How to hire real-time marketers

The world of marketing has increasingly become a 0-day, real-time world. Events happen, news scrolls by, memes catch fire – and the savvy marketer has to be able to catch the waves as nimbly as a professional surfer. None of this is news, or shouldn’t be news to you. What is worth thinking about is the kind of person you need to be able to execute on real-time marketing effectively and intelligently.

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Real-time marketing isn’t for everyone. In fact, it’s not for most people. Real-time marketers must operate under stressful conditions repeatedly. Real-time marketers must be able to synthesize new information very quickly and transform incomplete information into insights in a way that leaves room for additional information to complete the picture later. Above all else, real-time marketers must be able to make consistently correct snap decisions with little or no oversight.

Here’s an easy question to ask in job interviews and screening that actually incorporates relevant information about a person’s academic performance and can help you identify a solid real-time marketer. A 3.8 GPA itself might be good or bad, but ask a candidate how often they did their term papers and other projects at the last minute. If you have someone who can consistently execute on last minute things and still achieve great results, you have someone who has the temperament of a real-time marketer.

Bear in mind, this kind of person is also highly susceptible to stress and burnout, so it’s important to make sure that they are not keeping the gas floored all the time, or they’ll crack. Bear in mind as well that real-time marketing isn’t a strategy, either. It’s a tactic, a very effective tactic that lets you be more agile and responsive, but it still needs to fit in an overall marketing battle plan. While you don’t – and can’t – need to have every word pre-written, you do need guard rails and guides, boundaries in which you will execute your real-time plans and keep people under high pressure from eventually making bad decisions.

What if you aren’t the kind of person that thrives in that high pressure, last minute environment, or you don’t have anyone on your team who does? Then real-time marketing is probably not a great tactical option for you. If you’ve got long lead time planners and folks who prefer to be less reactive, then make the most of their strengths and talents and perform your marketing like that.

Asking someone who doesn’t think in real-time to behave that way is a recipe for disaster. Play to your strengths and the strengths of your team, because you can’t afford to execute less than your best.


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  • mariana evica

    There’s a name for this!? This is my Modus Operandi for forever. I’m glad you’re looking through a lens that can value this. It’s under-valued.