What is a T-shaped marketer and how one could help your startup?

T-shaped marketer

The T-shaped marketer is the new profile that companies in the sector are demanding. This new concept describes the skills needed by the new marketing professionals. Email marketing, Blogging, SEO, Branding, and Content are the pillars of a T-marketer expert. And these abilities are what you can help your startup.


Also, the T-shaped marketer bases its specialization on performing all marketing techniques. For that, they need great ability, but stand out in one of them. Deep knowledge of one of the areas that integrate online marketing gives a name to the concept. All because of the basic understanding of the different areas:

  • At the top, a horizontally.
  • And one of them, the specialty, is the vertical stripe of the T.


The deep knowledge of one of the areas that integrate online marketing* gives the name of this concept. Although this notion is about marketing, in reality, a T-shaped marketer can work in any discipline and company, regardless of its size. To a better understanding of this concept, let us take a look at the graphic:

The horizontal part of the T is the deep knowledge that a professional can have about digital marketing. In addition, each box represents all the other areas with which are familiar but, they are not necessarily an expert. Meanwhile, the vertical part of the T shows the specific depth of knowledge on a topic. That is, it represents the area of marketing that they do like a master.

It is a matter of change and adaptation

In the same vein, technology advances by leaps and bounds, and people adapt to all its changes. So, digital marketing is a concept that has been with us for only 15 years, revolutionizing the world of marketing making it the marketing 2.0. That is to say, the combination of online and traditional techniques as a routine. So, the possibility of launching campaigns is possible thanks to digital marketing. Also, include social networks. In short, they need a T-shaped marketer specialized in social networks, for example.


Specialization is what most in-demand is and what pays the best. So, why we must never stop training in the digital world because everything changes overnight. There are indeed trends but develop of new websites or ways to sell a product change very fast. The more training, the better, but above all, be extraordinary at something in particular. If that is possible, brands will go for you, they will want to have you only, and the payment will be nice.


With the rapid advancement of technology, we expect to adapt to all its changes. For example, digital marketing is a concept that has been around for 15 years and has revolutionized the market. But in this century the marketing 2.0 is already assimilated. Also, the combination of online and traditional techniques is routine.


On the other hand, segment campaigns to a target audience are possible with tools of digital marketing. The most tangible case is social networks, hence the need for an expert T-shaped marketer in this area.


In short, T-shaped marketers are generalists with a specialty. They can see a complete marketing strategy and understand every part of it. Even if they have only executed a few PPC campaigns in their day, making them so sought after!

A T-shaped marketer is what your startup needs

According to Single Grain, you need a T-shaped marketer for reasons such as:

  • Not only can create a strategy but also be responsible for its execution.
  • A marketer that creates newsletter design.
  • Someone who setting up pop-ups on landing pages.
  • A professional in tracking customer experience with usability tests.


In other words, that does not mean this person only works by him or herself all the time. The T-shaped marketer also outsources some work to other experts, for example, design, PPC ads, or social media management. Also, they should be able to keep track of marketing goals and KPIs with external help to solve them.


Nowadays, the T-shaped marketer must be a professional with comprehensive knowledge in:

  • Branding
  • Content marketing
  • Search engine positioning
  • E-commerce
  • Search engine marketing and growth hacking
  • Some mastery of digital analytics.


This profile not only can create a marketing strategy from the beginning. But also to know how to respond and manage all parts of the customer acquisition funnel.


What is your startup need? Someone well trained in creating a marketing strategy from scratch. But also to know how to respond to and manage all parts of the customer acquisition funnel.

More features of the T-marketer for your startup

The T-shaped marketer is not only a super-powerful marketing digital expert. In other words, someone who handles with great skill all the fundamental facets of this subject. Also has broad and deep expertise in some of them.


Actual startups need a professional who develops a complete marketing strategy. Also, manage to understand each part of it. Besides, how it works in isolation and how it to the aim of making strategies. And, again, this is what will make you much more valuable in the market.


As a digital marketing worker you are dedicated to SEM (Search Engine Marketing), you will most likely want to specialize in depth in:

  • PPC (Pay Per Click)
  • Social Ads (Paid Ads on Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok, etc.)
  • Design
  • Storytelling and so on.


In other words, it is about achieving a 360º approach, to face and adapt to the specificities of any digital strategy, and know which part to address.


To sum up, being a T-shaped marketer means that they will be able to help your clients with their strategy from A to Z.

T-shaped marketer

Benefits for your startup

 What does it mean to be a T-shaped marketer?
  • Help clients with their marketing strategy from the beginning to the end.
  • Be able to create winning strategies amongst other marketing facets. All by collaborating with your marketing team.


It is what makes t-shaped marketers so helpful for your startup. But, remember: they are not going to convert marketing strategies only from SEO. They are going to do it beyond the board. To clarify, they put together an SEO strategy. Then, this strategy feeds into a content marketing strategy. And, finally, that feeds into an email marketing strategy.


