Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

The great skill reset: How are companies hiring for marketing and brand roles these days?

Marketing has become more customer-centric. The skill sets in demand today include analytics, data, statistics and systems thinking

Infographics By Pradeep Belhe
Published: Jul 7, 2022 07:35:05 PM IST

The great skill reset: How are companies hiring for marketing and brand roles these days?Experts that Storyboard18 spoke to share that as marketing becomes more customer-centric, the skill sets in demand include analytics, data, statistics, and systems thinking. Image: Shutterstock

The marketing and brand management function in companies across various industries is witnessing a significant change in how their roles are evolving. In the wake of the pandemic, as rapid digitisation has taken over various industries, there has been an evolution of the traditional marketing roles as well.

With marketers of today wearing multiple hats, companies are now tweaking the way they hire candidates. There is a willingness to hire from new-age industries, look for unique skills and pick candidates who will bring innovative thinking to the table.
Experts that Storyboard18 spoke to share that as marketing becomes more customer-centric, the skill sets in demand include analytics, data, statistics, and systems thinking.

Customer centricity matters

Mercedes-Benz India, which launched the direct-to-customer business model ‘Retail of the Future’ (ROTF) in 2021, highlights that this model provides real-time customer data that enables the company to sharpen its campaigns and CRM initiatives.

“This has led to our marketing efforts evolving from traditional mass-market campaigns to targeted, one-to-one customer-focused, customised initiatives,” says Santosh Iyer, vice president – sales & marketing, Mercedes-Benz India. He says, ”Today, we have ‘Customer Journey Managers’ as opposed to ‘Brand Managers’. The Customer Journey Managers now play a key role in curating end-to-end customer experiences which align with the luxury quotient associated with the brand.”

Customer centricity scores big for fast-moving consumer goods firm Nestlé India as well. The company, which sells products such as Maggi, Nescafe, and Kit Kat, emphasises that its hiring function is led by customer understanding and centricity along with the ability to leverage a data-centric approach to finding consumer-first solutions.

“The core aspect of the consumer-centric approach remains crucial and is at the centre of our selection strategy. With the changing media habits of our consumers, we are keen on exploring talent who are exposed to omnichannel approach to brand design and digital to understand the new-age consumer deeply,” says Anurag Patnaik, director - human resources, Nestlé India.

Also read: Managers, here's how to bond with new hires remotely

Entrepreneurial mindset, agility in demand

Companies are also looking to hire candidates who would take ownership of products or services they work on. They live, breathe, and understand the products or services they work on and take full ownership even if things go south.
“It’s equally important to see that the candidate just does not fit the role but also has a potential to grow in it as well over time. We also look out for traits that are important to ensure that the candidate can fit into the PepsiCo culture based on attributes like ownership, being consumer-centric, and so on,” says a PepsiCo India spokesperson.

Also read: Conservatives and liberals differ in how aggressively they recruit women for leadership roles

Mercedes’ Iyer also emphasises the company's focus on hiring candidates who display ownership. “There is a clear focus on candidates to have an entrepreneurial mindset as marketing extends beyond traditional domains and incumbents need to add value in business,” he adds.

Agility is another trait that companies mentioned as a desired trait.

“The biggest challenge that pandemic has posed is to deal with uncertainties. Hence, to get talent from diverse backgrounds who have a strong ability to deal with business uncertainties with utmost agility is key,” adds PepsiCo India’s spokesperson.

Upskilling is critical

A digital skill set is a prerequisite for all companies today and emphasis is being given to candidates passionate about customer experience. Companies are also investing in upskilling their existing workforce as well.

Mercedes-Benz, for instance, has tied up with LinkedIn Learning to provide an accessible platform for people to upskill themselves.

Also read: How to hire for the future, not the past

Iyer tells us how it works. “Managers plan each individual’s growth trajectory by strategically mapping courses which will help them transition to the future of marketing, data, martech,” he adds. “From the organisation standpoint, it is essential that the candidates are also upskilled in the future of mobility, Industry 4.0 and marketing luxury EVs.”  
While the fundamentals of how a solid marketing engine works haven't changed, the various parts of the marketing machine need to be upgraded in a fast-evolving consumer and media landscape. And as some of the country's biggest brands look to switch gears, they are on the lookout for talent that will fit in the new engine.