AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT IS WRONG
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It's getting better, but online marketing is still under-valued - and worse still, too often in the hands of the techies.
The following is made up of extracts from a genuine job vacancy advertised on the web in the latter part of 2006 [update : December 2010 - sadly this is still a good example]. My comments are added in red.
Role - to be responsible for the following functions within the business:
Salary & benefits
The principal part of this role is the optimisation of the websites in the business. The successful candidate will have at least three years practical experience in successfully optimising websites. SEO is new to most businesses, so 3 years is a long time - with that experience you are worth more than the salary offered for just this aspect of the job
This role would also be the business's single point of contact for all link exchange and internal affiliate programme proposals Another specialised [marketing] job
Search engine optimisation
Thorough knowledge of the internet with some experience of online marketing including search engines, portals etc Define 'some' - particularly given the job description
And so the techies rule the web? - but they shouldn't
Look at my profile. I could have a crack at most of the 'marketing' elements and the html in the job advertised above. There will be very, very, very few people who could do all of the above proficiently. But for 25,000 pounds a year? Anyone who is good at the online marketing elements alone is worth at least three times that amount.
So why is this an example of what is wrong in e-commerce? Simple, the person who gets this job will have an IT background. They will have a degree from a computing school. They will not have studied or practiced marketing. With the exception of the technical elements of website development, this post is about marketing.
But ... as long as organisations put 'techies' in online marketing jobs there will always be work for teachers / trainers / consultants like me.
So keep it up you folks, I have a massive mortgage to pay.
UPDATE, December 2009 Good examples are still too rare I'm afraid - but things are getting better in some organizations. Take a look at this recruitment ad from notonthehighstreet.com [note it will open in a new browser, and give it a while to open, I made the quality high for clarity]. In particular, notice how the 'techie' job [web developer] emphasizes usability and not just 'Flash'-type visual eye-candy and that the value of textual content is recognized by employing specialist copy writers. And yes - they will be managed by a marketer. Hurrah ... here is an example of a company that puts square pegs in square holes. It is no coincidence that said firm is really good at practicing e-commerce.
UPDATE, December 2010 I just came across an ad for a 'Faculty Web Marketing and Content
Now, let's not go into the syntax of that job title [what exactly is the job?] nor dwell on why I should come
across an ad for such a job at a university [think about it]. No, I just wanted to raise the fact that I could not
apply for the job. Why? Because one of the 'essential qualifications' was:
UPDATE, December 2014 Can't give you a specific example, but although things have improved, the basic problem still exists. Ho hum.