That is why startups need T-shaped marketers because they have to steer the ship of all their strategies, from SEO to email. Besides, T-shaped marketers do this by using their expertise in other marketing strategies. And the reason is to drive that boat towards more traffic and even more conversions.


Do you think because of your extensive experience in digital marketing, you can consider a T-shaped marketer?

Do the T-shaped exercise we mentioned earlier? That is to say, to see the breadth of your marketing knowledge. Also, how it converges with the vertical line, corresponding to the depth of your expertise in a specific area. Is it complete enough for you?


In the same vein, if you want to commit* to be a T-shaped marketer, you should be clear about:

  • Consider marketing as a holistic issue. Once you immerse yourself in the behavioral marketing ecosystem, you can see your core area of expertise as an element that must combine with other channels.


  • Be much more creative. Marketing experts say that better ideas and innovations happen at the crossroads of disciplines.


  • Keep your mind active. No matter how much you enjoy your core area of expertise, you can never have too much review. Remember that as a T-shaped marketer,you always have other fields to investigate.


The perfect T-marketer candidate

Make sure that the T-shaped marketer who is part of your startup’s marketing team stands out for:


1) Data Analysts

It is not a secret that you can’t improve what you can’t measure. But when you are looking for a consultant, the ability to track efficiency should be your top need.


2) Strategic thinking

Your T-shaped marketer should be able to set long-term goals. And also have a view a bigger picture of all marketing projects. So, if your nominee starts an interview by giving ready-made solutions, watch out! It is not a good sign.


3) Proven experience

Please, hire someone who has had a background working with a similar startup like yours. So, to determine the experience of your candidate, ask for their portfolio.


4) Management of marketing tools of your company

Find out if your candidates can handle the tools you are using in your startup. For example, marketing and team tools such as:

  • Mixpanel for SaaS.
  • Salesforce.
  • Google Analytics.
  • Google Tag Manager.
  • Keywords research tools.
  • Facebook Ads.
  • Instagram Ads.
  • YouTube Display Ads.
  • Whatsapp for businesses.
  • A/B testing tools, amongst others.


It is a fact that companies need this type of profile to take the helm of all their marketing campaigns. In other words, with Inbound Growth Marketing strategies that generate more traffic, leads, and customers.


Do you want to become a T-shaped marketer?

Do you want to be a T-shaped marketer? Firstly you should start with a general understanding of the basics* in all areas of marketing. It does not mean that you must have a degree in marketing, but it does mean that you must have extensive training to provide you with specific knowledge.


But before you become a T-shaped marketer, ask yourself the following question:

Why and what is the point of being a T-shaped marketer? When you go for training, keep these levels in mind:

  • The skills they should intuitively understand.
  • The abilities that you can manage in-depth and in which you should have practical experience:
  • The traffic and lead attraction technics that they must understand and be constantly updated.
  • The techniques for activating, converting, and retaining customers that they must understand perfectly.

T-shaped marketer

After this training you will be able to perform in:

  • Analytics
  • Conversion Rate Optimization
  • Experiment Design
  • Funnel Marketing
  • Automation $ APIs
  • Machine Learning/AI
  • Branding/Storytelling
  • Copywriting


Then, these competencies will train you in areas such as:

  • Finance
  • Service Design
  • User Experience
  • Behavioral Psychology
  • Front-End Qualification
  • Omnichannel Marketing
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Distributed Ledger Technology


The idea is the entire marketing team, together with the T-shaped marketer, constantly acquire a series of skills. Also, they develop their potential as specialists and generalists. In short, they become professionals capable of adapting to any situation and solving all kinds of problems.


Are you clear about your expertise?

If you are not yet an expert or are looking to hone your skills, remember that you can take some courses on your principal discipline or its edges. You can also combine training with continuous learning. It ensures that your expertise keeps up with the needs of the market.


For example, let us say you have expertise in website optimization or creating a successful content strategy. Then your skills list should have between one to three facets of the area in which you consider yourself a marketing specialist.


What areas of marketing are you lack in-depth?

For instance, you may be more knowledgeable in SEO tactics. But you may need to adapt how you will implement this strategy in other areas of marketing. While you do not need to become an expert in every topic, you need to know enough to plan your tactics in a campaign.


As you can see, becoming a T-shaped marketer is one of the most enriching training processes a marketer can do for their business. It is also an unparalleled contribution to your marketing skills. Why? Because it offers versatility in all disciplines and deepens your area of expertise.


In short, this type of specialist can build a marketing plan using your generalist knowledge base. They can also collaborate with team members across all facets of marketing to create a unique and winning strategy.


To be a T-shaped marketer is such a big responsibility. Are you ready to accept this challenge?

The mission of a T-shaped marketer is exceptional. It is for people who are very passionate about their work. I mean, this is not the same as working with boring people who need to make money.


