The New War for Talent in Analytics and Marketing Services

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1 The New War for Talent in Analytics and Marketing Services The analytics and marketing services sector is experiencing explosive growth. Influenced by major trends such as big data, digital and data-centric marketing, marketing automation, customer centricity and customer engagement, organizations are repositioning their services and encountering new competitors. As companies from different industries converge on this emerging market, they find themselves in a new war for talent. The ongoing need for technical talent, particularly data scientists, has been well documented and will continue to be a major concern for any data-driven business. However, what is often overlooked in this conversation is the need for strong commercial talent to evangelize, commercialize and scale these new services businesses. Throughout the past year, Heidrick & Struggles has spoken with hundreds of leaders in the analytics and marketing services sector to uncover their top challenges and talent priorities. One common priority is the need to recruit leaders who are equally capable of engaging with the CMO and the CTO. These leaders must inspire organizations that are increasingly becoming integrated and cross-functional. The following examines the key challenges and human capital priorities commonly cited across each industry and offers insightful perspectives from executives striving to build world-class teams.

2 Consulting, IT Services and Outsourcing Firms Large firms can have a technology or implementation-centric reputation in the market. Smaller firms can struggle with market entry, scalability and resources. These firms will continue to have needs in capability development and will seek relevant subject matter expertise to complement their existing talent. Sales and business development expertise will remain in strong demand. For firms that aspire to reposition their core client relationships (from technology to marketing, for example), leaders must be credible engaging with both the CMO and CTO to maintain existing relationships while opening new doors. Marketing has emerged as a key strategic business driver and as a result, marketing leaders have become incredibly valuable. More career options are available to them than ever before and more companies are placing marketers in high-visibility commercial leadership roles. It is more difficult to engage, recruit and retain this talent now because they have more options available to them. We prioritize candidates based upon breadth of skills they bring across various marketing and brand functions. We need to consider short-term and long-term priorities and demands on our business when making senior-level hires. Ultimately, it is about creating a portfolio of talent within our firm. We need to ensure that we have a diverse team that can address the constantly changing needs of our clients. ~Head of Recruiting for a leading marketing and branding consultancy Marketing Technology Companies (AdTech, Marketing Resource Management, Marketing Automation, etc.) Marketing technology companies compete in a constantly evolving and crowded market. Except for a small group of firms, brand recognition and awareness can be low. The need for a differentiated technology solution and in-house technical expertise is often a ticket to entry. Companies require skilled business builders both in terms of operations and revenue. Of utmost concern is the need to identify leaders who are good culture matches and who embrace the dynamic environment of an early-stage company, often with finite resources. Everybody is looking for crossover talent. My ideal, what I look for in any senior-level candidate, is a blend of strategy or management consulting experience, analytics experience, and digital marketing experience. In the end, I m forced to compromise to find people with two out of three. The implication is that we need to be thoughtful about how we build our teams and our company s leadership. The game has changed and the tables have turned. We ve had to turn the recruiting process on its head. Competition is so intense that we can t only compete on compensation. We need to compete on the value of the opportunity to the individual candidate. We ve had to change the approach and the dialogue with candidates. Anyone we want to hire can go anywhere. ~CEO of a leading adtech company 2 Analytics and Marketing Services

