Why You Should Recruit the Digital T-Shaped Marketer

Digital is perhaps one of the fastest moving industries and the pace at which it has expanded, has placed unprecedented demands on those within it. It is no longer simply efficient or productive to hire an expert in one particular field, as that field is constantly changing, and effective competition requires more than just a single string to a bow, no matter how strong that string might be. The answer to this is to seek out the T-shaped marketer – someone whose skill set is both wide and deep.


In practice what this means is a marketer with broad general knowledge across a number of areas, for example someone with cross discipline competence across content, analytics, technical SEO, UI/UX and press and PR and deep expertise in one of these fields, such as content (in practice, many are now looking for deep expertise in one to three fields). The cross discipline competence creates the top bar of the ‘T’. The vertical line is the deeper knowledge of a set of disciplines. Together, these create the T-shaped marketer. It is a concept that has been pioneered by Tim Brown of design firm and innovation consultancy IDEO and is quickly catching on as the best fit to the current landscape of the digital sector after being further developed by Mike Tekula & Rand Fiskin.T-Shaped-web-marketer-graphic1

The great advantage of the T-shape is the fact that it means creating/employing people who can cover a broad range of disciplines, from PPC through to social and blogging, but also having expert resource for certain, more complex or crucial, tasks that require deeper discipline knowledge and experience. All bases are covered and a situation is avoided where employees only have one developed skill set (an ‘I’ shaped employee) and are restricted to contributing only in this one area and on an in-depth level, or are solely generalists without any expertise to add.

This not only allows businesses to avoid discovering a glaring hole in what they can offer, as a result of having no one with even basic competence in that area, but also makes employees more employable, potentially more productive and much more versatile too. T-shaped marketers can handle a wider range of projects and approach them at a more effective level – they have enough broad knowledge to use the expertise of others where necessary and this also gives them the perspective to know when to call in an expert for a specific situation too.


The T-shaped marketer can be neatly summed up as a ‘Jack of all trades, master of one’ (or some!) and, for now at least, is the skill set that is the most effectively structured to deliver in the digital marketing sector, for employees and businesses alike.

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