An example of this profile is those who have their podcast, blog, or marketing freelance. Generally, tend to voluntarily try and learn a lot more things than professionals who keep a schedule.


So it should not surprise you that getting to this position requires sacrifices, for example, dedication on weekends and even after work. But this is what defines a highly competitive marketing specialist. Sad but true! Some job experts claim that one should work close to 10,000 hours to become an excellent professional.


Finally, look for T-shaped marketers who, in addition to their skills, shine as individuals. Surely they will be more interested in driving their growth when they intend to excel as the best at their job.


Some reasons to become a T-marketer

If you are looking for reasons to become a T-shaped marketer, please read the following ideas:

1. Corporate integration

With the advancement of digital marketing, specialists realize the importance and value of integrating their digital channels. In addition, they understand how their audience interacts with their brand through search or social media channels. Also, the role they play in generating product sales.


Many studies, such as those advanced by Econsultancy, claim that integration is necessary and inevitable. In this way, the T-shaped marketer brings his vision and knowledge to digital channels. It helps the organization make the right decisions.


2. Know the behavior of your audience

A small part of website owners bases their decisions on intuition, but not with analytics. They do not seem to understand that for almost 15 years analytics, has been increasing within digital organizations. That is, they base their decisions on strategy with their users. Therefore, acquiring a broad set of skills in digital tactics will be more and more relevant for startups.


3. Technical knowledge

The importance of technical knowledge when implementing changes to a website or mobile device is vital, even more so when it comes to the need to interact with your customers. But it is incorrect to think that a digital marketing specialist does not need to know how to create an HTML page. It is essential in the world of digital technology.


4. Know about the digital ecosystem

One of the advantages of a T-shaped marketer is their knowledge of strategies according to each digital platform. That is, knowing how to manage the skills within your team to impact each social network or platform. Of course, this goes hand in hand with a timely interpretation of digital analytics.


5. Entrepreneurial thinking

When you have an entrepreneurial mindset, you already understand that this is a never-ending learning process. You also keep in mind that you need to be up to date with the latest digital trends and tactics used in the context of your business. In short, it is not so bad to be an all-rounder in the digital world.


To round it off, perhaps the most important thing to be a T-shaped marketer is to feel a strong passion. That is to say, it does not understand any other way to go that deep into digital marketing, if not with a deep devotion to it.

In conclusion, there are more requirements that we can add to this list. But since marketing effectiveness decreases every year, we need new options. However, these are the real bases. So, what do you think would be an easier project for a T-shaped marketer. That’s to say, growing an already established business… or one that is getting started, not necessarily a startup.

What can we expect from a T-marketer
in the remainder of this year?

According to Scott Meis, vice President of Marketing, FRS Clipper, sadly, many businesses cannot afford to restore teams with pre-COVID staffing levels. But, hopefully, these teams are going to be rebuilt with the support of cross-functional colleagues. In this vein, they become the most essential to help get the business back on track.


For marketing specialists seeking employment, this means that at this time, they must expand their strengths. In other words, they make themselves as attractive as possible to companies looking to revive themselves after the pandemic.


So this is a historic moment for the T-shaped marketer. Out of this crisis comes the opportunity to show your real potential. Besides, you can become the center of attention in this and next year.

One example that illustrates this challenge is copywriters. Now, more than ever, they need to adapt to different formats:

  • Short creative copy for social ads
  • Email marketing
  • Creative video scripts
  • Innovative narratives.
  • SEO knowledge
  • Know why and how various paid distribution channels are perfect to attract customers with different content formats
  • Have insight into data and analytics to optimize your approach and style to meet the brand requirements.


So all this strategic landscape that is part of content marketing must be handled with perfection if you want to be a T-shaped marketer.


Some final thoughts to keep in mind

With the speed at which technologies evolve, every marketer needs to be up to date and in constant training. That is, it is not enough that you know how to upload a couple of posts on social networks or focus your efforts on lead acquisition. Your content must be up to par, and you must always try to identify what your audience wants. Even if you lose your followers, know which part of the funnel is being a leakage point.


And as Brian Balfour, Founder/CEO at Reforge, puts it, you do not learn about digital marketing and customer acquisition in college. That is to say, this field is changing extremely fast, and the velocity of change is accelerating. Besides universities, colleges and academies are too slow to adapt.


In conclusion, there are more requirements that we can add to this list. But since marketing effectiveness decreases every year, we need new options. However, these are the current bases. So, what do you think would be an easy project for a T-shaped marketer? That is to say, growing an already established business or one that is getting started is not necessarily a startup.


After reading all this, would you like to become a T-shaped marketer? Do you think that who grasps too much grasps too little? Please let us know what you think about a T-shaped marketer in the comment section below. And, do not forget to practice your bilingual skills by reading this article in Spanish! Just click here.

Links in Spanish*

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