By Steve Touhill, Partner.

We are in the midst of an unmistakably Darwinian era in digital marketing. The pace of large-scale staff reductions within digital sales teams structured on a traditional media sales model is accelerating and those "old school" jobs will never come back. At the same time, there is a race to reload organizations with executives deeply experienced in advertising/marketing tech, creating an economically unsustainable environment if we limit ourselves as an industry to the current supply of & LUMAscape" candidates. As one CEO lamented in a recent conversation, “if a kid can spell ‘programmatic’ he expects $200,000.’

There is a solution, but it requires a more creative approach to defining the universe of candidates. Here are three methods that our clients are leveraging to successfully scale their organizations without breaking their balance sheets:

  •  Target Enterprise Skills: data-driven and programmatic technologies require a consultative, enterprise software approach that most transactional media sellers struggle to grasp. Recruiting executives from enterprise SaaS organizations who have demonstrated success developing, marketing, selling, and supporting platform technologies into the C suite injects a new level of competence into the hiring organization that accelerates growth and permeates the company culture.
  • Target Relationships: CEO respondents to a November 2014 Gartner Group survey identified digital marketing as their Number One priority in 2015. So it's no surprise that the most strategic activities once handled by ad agencies are increasingly moving in-house to the brand marketers themselves. Recruiting from businesses that market their solutions to CMO's is fertile ground.
  • Target Proven Adaptability: within the current digital media landscape there are a handful of executives who will successfully adapt to the new realities of digital marketing, and their institutional knowledge is critical to ensure the continuity of existing relationships as well as the success of incoming enterprise software executives who are new to the industry. A proven history of risk-taking and successful adaptation through previous career inflection points is a strong indicator that you have a candidate who will thrive in today's environment.

The above tactics may seem obvious, but they are easier to list than to execute. Every hiring decision carries with it an element of risk, and hiring someone who has already "been there, done that" feels safe.  But safe is becoming increasingly expensive, and smart executives who expand their supply ultimately have greater control over the price of talent and can compete more effectively in the marketplace.

What are you doing to adapt?