Is it possible to recruit modern B2B marketers?

By Anders Björklund

Is it possible to recruit modern B2B marketers?

The difference between a modern and a conventional marketer is clear. Whereas the traditional marketer mainly aims to increase customer awareness, the modern marketer’s job is to build customer engagement.

In this article, I will help you decide if it is possible to recruit a modern marketer. For it to be possible, there need to be candidates who truly understand and adapt to the shift in customer buying behaviour. As you might have guessed, I have my doubts.


Every week I receive a handful of notifications from LinkedIn asking if I would like to congratulate my contact on their new role as a digital something. With ‘the mission to drive the digital business,’ they will become a crucial part of a ‘team of newly recruited digital content writers, digital marketing managers and digital service managers.’ The rise of digital roles reflects the shift in customer buying behaviour. The idea of online marketing has become an integral part of many businesses, and there is a clear distinction between traditional and modern marketers.

Only a few candidates fit the profile of a modern marketer. So the recruiters must start asking the right questions to find and select the hidden gems.

The modern marketer

I’ve often been asked to give a second opinion on marketing candidates in the final recruitment stage. Attending the last rounds of interviews, it becomes clear that many organisations have the wrong concept of modern marketing. A common mistake is that recruiters still get flattered by candidates with a proven track record of activities driving awareness of a brand.

From my perspective, the job description for a modern marketer is simple:

A person who understands that marketing activities ultimately should contribute to higher profitability, sales and customer satisfaction.

They know not only how to plan but also how to execute modern marketing since they understood a long time ago that online and digital are the only way to achieve maximum value for profit, sales and customer satisfaction.

The journey from education to your final employment test

Marketing changes rapidly, and unfortunately, universities have not kept up with the times. Many marketing students graduate without the knowledge of either inbound methodology or conversion rate optimisation (CRO). Instead, students spend years learning obsolete marketing models. The modern marketer's ability to learn about the outside world distinguishes the modern marketer from others. A modern marketer keeps up to date, capturing marketing trends and understanding the fundamentals of customer buying behaviour.


After graduation, many students apply for entry-level positions in a marketing department. Here, candidates can learn practical skills like producing content, handling marketing automation and following up on inbound activities. But since too many organisations focus only on brand awareness, candidates stay narrow-minded and measure success by increasing social media likes, followers and impressions.

The few people who qualify as modern marketers will keep an open mind. He or she will learn the importance of every role in the marketing team and, above all, detect marketing’s ability to contribute to higher profitability, sales and customer satisfaction.

This describes the motley crew of candidates you will screen for your next job ad. Now you need to penetrate beyond building brand awareness and find the ones with the right qualities. What questions should you ask to be able to select the modern marketer, contributing to higher profitability, sales and customer satisfaction?

Download questions to ask when interviewing for a modern marketer

This article was updated on January 5, 2022

Anders Björklund
Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B.
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