May 18, 2021

Best Practices in Building, Hiring and Developing your Marketing Team


Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

Episode Highlights

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Hirewell partner James Hornick talks with Kim Dazey, Head of Marketing at Practifi, a Chicago-based, financial advising software company. Kim has built and managed numerous successful marketing teams throughout her career.

In this podcast, Kim and James talk about best practices in building, hiring, and developing your marketing teams.

Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

Episode Transcript

Welcome everyone to the Hirewell recruiting insights podcast. I’m your host James Hornick partner at Hirewell. Special guests this week and this is a topic I’ve actually, as long as we’ve been doing these, I haven’t had someone with this type of background, but Kim Dazey from PractiFi, she’s the head of marketing there.

And we’re going to talk about how to hire and how to train and develop marketers. So myself coming from a background, especially the last five years or so primarily in marketing recruitment, it’s just something I kind of lived in every day, but from a different perspective. So, I look at in terms of people like you kind of tell me what they need and we go out and we know the market and kind of understand what’s out there.

But I think that it’ll be really valuable for people especially if they’re building out their first marketing team or maybe it’s a new hiring manager or maybe it’s someone who’s been doing this a long time to just wants to get a different perspective on how you do things.

But before we get too far into it, just to give everyone some context, introduce yourself. What’s what’s your background and tell us about PractiFi. Yeah, so I’m Kim Daisy and I am at PractiFi which is a business, technology company for growing financial firms around the world and it’s basically our clients

are charged with growing the wealth and prosperity of their clients. So our job is to make that an easier and more delightful process and obviously marketing plays a big part in that. So along with our client success team and several others. So, yeah it’s a great place to be. Before I was at PractiFi I worked at Morningstar, which is also a FinTech related.

And before that I was at an agricultural company and- big switch, very different industry for me, and before that I was at Dabrye and then prior at Kohl’s. Okay. So , you’re now responsible for the whole thing, right? Yeah. Your background Morningstar was obviously a much larger organization so you were probably a little more siloed there.

Yeah. To give everyone a little more context, correct me if I’m wrong, you come from kind of a background where you’ve done a lot in the demand gen space and a lot of obviously analytics and things. A lot of technology kind of goes into that aspect of it. Yeah. And then you’ve also have a background and more on the content side of things.

So kind of that dual, as I like to call them the key word I buzzword I ever used, data-driven storytellers that would be you. Yeah, exactly. That’s me. Yes. That’s me. And hopefully my entire team. Yeah, I think that’s like the, if I was going to say high level, what everyone’s looking for nowadays definitely one of the things.

Yeah. So, I guess kind of dovetails into one thing I’ve always wondered and what I’ve enjoyed about working in the recruiting side of the marketing space is it’s very broad. I guess there’s two things I really liked about it one is that in order to do it in order for me, myself as a recruiter to kind of do my job, you have to wrap your head around what your clients are actually trying to achieve from a business standpoint because you need to know that that way you can find the people who have similar types experience.

Yeah. What was the second thing I was going to say- besides that it’s the broad range of positions. So when you’re building out, let’s say a development team, you typically need a lot of developers and you might have some different needs, but in marketing, there’s so many different aspects.

If you have a marketing plan, there’s a lot of different things you’re trying to achieve and you need the right mix of people. How do you determine- you’ve got a certain amount of budget, you’ve got a certain amount of head count, like how do you determine what the makeup is of your team and who you want to bring on board?

I mean it really depends on the company and the structure. So it’s one of those things where as a leader you need to understand where most of your business is coming from, most of your conversions come from, what some of your brand challenges might be. Then you can put a plan together that aligns to those needs.

And you obviously would want to put a lot more effort behind the channels that work best. Or maybe you don’t, maybe you want to make a strategic shift. So that’s kind of why you need to know where is your firm going on the broad sense, and then how does marketing need to fit in with that?

Because then you’re able to say, here’s my mix of people within the marketing team that will drive those changes forward. Okay. The things I think are interesting is from a hiring manager perspective, like what do you look for nowadays? There’s a lot of different ways of going about, you know, I talk to lots of companies, they vet candidates in different way

they kind of use things differently. I’m kind of curious in terms of, as you’re evaluating, who you want to bring on board? Who you want to hire for your team? What do you find personally most important? So there’s a few things there’s sort of like the person and who they are, and then some of the background that they might bring with them.

So in terms of the person themselves, and kind of what I’m looking for there, it’s just that sort of go get her attitude and somebody who kind of thinks outside the box, but then understands the steps that need to kind of go and building the box so that you know where your parameters are.

