HomeBlog Recruiting Portfolio Marketers During a Skills Shortage

Recruiting Portfolio Marketers During a Skills Shortage

July 14, 2015 | By Christina McKeon

  • Marketing at large is experiencing a shortage of qualified candidates, and portfolio marketing is taking an especially hard hit
  • When hiring for portfolio marketing during a skills shortage, focus on skills that can’t be taught, like high writing abilities
  • Perhaps consider pursuing non-traditional groups, like demand creation professionals, English majors or Psychology majors

The entire marketing sector is experiencing a shortage of qualified candidates, and portfolio marketing is feeling the effects. A recent LinkedIn search showed more than 1,700 current job openings just for dedicated product marketing positions. Add to that the open positions for solution marketing, industry marketing and services marketing, and many b-to-b organizations will be forced to forego filling these positions or settle for candidates who lack the desired skills.

When searching for your dream portfolio marketer during a skills shortage, focus on candidates who have essential skills that can’t be taught. Don’t dwell on a laundry list of functional skills (e.g. buyer personas, win/loss analysis, market sizing and segmentation) that a new employee can master given sufficient time. Here are the key criteria to look for in strong portfolio marketers across multiple disciplines (product, solution, services, industry and business unit marketing):

It’s tempting to go after candidates who are already doing a similar job for another company or try to recruit from business schools. Those are the routine places where everyone looks. Some non-traditional groups include:

  • Demand creation professionals. Yes, it feels like stealing. But demand generation professionals know how to focus on their audience and run campaigns, and portfolio marketers spend a lot of time on “internal marketing” to get proper alignment and execution. Demand generation professionals on a CMO track will be especially interested in rounding out their marketing expertise in this type of role.
  • English majors. It turns out English degrees aren’t as useless as your parents said they’d be. When recruiting for junior-level portfolio marketing positions, think about pursuing English majors straight out of college. Most already know how to write and communicate effectively. Combine that with critical thinking skills and the ability to have a healthy debate, and you may have a future portfolio marketing rock star!
  • Psychology majors. Yet another degree that didn’t turn out to be useless! More often thought of as suitable candidates for b-to-c marketing roles, psychology majors could also be assets to b-to-b portfolio marketing. They are intrigued by how buyers think, feel, reason and select between different offerings, which is ideal for becoming audience-centric.

You may want to try this approach in your next portfolio marketing recruiting effort. It’s getting brutal out there, and you need every advantage in finding candidates who have the skills to lead instead of follow.


Christina McKeon

Christina McKeon is the Service Director of Portfolio Marketing at SiriusDecisions. She has more than 20 years of experience in product and solution marketing, sales enablement, demand generation and social media. Follow Christina on Twitter at @ChristinaMcKeon.

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