I have recently talked to a candidate who has solid experience and potential for a very challenging job in digital marketing. 

We had a very good chat about his career ambitions, his personal story and what he looks for in the next step and thought, "Yes! This new opportunity will give you exactly the challenge you're seeking!" 

He sounded very interested in the job content, then he asked for the job title. 

"But I'm already a SENIOR Manager here, why would I want to be just an associate manager there?" His voice hinted a mixture of disappointment, defeat but also pride. 

"Plus, there's an appraisal next week. I may get promoted!" 

Noted, he's been in digital marketing for about 7 years, but his experience has only got sharpened in the recent roles. 

I understood that frustration and the tiny annoying, defeated voice. We have all been there, where the hope and promise of a promotion and the possibility of a "better title" overrule. And we see what we want to see: we're obviously that number 1 candidate for the promotion! 

Do you know, according to this research published in Marketing Week, external hires are growing in popularity. Marketers have to wait 7.3 years on average to be promoted to CMO from the next most senior role because of experience gap. 

For instance, the tech industry has demonstrated the highest volume of marketing moves (19%). But some 89% of marketing appointments made in the tech sector came externally. 

Are you a product marketer, channel-based marketer, or focused on lead generation or revenue optimisation?

Depending on which stage your company and your product are at, the need to bring in external candidates varies.  

If your company is developing a new product, a marketer with product launching or product positioning experience will be preferred over a channel-based expert marketer or a seasoned marketer who focuses on lead generation. 

Resist Job Title Obsession

Kenny Jacobs, CMO of Ryanair, thinks many marketing candidates should stop the sole obsession of the job title if they want to be better at what they do. 

“I’ve seen a lot of people make the move because they just want that title, even if they’re not that interested in the sector or the business and they don’t enjoy the job that much. Whether you are CMO, CTO or COO people should be careful about moving just for a title, because in a way it’s career vanity,” Jacobs adds.

You can't be good at something if you don't spend the time to understand it. 

Move To Grow

Francesca Davies, Marketing Director from Weetabix, used her career path as an example: when she was the CMO at the Post Office, she was managing a team of 50 and a budget of about £30-40m. Then she joined Aviva as the Brand and Marketing Director. She had to manage 150 people and a budget three times that amount.

Can you imagine the pay-cut she may have experienced and the room she has carved out to grow?

What happened to that candidate?

He's still thinking... and waiting for that promotion, which may or may not come. I hope it would, if that's what he desires. 

But part of me also aches a bit for him, for losing the chance to join a promising, global company, which can give him exposure to newer (though unfamiliar) technology and eventually a long-term reward.