer. I don’t profess to be an expert; I am definitely a generalist, but I love to learn from my specialists and dabble when I can.

Just a bit of food for thought…


Next month we will look at salaries and benefits – we have seen big changes in the last 18 months.

If you want me to cover anything or to discuss a topic further – then reach out via LinkedIn or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Bye for now!


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