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Talent Acquisition & Management: Lessons Learned from CMO Summit

Posted: March 06, 2014
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During our recent CMO Summit event in Washington, DC I had the chance to sit down with some of the brightest marketing minds in the industry and pick their brains on a variety of topics. One story that resonated with me was in regards to the issue of talent acquisition and management within a department.

By that I mean, when does an organization know that its time to grow/organize a department with new team members?

Erin Duggan, CDME of Visit Sarasota stopped by to talk to us about talentErin Duggan acquisition and when the team in Sarasota knew it was time to re-organize and grow their marketing team.

1. Technology and social media marketing in particular both seem to move at lightning pace these days? Talk to us about how the team at Visit Sarasota County decided it was time to move with technology and dedicate full time staff to a position that was once done by committee.

More and more we saw the overlap of all of the departments at the bureau. What Public Relations was doing, impacted what we needed to have on our website, or what advertising was doing impacted what content we quickly needed created. So VSC evolved from having a Director of Marketing and a Director of Communications to instead just having a Director of Brand that manages a team that handles the Advertising, Public Relations, Website and Content. This shift allowed the VSC to hire a full time Content Coordinator. Now the branding team meets regularly and is constantly aware of what the other is doing, and how they need to work together to make projects as successful as they can be. It is the role of the Director of Brand to ensure that all departments are singing the same song, at the same time, from the same book.

2. How did you get buy-in from the President and other senior leadership staff?

Lucky for us, our President Virginia Haley was the one who saw that this change needed to be made. She saw the impact that a story had when it had legs to move on its own. She realized that the story that was interesting enough to be told on its own was worth telling in other places. This started the whole ball moving. Quickly the uptick with website traffic, and ROI on digital campaigns that were running proved to our Board that we were going in the right direction.

3. Everyone seems to be a social media marketing "expert" these days. How does one sift through all the clutter and find the right candidate?

For us, we didn't seek out a social media expert, rather an expert at story telling. This is why the title of Content Coordinator was so important to us, instead of Social Media Coordinator. Content is king, so to speak, so we wanted to find someone who could create stories, with words, images and video that others would find engaging. The perfect candidate fell in our lap that had been working as a journalist at a small local community paper. His major was in Media Convergence so he understood the balance of old and new media platforms.

4. Social Media Manager, Content Manager, Owned Media Coordinator, coming up with the job title, can also be a cumbersome task. What did you guys settle on and what are this persons day to day responsibilities?

As mentioned above, we decided on the title of Content Coordinator, but this wasn't an easy decision as there is merit in all of these other titles as well. For us being a smaller bureau, we knew we needed this candidate to do so much more than just social media which is why a content based title made more sense for us. His day to day responsibilities are writing content, taking photos, and creating and editing video. We also have a large network of local freelance writers and photographers that he works with and he is responsible for assigning the work, and editing the results. Another large part of his responsibility is reputation management. Daily our team looks at a variety of website and online spaces that influence travel. Our Content Coordinator then ensures that we are monitoring what is being said about our destination, and for us to be ready to respond to questions and needs with informative, thoughtful and timely responses. He also has the challenge of converting local social media influencers into brand ambassadors for Sarasota County. We have recently launched a #MySarasota campaign where we work closely with locals to encourage them to be boastful and proud of everything they love about this community where they choose to live, work and/or play.

Erin Duggan, CDME has worked for Visit Sarasota County for 9 years. She currently serves in the position of Director of Brand. Prior to working at VSC, she worked for the Economic Development Council and United Way. Erin is active in Sarasota County and in organizations such as the Junior League of Sarasota, and the Florida Public Relations Association.