So that’s kind of like the person and what they need to bring to the table as who they are and kind of what personality that they bring. But then also from a skillset perspective everything in marketing is so digital, even in industries where it’s a little bit more of a laggard in terms of the evolution and sort of

new wave of digital coming through organizations, even those are now digital. Yeah. So, there’s definitely skillsets that are really useful and really important to bring to the table and even if you haven’t done something a lot in the digital space, there’s lots of ways to and sort of show that within your hiring process within the application process.

So things like email platform, things like understanding how the internet works, and as silly as that might sound, there’s a lot more to it when you start getting into it from a marketing perspective. Yeah, I mean the marketing automation platforms it’s a huge part of kind of making sure multiple things are running at the same time

you keep all the plates spinning. Sure. So those are some really important skills to at least have research and understand and then if you know how to do those things, and if you have certifications in any of those digital platforms, or if you can get certifications in those platforms. I mean Google has a lot of certifications that are free, so does HubSpot.

So I mean there’s a lot of candidate can do to kind of show that they’re they’re willing and they’re committed and they understand what they need to bring to the table. Okay. A couple of things to unpack, so the first thing you mentioned wasn’t marketing skills, wasn’t kind of tech specific, but it was really just kind of soft skills

you know what I mean? The types of personalities you look for. How, I guess if you’re weighing things in, is that- I don’t wanna read too much into it, but when you’re evaluating people, is that the- if you had to pick one thing and you go based off of is that what you look for first? Yeah, I’m definitely more about the person

the other things can be learned. I think that even when I was at Morningstar there’s a lot of people in marketing that I worked with who are amazing people who did amazing things, and maybe didn’t major in marketing, maybe didn’t minor in marketing. So their skillset was definitely learned, and that was a huge asset actually to the organization and to- just being colleagues with them.

So it was just really more about the person I think than it is about necessarily all of those skillsets or whatever that are nice to have. You definitely need the person who’s going to kind of drive things forward not just check off a box because you asked them to do a list of things, but to kind of take that extra step and make that extra effort of not needing to be told to dot the I’s and cross the T’s and doing that on your own.

I’ve always thought of it as like my own personal take in terms of soft skills. What I think is most valuable. The first one’s going to sound very cliche, but the second- it’s really the combination of the two. So obviously wants someone who is gonna work hard, like that’s kind of a prerequisite, right. But the thing is I’ve always liked

that’s not that in itself is not enough though. I always thought that someone who can work hard and also someone who has curiosity. And I think that’s like one of the key skills where having someone who can show up everyday and put their head down and get the work done is you’re never going to be upset with that.

Right. But having someone who also at the same time wants to always find new ways of doing things and new ways to solving problems and is curious about what other technologies come out, that’s where you can really start to see. I think that’s where someone who might know me learning the basics can really kind of transform an organization just a little bit at a time.

I mean, and there’s all kinds of ways to even in your more formal education programs to kind of push the boundary and those things, when you’re going through the interview process, or even on your resume definitely those things stand out. You kind of know the people that are there at the leading edge or that are pushing themselves and pushing a team that they’re working with to do more and do better.

And you mentioned education cause it’s another kind of stunt point for me that I’ve talked about a few times is that what I also find fascinating about the marketing space is anybody who’s good at this like you didn’t really learn it in school, like digital, at least. Right? Like, so universities have good like theoretical pro like the classic marketing programs but yeah. But in terms of

actual like no one really comes out of school, like job ready for a digital role. No one actually knows the basics of like how to set up a Facebook campaign or anything like that cause it’s just stuff that’s just not being taught which to me is crazy because it’s how much college costs nowadays.

Right and it’s simple but that’s why I think it’s more critical like it thinking of when you’re hiring engineering people like you said, or really any level of people, it really starts with a person people can figure these out quickly because I guess you mentioned too, like having

you know of the people you’ve hired, like how many have marketing backgrounds versus other backgrounds. And does that even matter to you? I guess? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, and then there’s like the peripheral backgrounds, which is like communication English as kind of random as that might sound definitely the people who know how to write and know grammar structure and things like that,

huge asset to a team. People who have studied advertising, which is a whole different discipline. Most of the time, sometimes at some schools it’s within the marketing team or department, and sometimes it’s not. Yeah. I mean, there’s all kinds of these peripheral, but still aligned ones, and then there’s the really out there ones like I’m I majored in design and minor did marketing.

So, like that’s kind of useful though when you’re in marketing cause you would know how to talk to the design teams. So there’s all kinds of different aspects that you can bring with you no matter what you studied. Okay. Let’s switch gears just a little bit here. So I’m talking more from the candidate side.

