What’s in a Name? The Importance of Getting Your Marketing Job Titles Just Right

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The thought and effort you put into naming your marketing positions could strongly affect the quality of talent you’re able to attract to them.

When it’s time to fill a recent vacancy or create a new role, the actual title of a job is one of the most important aspects of the position. But something we see as marketing headhunters is that it’s also one of the most frequently overlooked.

Proper job title optimization is a low-cost way to increase the quantity and quality of applicants you receive, offer value to your staff, improve employee retention and satisfaction, and more. If your organization isn’t putting some serious thought into the labels it gives its marketing positions, you’re very likely putting yourself out of consideration from some of the best possible candidates.

Why Titles Matter

A job title isn’t just a description: it’s a sign of career growth, of prestige and responsibility. These are all things that matter to top marketing talent. And it only takes a small problem with the title assignment to completely misclassify the kind of role or the level of experience needed to execute it.

Put yourself in the shoes of a career-oriented marketer with a great track record of success. Would YOU be drawn to a job with a bland title that wouldn’t stand out on a resume or represent your experience?

Would YOU be drawn to a job with a bland job title that wouldn’t stand out on a resume or represent your experience?

From a more practical perspective, an accurate job title serves as an ad headline in today’s online job search environment. Think about how marketing candidates most frequently encounter new job opportunities these days: via web searches, job aggregation sites, and social media. If a job title doesn’t instantly resonate with a candidate, even a very qualified one, they’ll quickly overlook it. Similarly, an absent or poorly chosen keyword could attract a mob of unqualified applications to sift through.

Whether it’s an entry-level role or a high-level marketing executive position, you can get a greater quantity of better qualified candidate by taking some key factors of your next marketing job title into account before publishing it.

Representing the Focus of the Job

Ever gotten a business card or visited the LinkedIn profile of someone with a job title so generic, you’re left with absolutely no clue what they do? In marketing especially, there are a lot of vague job titles: marketing manager, digital supervisor, media associate, program director, etc.

A lot of factors can contribute to this vagueness. Corporations sometimes have naming conventions to help organize and structure their workforce, even if they come at the expense of detail. Sometimes the job is listed by an HR professional or hiring manager that doesn’t fully understand the nature of the role or is just recycling an old job description.

But marketing has become a field of endless niches and specializations. There are experts in everything now, and it’s important that your titles reflect that. So err on the side of descriptiveness: it’s hard to be too specific, but easy to be too generic. Take the extra time to make sure the title reflects the overall duties and core goals of the position.

Representing Your Brand

The Importance of Getting Your Marketing Job Titles

Hiring managers and marketing leaders should give their employees job titles that are both accurate and true to your employment brand. You’ve undoubtedly seen plenty of professional, no-nonsense job titles, as well as some that are a little more…exotic. Like “Grand Social Marketing Wizard” or “Master Content Ninja.”

At the end of the day, either style is fine. Just understand that different titles on the traditional/unconventional spectrum will attract different kinds of people. And you want your title to be appealing to professionals that will best fit your corporate culture and workplace.

Furthermore, your job titles can make an impression on your outward facing brand, too. Imagine meeting a marketer at a networking event that hands you a business card with a very silly or otherwise unusual job title. That person is likely to stand out in your memory, which is good for both of you. But depending on the situation, you might also take them a little less seriously or consider them less professional than other people you meet in similar roles. Consider carefully the image you want to maintain, both internally and externally, before settling on a naming strategy.

Seniority and Responsibility

A position’s title should accurately express the leadership and management expectations and responsibilities of the role. People within your organization should be able to quickly understand the amount of authority this person wields and who they answer to.

People within your organization should be able to quickly understand the amount of authority this person wields and who they answer to.

This is less important for more junior roles. But for positions of greater responsibility, especially if it involves directly managing others, it’s important to designate the level of experience and management capability you want to see in potential hires for the role.

Upgrading a role with a more advanced-sounding title has the additional benefit of making it more eye-catching and appealing to top marketing talent, especially as you get into the senior management positions and above. You may be able to get the attention of great marketers who would otherwise overlook the position.

For instance, you might want to name your head of marketing tech a Chief Marketing Technologist, even if that role typically shouldn’t be considered as on the same level as other C-Suite standards like the COO, CFO and CMO. Though that’s an executive role that really belongs just beneath the CMO, it’s potentially important and advanced enough to justify the “Chief” designation.

Finding Inspiration

With marketing moving so quickly, old roles are disappearing into obsolescence while modern alternatives rise to replace them. Keeping up with the most appropriate, accurate and engaging labels isn’t easy.

If you’re unsure what to call that critical new open marketing position, there are plenty of resources to draw inspiration from. One easy strategy is to find someone who does a great job of filling a comparable role elsewhere and “borrowing” their title. Another is to communicate with current staff who have a similar role to the one you fill, and ask what they think it should be called.

Finally, contacting marketing headhunters is a surefire way to make sure you’re effectively naming your marketing jobs. As professionals that make a living hiring marketers, they have plenty of experience with job titles that work–and those that don’t.

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