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MarTechExec Takeaway

“There is technology out there now that can really change the way talent management affects our marketing teams, we just need to start leveraging the technology for that.” — Lana Moore, Executive Editor at MarTechExec (@martechexec)


Talent management helps businesses create and keep talented teams. This involves activities such as recruiting and employee development. Due to its prioritization of personal growth, talent management is a continuous process.

Guiding principles

Demand for digital marketers is strong. In fact, a recent study from McKinley Marketing Partner, which surveyed over 300 marketers, revealed a growing job market for the digital marketing industry overall. There was 19 percent growth over last year. Additionally, 44 percent plan to hire more marketers this year compared to only 28 percent last year.

Keeping a strong team that can stay ahead of the curve is easy enough to think about, but making sure your company is capable of doing that is another thing entirely.

Help create a career development plan

Marketers are uniquely positioned today in an industry that changes and evolves at a rapid pace. They want to continue to develop and learn new skills not only to advance their career, but to stay on top of the current landscape.

Provide your employees with the opportunity to create a career development plan and mentor them on that plan.

Invest in thorough training

In addition to marketers wanting to stay on top of the way marketing is changing, you and your company need to put training in place to ensure they achieve that.

You can reduce turnover when you keep your team thoroughly trained, so that no one feels that they or the company is falling behind. Keep your employees engaged in the planning process for training as well, so that they feel they really know what’s going on.

Set clear, established goals

When you set clear goals for your team, you give them a clear roadmap of what they need to do to succeed.

And the advancements we have in technology today means you can clearly measure their progress and help them see where they’re at and where they need to go.

What is talent management?

Talent management encompasses all the steps taken to sustain a high-quality staff. This includes attracting, hiring, onboarding, training, reviewing, and rewarding employees.

The approach of talent managers differs from traditional approaches in several ways. In short, talent management follows four core principles:

  • Selection
  • Deployment
  • Development
  • Retention


  • 360 Degree Feedback — a process in which employees ask for feedback from their peers. This typically includes their manager, coworkers and direct reports.
  • Applicant Tracking System — an automated software solution that streamlines the recruiting process. It gathers the candidate information and allows organizations to track the candidate’s progress through each stage of the hiring process.
  • Behavioral Assessments — a type of pre-hire assessment designed to measure critical traits needed to perform the job. It assesses whether a candidate is a fit based on personality traits rather than skills traits.
  • Cascading Goals — the process of translating goals from one level of the organization to the next to ensure alignment between the strategy and activities and goals.
  • Continuous Feedback — providing ongoing feedback and coaching by openly discussing an employee’s strengths and weaknesses on a regular basis.
  • Skills Matrix — a visual tool that shows the tasks and skills required for specific roles and the current skill level of each employee for each task.

Benefits of talent management

The value that talent management brings to businesses is crystal clear for C-suite leaders. In fact, two-thirds of CEOs say talent management is a top priority in 2017.

CMOs, it’s time to get on board and make talent management a main priority for your marketing team.


Sitting back and letting your inbox flood with applications? It’s time to forget those days.

According to Glassdoor, each corporate job opening posted online receives 250 applications. Yet, nearly 50 percent of SMBs say they aren’t finding the talent they need. So, clearly, posting a job opening isn’t enough to bring you the talent you want.

Talent management emphasizes playing offense. It requires shifting your mindset from receiver of applicants to seeker of qualified candidates. Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal candidate, and ask yourself what tone and content will catch their eye.

Retention of engaged employees

Part of having a team of successful marketers is ensuring that each team member you have is engaged and that those engaged members stick around. Here’s the issue, though — A survey of HR professionals found that 16 percent used an outdated retention and engagement strategy, while 18 percent used no strategy whatsoever.

Talent management principles abide by the belief that engaged employees are productive and profitable.  And they aren’t wrong. That’s important for any team, but especially for a marketing team looking to drive revenue and lead generation.

According to Gallup, businesses with highly engaged teams report a 17 percent increase in productivity and 21 percent higher profit margins.

So how can you motivate your marketing team?

  • Studies found that effective teamwork training includes “experiential activities” and active learning.
  • Debate ideas and offer constructive criticism — It encourages group creativity.
  • Have managers focus on their employees' strengths so that they are more engaged at work.

Performance management

Performance management is crucial to keeping a team motivated. Studies show that 82 percent of employees feel they don’t receive the recognition they deserve, and only 12 percent feel their workplace fosters career development.

Career development is important to anyone, but especially marketers, as we’re in an industry that is constantly changing with the technology.

According to Accenture, 79 percent of businesses have updated their performance management practices within the past five years. If you’re dealing with marketers, consider upping that number to two or three years so that you’re keeping up with how technology changes your employees’ activities.

In fact, 83 percent of employees say opportunities to tackle new challenges increase their likelihood of staying with a company. So staying on top of the shifting martech landscape and incorporating that into your performance management is a no-brainer.

Challenges of talent management

Talent management is hard to get right. It takes thorough planning and a well-thought-out strategy.

However, many companies struggle with getting it right.

Poor hiring strategies

In order for your talent management to be a success, you need to start with bringing on high performing talent in open job positions. If you’re staffing management plan isn’t effective, you’ll face difficulty down the road with your talent management.

