I was recently asked what questions should be asked a group of shareholders at a professional services firm so she could draft an accurate job description to fill the position of their marketing professional.
The last time I saw the result of a partner survey about the role of a marketing director I was shocked! The “job description” was a numbered list of 42 items, tasks and/or attributes – true story! Worse, this was the document being passed around as the job description. Needless to say, it took a long time to fill that one!
This topic is one that really hits home for me – because it addresses a critical issue for professional services marketing – the disconnect between management and marketing that is absolutely industry-wide. Generally speaking, you are dealing with two sets of personalities: analytical vs. creative; linear vs. holistic.
I told her she was absolutely SPOT ON with the idea of surveying the partners, however – I thought she was asking the wrong question.
Ask them what THEY WANT. (Not what they want in a marketing director – what they want TO ACHIEVE as a FIRM – ask for specifics (questions like which industries they want to grow and by how much or how much more market share they think they can get and why or ask them about how they feel their personal professional experience might be improved). Use this survey as an exercise to help them define some realistic expectations.
Once they have figured out what they want, then the strengths of the marketing professional you should hire should be much more apparent.