So if you’re a job seeker looking to- and you talk to people who are, you’ve hired people, you’ve looked for a job yourself, but excuse me what key things do you think are important if you’re a job seeker candidate out there trying to get your next role, how do you set yourself up for success when you’re getting ready for the interview process?

Yeah, I mean I think that the things that stand out the most are people who do the research on your business and come to the table with something in hand, to give you a sense of how it would be to work with them.I mean at the very, very least really something easy to do is like do a SWOT analysis and bring that to your first interview or send it along before your screening call and that’s something to talk about.

Especially younger candidates might be a little nervous when they go into their screening process. So it’s something then to start the conversation from additionally, besides tell me about yourself. Yeah. Actually I thought cause I’ve talked about how nowadays I think everyone needs a portfolio, because when I started in recruiting portfolios were for designers and then UX people

and that was just wasn’t something anyone else did.But like I’ve advising when a marketing, like you have to have it really, it’s not portfolio as much as work samples or something you can show. Yeah. I never actually thought about it from that perspective though. Like actually having something to like- that way you’re not as nervous in the interview and having something to talk about as opposed to canned answers, which I think- which is kind of go home these days and that’s what makes you really stand out though

then you show how your brain thinks and how you approach problems and all of that. You can kind of get a sense of that when someone comes to the table with something in hand that’s related to your industry, at the very least if not your companies specifically. Yeah. That’s awesome, that’s really good. What types of any- what else do you look for in job seekers, I guess, or what if you’re a job seeker?

What do you want to make sure you communicate or make? What aspects do you think are gonna impress people? Got the portfolio or the, the work samples. Like what else should they focus on? Examples of how someone’s worked across other functions within a business or across other teams and sort of how that’s gone and what their role was within the group

that’s always super value. So, any examples that someone can provide about what that might’ve looked like, what they accomplished, and sort of those outcomes that happened as a part of that experience, good or bad. I mean, honestly, if it was a failure, that’s still good to know. How did they deal with that failure?

So, there’s lots of different aspects of that where you can kind of come to the table and be like “look this is who I am, it didn’t work out I’m trying again”. Anyone who had a failure in marketing, like can you even really believe, I mean, that’s what the point is. You’re supposed to be adjusting things out.

So, you know that really shows that someone really understands where you’re coming from within the marketing world so I think that’s really important too. What about, you know, I guess if you’re once someone’s working for you or even yourself, maybe make me make this about kind of what you’ve done in terms of career development, what do you think someone wants to take the next step in their career

or someone wants to set their self up for success once they’ve gotten the job, what advice do you have there? So, generally a lot of times when people are thinking about setting themselves up for success, not just in the role that they’re in, but it’s in where they want to go after that. At least from most of the people I talked to, maybe I surround myself with those type of people, but most of the people I’ve talked to are very much looking ahead this is a step in the right direction and where I want to be in the next 10 years, or this sounds fun to do

and I like it better than what I was doing. So, I think the things that helps in that area is to be aware that oftentimes you need to do the role that you want to be doing next in your current role, and that’s not to say like do sales because you’re in marketing. I mean that’s great too, but more of- people say dress for the job you want, not the job you have and that’s similar for sort of what you’re taking on

and in what challenges you volunteer for. And sort of knowing where that line is where you’re not gonna step on someone’s toes that might be managing you or in a different team above you. But putting some things forward that are suggestions like” Hey, I saw this, it seems like a gap”.

Do you think we can try this. Yeah, that’s a really impressive skill to put forward. I always thought too coming from the company standpoint,I think the main reason why people leave jobs nowadays is because of a lack of challenges. I think that I know there’s always other things like if their vaccinated, their locations bad, life-changes and whatnot, but in terms of like things that companies can do proactively to keep people

it’s always making sure they can a lot to new challenges and what-not. So, I would say from the standpoint of if you have people like this who you can tell they want to start doing the next job is let them, right. Yeah. And don’t be afraid to kind of give people more to do

or if you notice they’re starting to do things like don’t shut it down. I mean, you still have to do what your normal role is, so it’s a bit of a labor of love to be honest or even things that if you know you need more formal training in something do that outside work hours like on an evening or a weekend here and there.