Poor hiring strategies come from

  • Not knowing where to begin sourcing candidates
  • Not knowing how to attract talent
  • Difficulty getting a candidate to accept their job offer

Meanwhile, Top Echelon’s 2016/2017 State of the Recruiting Industry report found that one of the top reasons most candidates turn down a job offer was because the hiring process took too long.

An ineffective hiring strategy means a company will struggle sourcing top talent. And, if you do manage to source top talent, the candidate won’t want to wait around forever for an offer.

Inexperience with technology

Automation allows business to streamline and simplify their operations. A great automation tool for talent management is an applicant tracking system (ATS).

Using software like this saves you time so that you can move through the hiring process more quickly.

However, if a hiring manager doesn’t know how to use or make the most of this software, they’ll just end up crippling the talent management process and putting a hold on business operations.

Ineffective leadership

The backbone of successful talent management is strong leadership. Managers have to take on a crucial role in developing and retaining their employees.

When the leadership is lacking, employees don’t receive the guidance they need.  If there is ineffective leadership within the company, employees won’t have guidance in their career development.

According to Gallup, employees whose managers focus on their strengths are more engaged at work. So leaders of the company need to strive to ensure they’re keeping their employees engaged and providing them with training and performance management.

How do you select the right technology for talent management?

Talent management can be made even more seamless when you incorporate the right tools and technology.

Determining the right tools and technology will largely depend on your organization and its needs. Luckily, you have plenty to choose from.

Social media to give performance updates

As marketers, we know social media is here to stay.

And that’s good news for talent management. Increasingly, employees are asking for real-time performance feedback — In small, easily digestible snippets.

It’s not feasible to go up to every employee every day and give them that feedback. However, technology can bridge the gap for us. And social media might just be the key.

In fact, software tools already exist that can integrate internal communication, performance management, and employee management into one online platform. And that makes it easier for managers to have those regular check-ins with their employees.

Manage new hire ‘paperwork’ electronically

Keeping track of paperwork can be tedious and there’s too much room for human error. That’s where an electronic records system comes into play. These paperless systems can help make the record management process run much smoother.

This means your human resources team can spend more time on getting new hires familiar with the company, their position and any other processes they need to know about. No more menial task checking over paperwork to ensure its signed — Your system will do that for you.

Data gives insights

Data can be used for more than targeting consumers.

If you use it right, data can help you find and attract the type of employee that you want. It can help you create a compelling job offer that brings in the high-performing talent you need.

You can also leverage that data to understand

  • Employee satisfaction
  • Performance
  • How much an employee expects to earn
  • Etc.

How can we expect talent management to change over the next 3-5 years?

Talent management probably has more potential to change in the next few years than you realize.

“Talent management technology will continue to offer more functionality to employees and their managers while becoming easier for employees to use.” — Chris Lennon, Vice President of Product Management at BirdDogHR

Focus will shift from mundane tasks

“With such a shift in day-to-day activities away from the mundane, the role of the talent specialist will be to focus on the aspects of HR that cannot be automated: diplomacy, negotiation and relationship management — things only a human can do.” — Keaton Kruser, Recruiting Coordinator, Talent Team at Fueled

“Moving forward talent management solutions will radically evolve to be more intelligent, simpler to use, and most importantly more engaging. With this change, we’re going to see talent management become a much more ingrained part of how people work on an everyday basis.” — Lara Albert, Senior Director, HCM Solutions at SAP

Better technology to benefit the whole organization

“New talent management technology has to be pervasive from app to website to integrations and user-friendly in all modalities or lose traction. Too often, HR technology was focused on a top-down approach from management, but now we're seeing employees and managers able to pull in new technologies that are easy to use and generate benefits in a much quicker fashion.” — David Niu, Chief Executive Officer at TINYpulse

No more one-size-fits-all

“In the next three to five years, talent management will evolve into a system of total self-management.” — Jon Michail, Chief Executive Officer at Image Group International

“With an HR focus on using analytics and data to pinpoint the wants and needs of the workforce and with the capability of doing so at scale via things like machine learning and cognitive technology, HR and Talent Management professionals will be tasked with creating ecosystems that make the company experience and individual one and not a one-size-fits-all effort.” — Janine Truitt, Chief Innovations Officer at Talent Think Innovations, LLC

AI, augmented reality and machine learning

“There’s going to be a continued focus on using science - management science, machine learning and artificial intelligence - to impact the behavior of people in organizations.” — Daniel Chait, Chief Executive Officer at Greenhouse

“AI will be increasingly used to screen resumes, source talent and engage with candidates. Using AI will help recruiters focus on high-level, enjoyable tasks such as interviewing and cultivating corporate culture. It’s a very exciting time to be a part of the shift!” — Kayla Kozan, Director of Marketing at Ideal

“Talent sourcing and detection will be more and more powered by AI. As the boundaries of organizations are blurring, the difference between inside/outside the organization becomes less important. If you give the machine an indication of the type of candidates you are looking for, it will start a broad search, and deliver a long list of potential candidates quickly.” — Tom Haak, Director at HR Trend Institute


Talent management has been going down the same road for a long time. As technology changes and the role of a marketer continues to shift we’ll need talent management to change to accommodate that.