There’s a joke post that pops up from time to time on LinkedIn. It’s a conversation between a recruiter and their client. The client is looking for a marketing person “they need digital skills, build websites,seo, ppc, need to code, be able to write copy, organise events, design adverts, take pictures, edit video, create marketing strategy, devise campaigns…oh and they need to be able to write PR pieces. They need to have at least 5 years experience and I’m looking to pay less than £20k”. The recruiter points out that individuals like that are quite expensive because that’s a rare skill set and perhaps the client needs a marketing team? Inevitably, the post has lots of marketeers commenting their agreement.

Jokes aside, irrespective of the size of organisation many marketing professionals are required to work across a wide range of areas. This can be a positive thing, it can make a role more interesting because of the variety of tasks and it can also lead to discovering an area that you might wish to specialise in. What it does tend to drive though, is a tendency for many marketeers to be prepared to jump in, roll up their sleeves and tackle whatever comes along. Personally I don’t think this is a bad thing, proper understanding of tasks can aid you when you are managing others as you truly understand what is required to get a job done.

If you’re fortunate, your marketing department might be one that can call upon a host of agencies to complete tasks, but for some organisations the expectation is that the work is generally undertaken in house. At the other extreme, as in any organisation you will find people who never do any hands on work, possibly have never really done any and are therefore seen as hands off – whether this is good or bad can be debated.

As many commentators have identfied, marketing remains poorly understood in many organisations. But that is a whole other topic.

A negative consequence of being a multi-skilled marketeer can be that of being typecast as a ‘doer’. This is valued in some organisations, but for others it leads to a mistaken belief that if you have hands-on skills, you can’t possibly combine that with sufficient strategic skills or it detracts from the way a marketeer is viewed. I feel it’s a reflection of the inflexible thinking that we all encounter too frequently, it possibly also shows a lack of understanding of how marketing teams and individuals in marketing develop their skill sets and get the work done.

As many commentators have identfied, marketing remains poorly understood in many organisations. But that is a whole other topic.

Hands on, hands off – or a combination?