3 Traditional Marketing & Information Services Companies : Legacy marketing services companies aspire to diversify and move upstream with integrated solutions that will boost margins. : These firms will continue to have needs in capability/subject matter expertise. Leaders must bring a high degree of market visibility and external competitive awareness to help reposition these businesses in the eyes of their clients. They also need leaders who can drive transformational change and ensure changes stick internally. The ultimate winners will be able to effectively integrate offline interaction and profile data in addition to the rich anonymous online data streams. This will require a sophisticated marketing analytics leader capable of integrating people, process and technology from traditional database marketing, web analytics and big data science. The stakes are significant and things are only beginning to heat up. The war for talent I deal with every day is analagous to what happened during the dot-com boom. As competition for talent becomes more intense, it will be a challenge for everyone, especially for large, established companies in legacy businesses who are looking to pivot their businesses. ~Vice President and Division Leader of a major marketing technology and services company New Entrants Many large media, financial services and telecommunications corporations have begun to recognize the value of their proprietary data assets and are seeking ways to monetize these resources. These organizations need to build businesses capable of transforming their data into insight-driven solutions. They will need to reposition their brand and build new businesses. Security and privacy will be top priorities; these companies must ensure that they can protect their core businesses. To accomplish their goals, these companies will need to recruit fundamentally different types of leaders who are capable of operating in highly matrixed existing businesses while also leading innovative new start-up capabilities. The leaders must also be talent magnets, repositioning the company as an employer of choice for highly sought start-up talent in engineering, marketing, business development and operations. The way we source and hire people has fundamentally changed. It is chaos. This new generation of talent is highly mobile and is in constant pursuit of the next hot area. I need to think about and evaluate talent differently. I look less at the resume and focus more on core skills. Everything we do is focused on new services or new markets. The days are gone when I find someone with an extensive career in a specific function or industry. I care about how a candidate indexes across core skills and where they gained their experiences. It is about finding best-inclass talent who have worked with best-in-class brands more than finding someone who fits into a traditional career path. ~Digital marketing and analytics business leader Heidrick & Struggles 3

4 Conclusion The competitive landscape for analytics and marketing services companies is evolving; the market is crowded and competition is intense. New players are constantly entering the fray and large companies are expanding their service offerings to address the needs of their clients. Faced with these realities, we ve identified four strategies that any analytics and marketing services company should consider to better compete for talent and be positioned for success. Rethink your recruiting process Speed and urgency will be the hallmarks of a successful recruiting process. While early stage companies have historically embraced this approach, the same cannot always be said for large companies accustomed to a slower pace of recruitment. While urgency should never displace a thorough process, executives must realize that in this market, the best talent is being pursued not only by traditional competitors, but by companies in multiple sectors. Redefine your search criteria The subject matter expertise most often sought is emerging and dynamic. Many of the leading companies in this sector didn t exist ten years ago and, if they did, they delivered fundamentally different services. Many executives will concede that there is no such thing as a perfect candidate. Unfortunately, this reality does not always have an effect on the selection criteria utilized in a specific search for talent. The days of a 20-year, perfectly linear career are largely behind us. Companies looking to innovate and build worldclass analytics and marketing services businesses must apply fresh thinking to their evaluation of talent. In this rapidly evolving market, companies must listen to and learn from the diverse experiences candidates possess, even if it doesn t appear to align with a narrow set of search criteria. Evidence of successful innovation and commercialization with cutting-edge brands are the gold standard and companies must be creative about the source of this talent. Reconsider how you engage with candidates Every candidate must be appropriately vetted in terms of qualifications, leadership competencies and behaviors; this process should be fluid and ongoing throughout the process. However, too many organizations make the false assumption that because someone is interviewing with them, they are committed to joining if an offer is extended. It is critical for executives at all levels, and throughout the recruiting process, to articulate their enthusiasm and excitement for the business just as they would to a prospective client. Best-in-class organizations embrace this approach, striking a balance between vetting candidates and engaging them. Institute a portfolio approach to talent When considering a new executive-level hire, companies should consider the overall strengths of their leadership team as well as the skills found at more junior levels to prioritize the skills and experiences that are most critical to ensure the overall success of the business. Today, many organizations embrace the value of a competency-based approach to individual talent assessment. However, the creation and regular development of highly effective teams is instrumental in delivering a sustained level of high performance. The most successful companies will build world-class teams with complementary skills. 4 Analytics and Marketing Services

5 Services Practice Heidrick & Struggles is the leadership advisory firm providing executive search and leadership consulting services. For almost 60 years, we have been building deep relationships with the world s most successful companies. Through the strategic acquisition, development, and retention of talent we help our clients from the most established market giants to the newest market disruptors build winning leadership teams. Today, Heidrick & Struggles leadership experts operate from principal business centers globally. For more information, please visit Heidrick & Struggles has relationships with many of the most respected services firms across a variety of size ranges - from the premier management consulting and advisory firms, law firms, and IT services leaders to the smaller consulting, outsourcing, and business services companies. The Services group of Heidrick & Struggles is the largest professional services group in the executive recruiting industry, originally formed in Contact Joshua Clarke tel: C K Guruprasad tel:

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