I’m not saying dedicate your whole life to this, but I think that a lot that can be said for someone sort of taking that initiative themselves. So yeah there’s just lots of ways to just show that you know what the next step needs to be and that goes a long way. Yeah. When you and I were talking the other day, you had some really interesting thoughts

on people who are tech savvy or understand the technology that was actually kind of counter to what a lot of other people think. And I don’t want to slaughter this so I want you to kind of retell it the way you told it to me, but in terms of like who needs to have their hands on what the tech, or at least I’d have a good, thorough understanding of it and why. Since tech is such a big part of what we are able to do and helps you sort of push those boundaries

like I was saying before. It’s an area where a lot of hiring managers or a lot of teams in general are structured where the generalist or like the entry level role is the one who’s tasked with learning the tech and figuring it out and executing and all of that. And a lot of times that is okay, but what really I think takes it to the next level is especially management directors, things like that, that we all know what the technology can

do. We know what is possible within the tech or we are excited enough to sort of push those boundaries. I mean, obviously not asking for the world here, but just kind of knowing enough at least about what is what’s out there and how you might want to take a tool that’s meant for one thing and try something completely different with it.

That’s to me the real benefit of having everybody on the whole team know the tech. They may not be executing day to day, but keep up to date with the technology that your team is using and that you hopefully are using every now and then because that makes or breaks your marketing strategy. I actually, because I was thinking, when you mentioned this the other day, I was thinking more about it myself because if I look back on everything like kind of big initiative we’ve done here not just marketing focused, but anything even just kind of operationally. It all came down to people in senior management or a different practice areas like knowing what was possible, like you would never- we would just things we do here

we never would have thought of if we hadn’t like taken the interest in the people here who are more kind of tech savvy with that stuff, didn’t like kind of nerd out on just to kind of understanding what’s out there. Right. So, because I have seen, cause when you mentioned it the other day, I have noticed, I do know of some places where the people who were

higher level and strategy, know their stuff at marketing, but like there definitely rely pretty heavily on lower- level people who are more tech focused. And you just wonder if that holds them back and you have to imagine on some level it does. I’ve known some successful people that, you know what I mean not

necessarily tech savvy, but then I run into people all the time who aren’t and then they hit a point where they kind of struggle. Yeah. I mean, and it’s the old saying of, if you do what you’ve always done, you’re going to get what you’ve always got, though as horrible grammatically as that is, it’s very true.

And if you don’t know what it is out there and how you can kind of push your team and push yourself and push your company to do new things, to try new things and to see what can happen then you’re going to be in this sort of stagnated place and your company or your business is never going to be in the curve

let alone ahead of the curve when it comes to anything that you’re doing not just marketing. Anything-you had another point when you and I were kind of talking about this in terms of when you, you know, marketers noticing what’s going on around them in other campaigns and applying it like tell me more about that.

Like I’m curious kind of like what things you’ve seen and where you kind of get inspiration from, from ideas that you decide to execute on. Yeah. I mean, one example I’m kind of pulling out of my history here and my work background, but when I was working for the agricultural company, we took a leaf out of Kohl’s book and we said, okay Kohl’s is doing this bang of business with Kohl’s cash.

How do we take this and apply it to a B2B to B, B to B, to C sort of and so we ended up offering our dealers who sold the products that we were trying to sell their clients or their customers. So they were able to take these cash certificates and leverage them to have their own promotions or to get promotions from the OEM.

I had I mean similar experience here because when you mentioned that it will really resonate with me was, so we started- we got into marketing recruiting five years ago just because we saw a pretty big explosion in the mark in terms of digital. That’s back when the digital transformation was like the keyword and you had all these, I think it was like all these firms that were very

very old school, antiquated. They were B2B, they were mid market. They were just not consumer brands like name or they’re not e-commerce firms to start doing marketing so that’s how we got into it. And then we started like, one of our first clients is like a pretty major real estate firm, we placed 30 some people there and then we had a bunch of other kind of successes like that and then was like why aren’t we

doing this? Like if all of these other companies that are clearly not like- cause everyone at the time, I think if you go back five years, like digital was a, B to C play. Right. And that was the kind of thing for me is like figuring out cause we’re a B2B business, like how can we be using digital ourselves to kind of leverage things.

So, and I guess it was more in my face since I was literally doing it for a job at that point. But at the same time too now it’s really opened my eyes in terms of just like watching what other people are doing and like trying to see like how that can be kind of applied to what we’re doing.

So, yeah, exactly. I mean, and, and thinking of things differently. So like, even just you saying like five years ago, 10 years ago, digital was more of a, B to C viewed thing. The companies that are on top now are the ones who were like no digital is not just for B to C, it’s for B to B too. Yeah. You’re talking to people to sell something no matter if you’re at a B2C facing company or a B2B company.

So, ultimately those people are still consumers in the world and in the markets. So you kind of have to be aware of what the other experiences someone is getting, which kind of leads back to what can you take from those other experiences and apply to your your whole perspective of that life cycle of that buyer or what do you want to apply?

