Marketing Talent

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There is a shortage of talent in the marketing pool.

Yes, the industry is filled with smart and talented people (some of them may even be out of work), but there is still a shortage. We need more people. Not just more people, but smarter and more informed people (think multi-disciplinary). As technology becomes the beachfront to the marketing industry along with great creative work, there is an ever-growing chasm of between digital, social, mobile, analytics and the professionals doing the work. It’s not something that I, alone, struggle with at Twist Image. It’s the same conversation I have with many of my peers… all of the time.

Blame it on Generation Flux?

The Fast Company cover story for January of this year was titled, This Is Generation Flux. The article defined Generation Flux like this: "This is less a demographic designation than a psychographic one: What defines GenFlux is a mind-set that embraces instability, that tolerates – and even enjoys – recalibrating careers, business models, and assumptions. Not everyone will join Generation Flux, but to be successful, businesses and individuals will have to work at it. This is no simple task. The vast bulk of our institutions – educational, corporate, political – are not built for flux. Few traditional career tactics train us for an era where the most important skill is the ability to acquire new skills."

Where does marketing fit into this? 

There are few success stories in the digital marketing space like that of the agency R/GA. Bob Greenberg, the company’s Chairman, CEO and Global Chief Creative Officer sees the changing landscape with a very unique perspective. Here’s more about Generation Flux in relation to R/GA: "R/GA’s young GenFlux staffers are leaving at such a steady pace, sticking around for such short runs that Greenberg finds himself constantly replacing them, endlessly slotting one talented young person into another’s place. Many CEOs would react to this news with alarm: What are we doing wrong? Why can’t we keep our young talent? Greenberg talks about this intense transition with nonchalance. He’s not upset by it; he’s not fighting it; and he assumes this is the way life will be for the foreseeable future. But that doesn’t mean he’s standing still. Despite strong business momentum, he’s pushing R/GA into a radical reorganization – the fifth time he’s hauled the firm into a new business model. ‘If we don’t change our structure, we’ll get less relevant,’ Greenberg tells me. ‘We won’t be able to grow.’ This time, he’s integrating 12 new capabilities, from live events to data visualization to product development, into R/GA’s platforms. ‘People talk about change and adaptation, but they don’t see how fast the competition is coming,’ he says. ‘We have to move. We have no choice.’"

Things are moving faster than ever… and this includes the talent.

During this week’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Greenberg sat down with Digiday to discuss how they attract and retain marketing talent. It’s a quick eight minutes that is worthy of your time…

R/GA Chief Bob Greenberg on Attracting and Retaining Talent from Digiday on Vimeo.

What’s your take?


  1. This is really fascinating. Thank you for the insight. I felt the Generation Flux article rang true as well. I’m glad leaders of creative organizations are acknowledging the shift, and the smart ones are embracing it.

  2. This is very true. I couldn’t agree with you more when you stated, “…Few traditional career tactics train us for an era where the most important skill is the ability to acquire new skills.” I guess everything is really changing fast now, that what worked before may prove to be futile now.

  3. I run a marketing recruitment agency and the need to hire commercial, creative talent has never been so high. Too many businesses are scared of hiring someone ‘different’ and this determination to standardise the selection process of new talent means too many are hiring mediocrity. These flux businesses understand that individuals can radically shape a businesses direction and not enough companies understand that it’s not about filling jobs with people but using people to create opportunitiess. The fact Bob Greenberg recognises that hiring and keeping are two different things is bang on.

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