Article

Phil Livingstone
Phil Livingstone 24 October 2016

Should your Job Title Reflect What You Do?

As the consumer, media and technology landscapes evolve over the next decade, marketers and agencies will continue to create new roles to address these changes.

If things carry on as they are we’ll be soon calling a meeting to discuss this week’s commercials with the ‘data matron’, the ‘technology pitt-boss’ and that cunning team of ‘analytics authoritarians’. Let's get some normality back into naming roles before we go too far. 

Things change very quickly in digital, there’s something new, it seems, every week. Now even job titles are catching up and some of the trendy companies are coming up with some cracking roles. Just take a look at any job website and the average person will be left scratching their head when faced with the new breed of job titles.

You might get the gist of a ‘Social Media Evangelist’ or a ‘Content Librarian’ but do you really understand what they do? More to the point, do they understand what they do! Go one step further and you probably can’t help but snigger at someone who might introduce themselves as an ‘Ideas Maker’.

That Social Media Evangelist position by the way is for someone to “ignite our brand’s social footprint, to increase brand engagement across our internal and external ecosystem embracing multiple channels, to encourage positive outcomes and to improve our social span as well as empower consumer evangelists, creating affinity and building community.” – Not sure that makes it any clearer!

At least we’ve established that there’s no preaching involved. Yes, this is a real job description and I might add...a load of old tosh. Whatever happened to clear, simple language?

But put aside the laughter and consider this...

Digital Marketing is still rapidly evolving as a marketing technique and has seen an increasing need for a more diverse set of skills, thanks mostly to advances in technology. There are many different paths into the digital world and many different reasons people take those paths. As marketing roles become more complex, there has also been a proliferation of specialist titles at all levels of seniority that help to convey each person’s responsibilities.

So, should your job title actually represent what you do? Yes, it probably should, right?

Consider the uniqueness of an Affiliate Manager – pretty self explanatory, they manage affiliates. Slightly pompous but you could figure out what a ‘Blogger-in-Chief’ does. When the ‘Commercial Tactician’ isn’t plotting an ambush, they’re probably a sales manager or commercial lead.

The desire to be unique, stand out and appear to be down with the latest’s trends has led to a glut of ridiculous (and amusing) job titles that blights some new digital marketing roles. But this uniqueness has its upsides...everyone knows what you do (albeit in a slightly quirky way). It shows a commitment to specific areas of a marketing team, for example planning, content creation, analysis or social media management.

The rapid pace of change in start ups means there is a distinct lack of corporate stuffiness and matrix driven job titles. Everyone has to be open to new ideas and willing to be flexible and always learning to keep their skills up to date but does this extend to their job titles?

It goes without say that a job title can often pigeon hole individuals in particular areas of responsibility or skill sets, but in reality their responsibilities and skills have a greater scope than their title might suggest. Titles can both hinder and aid progress, which is why I am in favour of generic titles that imply a broader scope. The reality is, in any job, the responsibilities often stretch a lot further than the job title infers.

As the consumer, media and technology landscapes evolve over the next decade, marketers and agencies will continue to create new roles to address these changes. If things carry on as they are we’ll be soon calling a meeting to discuss this week’s commercials with the ‘data matron’, the ‘technology pitt-boss’ and that cunning team of ‘analytics authoritarians’.

But in all this, common sense should prevail. Your job title should represent what you do but can we keep the ridiculous names to a minimum. Are agencies and marketers really scrambling to fill key ‘Ninja’ and ‘Guru’ positions?

Do we really need Master’s or Junkie’s to describe your role in an organisation? Maybe this cult has passed me by and all the rage now?

So, as I pontificate over such beauties as ‘Growth Hacker’, ‘Productivity Ninja’ or Content Librarian the next time you receive a CV and it contains even a sniff of a dubious job title, have a good laugh at the words ‘Ninja’, Junkie’ or ‘Guru’...then introduce it to the bin as quick as you can. Can they be taken seriously?

So, SEO rock stars and gesture writer’s, I’ll leave you with one final thought, my personal favourite, ‘Chief People-Herder’. If you do know what this means please enlighten us all...

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