This is just a theory, but it feels to me that there's a talent gap in the marketing space--or a few of them.
To begin with, there seems to be a serious shortage of customer acquisition experts--particularly given how hot subscription services have gotten. Fab.com (First Round portfolio company) just announced a new round of funding and that they reached 350,000 subscribers. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of folks out there that can help a new company build up that kind of subscriber base cost effectively (if you can, contact me firstname.lastname@example.org). If you are in marketing right now, or a student thinking about it, an *instant* way to get a job is to build up customer acquisition skills. Show that you know how to target, acquire, and profitably build up a subscription customer base, all while tracking the right metrics, and *boom* you're hired.
Secondly, agencies and big companies seem to have caused a management gap on the marketing side as well. People have gotten so specialized, that we have people doing nothing but community management, SEO/SEM, PR, etc. This basically makes them completely unusable as the first marketing employee of a startup--which would be a terrific job for an up and coming marketer. Unfortunately, in that job, you need to be able to lay out a strategy across all these verticals, and build a machine that makes it work--not to mention rolling up your sleeves a little bit in each area to get the flywheel going before you turn it over to a junior team that you hire. From what I can tell, there are few senior folks in management positions at big companies and agencies that are willing/able to do this. Where are the strategically thinking marketing generalists who can also execute each of the tasks--maybe not at an expert level in each, but enough to get the job done well enough to turn it over to a specialist as the company scales? This is a startup's first Director of Marketing and there are a ton of openings in this area.
I sat down with a super smart marketer who has been a little bit pigeon holed in social media, but is capable of a lot more. I asked her about who her peer group was--who she has smart conversations about audience development, customer acquisition, metrics, etc--and she was at a loss. In New York City, that just shouldn't happen.
Who can build the marketing machine?