What do you want their emotions to be throughout the whole process? We had one kind of we were talking the other day. It was one of the thing we kind of discussed. I mentioned I was at a, what resonated with me was that I was at a conference for marketing. It was the G2 crowd or the G2, our reach this year, which is pretty cool.

They had a lot of great speakers and I ended up talking to some people that I knew there kind of from the marketing field. Struck up conversations with some of people there , and a couple of people asking about what we’re doing here. Right. And so what we’re doing here, and I’m always very up front about it.

Like I just looked at the Gary V slideshow on content marketing. Like you create long form content, you document it, you cut it to pieces, you publish. Like, it’s a very simple model. It’s not rocket science ,but a couple of people were asking me like, okay, how’d you execute on that? Or like, how like how much time does it take?

And I’m just. I’m not even, I’m not the marketer. Like how are you guys not- why are you asking me? But yeah, it’s the thing is like, I look at like Gary V he’s got like how many millions of followers? They all know his story and like what he preaches, but there’s so few people that can actually follow through on it, relatively speaking. Why is that? Like, why does some marketers have a hard time actually following through on the stuff they’ve been told a million times that they should be doing this. I mean, it’s this old project management pyramid you don’t have enough time, enough resources, or enough money to execute on what you really want to do

so then that forces you to prioritize and forces you to pick and choose. And maybe that means that even though we know we’re supposed to do something we aren’t able to, because you’re constantly weighing the opportunity costs of doing something that we know we should be doing against something you know you have to do based on another time parameter.

More resource parameter or something. So I know that those are a lot of things that kind of get in our way, but that’s kind of where I was also coming from in terms of trying to do something a little different is to create that own space for yourself and say okay, I know we should be doing these things,

let’s make the space to try and do those things so that you can make those business cases for the other things that you’re missing within that pyramid. That makes sense. I mean, if you’re not the thing about marketing is it’s always changing at such a fast pace. If you’re not carving out, I don’t know, 20%, you’re like at a minimum

Of your time or whatever just to think about what else is out there, what you should be doing. Yeah. So I think taking that’s a good point too like taking that down to a personal level, you know what I mean? Like you can give a certain amount of executional tasks you have to do on a daily basis, but you have to find- to push forward with new things and test out new ideas, especially if it’s stuff that you’ve been stuff, it’s stuff that you want to do. You know what I mean? So, and they’re so often that we’re just heads down trying to barrel through everything and make sure all of the efforts we’re doing connect, and that there’s a good experience and all of that, and that we’re generating new content that’s engaging and all of those all the time that it’s hard to kind of

lift yourself out of that and take a breath and say, okay, well, what else is there that we’re there we’re missing out on that is sort of a quick win that we can do with what we already have. Okay. But maybe doing it differently. Yeah. We’ve been how long we’ve been going here for? I feel like we’ve been talking quite some time here.

I was having fun. Do you have anything else you want to talk about? I think kind of all the high points we discussed, like we kind of covered, but I know if there’s anything else you want to get into or anything else that you think will be a valuable takeaway for people? Yeah. One of the other things that I don’t think we really went into very much was about persona development and buyer’s journey development.

Okay. Andhaving familiarity at the very least with what that is. A lot of times people are really familiar with persona development, which is basically your, your overall demographic or firmographics segmentation within your market. Okay. And that’s usually where companies leave off or, or candidates leave off in terms of their knowledge of what you’re supposed to do with that.

You’re like, great I have this segment. I’m just going to do everything still the way I was doing. So what I think is the game changer. Familiarity with buyer’s journey, which is taking that persona and then looking at their phases of consideration and how you then tailor your strategy toward that. So that it’s like I want to buy a new dishwasher.

Okay. I wasn’t thinking about buying a new dishwasher and all of a sudden I want to because I saw article that said, Hey, you’re wasting water or something like that. Right. And then you’re like, oh, I guess that is important to me. So maybe consider something. Yeah. And I don’t even know where to start.

What would I do to even look up what dishwasher I would want? So then you’re looking for resources that are going to tell you those things. So it kind of takes people through that process of consideration. If you were to do anything, if you’re going to buy a car, why are you buying the car? What are you looking for?

What matters matters to you and different things are going to matter to different people. So that’s related to your personas, but then generally speaking, how do you take those things that matter and build them into the buying consideration process? Okay. So that’s something that if you’re familiar with that, that is a game changer.

We need to talk more about this offline. I have work to do. That’s ,awesome.Well, cool. Anything else? Yeah, we’re serious I’ve got to talk about this afterwards. So thanks for calling sing to Hirewell recruiting insights podcast. If you like what you heard and want more insights from our recruiting experts, visit

And remember to subscribe to the podcast on apple podcasts, Google play. Spotify or YouTube. See you soon.

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