Three Reasons Your Marketing Employees Need to be Smarter than You

customertileSome of the most influential entrepreneurs and business tycoons out there—think Steve Jobs, Thomas John Watson, Sr., and David Oglivy—have revealed the secret to their success: Staff your company with employees who are smarter than you. Be comfortable being the “dumbest” person in the conference room. Don’t be afraid of that powerhouse employee who encourages you to challenge the status quo and redefine existing business practices.

Never hire someone who knows less than you do about what he’s hired to do,” contends Malcolm Forbes, former publisher of Forbes.

So then why do we all too often go for the “safe hire”—the hire who “yeses” you, simply fulfills the duties of his or job description—instead of going above and beyond—and does not challenge business norms? It’s because we are terrified of corporate ladder leapfrog. We are insecure about our own abilities. And we are terrified that the right person will truly expose our shortcomings.

But being a good boss—especially if you’re a manager, director or C-level executive in the marketing realm—is all about hiring the best of the best. That’s because unlike other departments, the marketing group needs to be constantly thinking outside the box, introducing avant-garde concepts and finding comfort in an uncomfortable place. Let’s take a look at three reasons you need to say “yes” to that next one-of-a-kind unicorn who walks into that next interview for your open content marketing position:

  1. Content Marketing is a Dynamic Industry: From white papers to podcasts to infographics, the content marketing industry is always evolving. For example, two months ago you may have been so consumed with Hummingbird that nothing else seemed to matter. But now, all of a sudden you have the LinkedIn content marketing score to worry about. (You did know about that, right?) And what about that good ole Twitter picture tagging? Content marketing is a dynamic industry requiring you to have deep bench of staffers who are quick on their feet and always ahead of industry curves. Someone who is great at editing and writing no longer cuts it for a content marketing role. Rather you need someone who is ingenious, innovative, curious and aware.
  2. Some of the Best Ideas Seemingly Come from Nowhere: There are some marketing concepts that take off that leave us all thinking “How on Earth did I not think of that?” Because they are just so incredibly brilliant—albeit simple. Take last winter’s West Jet Christmas miracle as an example, or the buzz-worthy tweet “You can still dunk in the dark” by Oreo during the Super Bowl 2013 blackout. These ideas most likely didn’t come from the employee who sits quietly in his cubicle simply crossing off mundane tasks from his “to-list.” Rather, they came from the employee who devours every marketing blog that hits the feeds, the employee who constantly asks “Could my company do better” before signing off for the night. How will you get your own “dunk in the dark” moment? By hiring the right marketers.
  3. Old Skill Sets Simply Won’t Cut it: In the past, you could take comfort in hiring the introverted candidate who could bang out four blogs in one day. But today, your content marketer has to be a whole lot more robust. According to a recent study conducted by Kapost, 83 percent of respondents said that finding content marketing talent is difficult or somewhat difficult. That’s because it’s about finding the jack of all trades, the employee who can make sure lightning strikes twice and the individual who knows that complacency is the biggest downfall for successful companies. As you look to staff your marketing team, look for unique traits and eccentricities that will bode well for your company. Ask the candidate for a moment in his or her career in which he or she challenged the majority sentiment and it paid off in regards to ROI. Pull up your website and ask the individual for three things you can do to make your site stronger. When he or she says something brilliant, don’t be afraid. Dig deeper.

Ready to dig through those resumes with a fresh eye? Don’t worry, hiring the best will only make you better; it will encourage you to be a better boss, mentor and colleague and the gains for your company’s bottom line will be limitless.