T-Shaped Marketer and How To Find One For Your Business



April 27, 2022 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

There are a lot of options you can choose from if you’re looking for help with your marketing campaigns, from using a special tool or software to outsourcing your entire campaign to an agency or marketing company. But maybe you’re looking for something in between? That’s where T-shaped marketers come in. T-shaped marketers can fill gaps in your content marketing campaign and give your team a little extra help. In this article, we discuss:

What Is a T-Shaped Marketer?

T-shaped marketers are people who have expertise in one to three areas of the marketing industry. Most often, those areas involve some sort of acquisition. This allows businesses to generate a larger following and audience for their brand. The reason for the term “T-shaped” is because companies generally represent the marketer’s skill set by using the letter T, as shown in the image below:

Image from Buffer showing the T-Shaped Marketer Framework.

Image via Buffer

The top part of the T represents the marketer’s broad knowledge. It’s stuff they know and use in their career, but they aren’t necessarily experts in. As you progress down through the shape of the T, the knowledge becomes much more focused. The vertical stem represents the area where the marketer has expertise. Now, let’s take a closer look at the main components of the T shape.

Three Components of a T-Shaped Marketer

Here are the three main components of a T-shaped marketer, in order, from top to bottom:

1. Base Knowledge

This horizontal section of the T describes the basic knowledge that marketers use. That doesn’t just apply to marketing, but to any type of job or career they might approach. It includes a lot of general skills and traits, such as:

  • Research and Analysis
  • Communication
  • Design
  • Storytelling
  • Data Collection
  • Teamwork

If these are general traits, why include them in the T at all? Well, each member of your marketing team should have a strong foundation in these skills. They should also know how each of these skills feeds into their marketing knowledge. That can help them find where their strengths lie and if there are any holes in their expertise. From there, they know which co-workers can fill those gaps, which helps to make a more efficient marketing team.

2. Marketing Foundation

This level of the T includes skills like copywriting, A/B testing, and an understanding of different marketing concepts. Marketers use this knowledge in all forms of marketing, whether it’s in their expertise or not. Having a strong marketing foundation improves marketers’ communication. That helps them talk with people outside of their chosen expertise. It also gives them the ability to work well with teams and other marketers in their department and field.

But it’s important to note that not all marketers will have or need the same marketing foundation. It often depends on the business or agency they work for and what that organization needs. For instance, let’s say a company has no need for traditional television advertising. They won’t need their marketers to have a general foundation in commercial creation or video marketing. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t hire people with that knowledge. But it’s not necessary for their T-shaped marketers to have a foundation in that area.

3. Channel Expertise

Channel expertise refers to audience acquisition channels. It makes up T’s final horizontal layer and also includes its vertical stem. Audience channels often include things like emails, events, videos, and paid ads. It also includes things like content marketing and SEO. A lot of marketers might have a general understanding of these areas. But T-shaped marketers tend to focus on one to three key channels and develop their expertise. This allows the marketers to become indispensable and necessary for their chosen area. It also helps them provide effective insight into a company’s marketing efforts.

But, generally, T-shaped marketers also have a general knowledge of each channel too. This makes them excellent collaborators with other experts on their team. That’s because they can use their knowledge to better communicate and create an efficient work environment. That can really help boost a company’s marketing endeavors.

Read more: The Complete Guide to Customer Acquisition

The Benefits of Working With a T-Shaped Marketer

T-shaped marketers have the skills to offer their clients help with a variety of needs. Though the marketer might be more helpful with certain tasks over others, they still have a general knowledge of marketing. That makes them extremely useful for most marketing campaigns. For example, though content marketing is our wheelhouse, CopyPress still has a deep understanding of different marketing channels. We’ve worked with numerous companies and businesses that provide us with the knowledge to fit content creation, promotion, and syndication into your current marketing strategies. That includes things like pay-per-click ads and email newsletters.

We create high-quality content that attracts your target audience because that’s the expertise you can find when partnering with CopyPress. But that doesn’t mean we can’t understand everything else you’re doing with your marketing campaign. We work with you and your team to understand every facet of your brand to create more personalized, authoritative content for your business.

What To Look for in a T-Shaped Marketer

When looking for a T-shaped marketer, it’s important to remember that they aren’t specialists. Instead, they have a general understanding of marketing with a chosen expertise. But in a lot of ways, that actually makes them more valuable to a marketing campaign. That’s because they know how to incorporate their knowledge into every part of your marketing strategy. Here are a few things to look for when hiring a T-shaped marketer:

Excellent Communicators

Communication is a very important skill for your T-shaped marketers to have, especially when you work with them remotely. Your marketer should be familiar with using your preferred communication tools. They should also be prompt in their responses and answer any questions or concerns you have with the marketing campaign. Now, that isn’t to say your marketer should be at your beck and call. But a good marketing agency or freelance marketer will make sure to show that the success of your campaign is just as important to them as it is to you.

Balances Your Team

T-shaped marketers are great for balancing your team because they have unique expertise. That means if you have gaps in your marketing, you can fill them with strong T-shaped marketers. For example, let’s say your business wants to start a new email marketing campaign. You might hire a freelance marketer who has experience and knowledge in that field. They can work with the rest of your marketing team to understand your major goals and incorporate your email campaign into them.

Related reading: The Team Dynamics of Content Marketing

Data Analysts

When working with any T-shaped marketer, it’s crucial to find someone who knows how to measure and analyze data, specifically for their expertise. If you’re hiring someone to help with specific marketing, you might not know how to measure those systems yourself. It’s helpful to trust your T-shaped marketer to provide that insight for you. From there, they can help you understand how your campaign is performing.

At CopyPress, we not only help you find gaps in your content marketing strategy, but we can also help you monitor your campaign to ensure its success. Start by using our content marketing analysis tool. It compares your website and content with your top three competitors. Request your analysis today to see how your content is currently performing and to help you find content syndication opportunities.

Understanding of Your Business

Before working with a T-shaped marketer, it’s important that they understand your business and what you’re trying to do. A marketer who knows your business’s major goals can help them put their expertise to good use. It also ensures that they appropriately represent your brand and image. When a marketer doesn’t understand your brand, they might develop materials that don’t fit with your desired tone or style. It’s always better to work with a T-shaped marketer who understands your mission, or at the very least, takes the time to understand it.

How To Find a T-Shaped Marketer

Here’s how you can find a T-shaped marketer for your company:

1. Review Your Main Goals

Before looking for a T-shaped marketer to help your business, it’s good to review your main marketing goals. This allows you to see what gaps you’re missing in your content strategy and the expertise you need to fill them. For example, let’s say you’re focused on increasing traffic to your site. You could hire a T-shaped marketer with expertise in social media marketing.

But take a look at your current marketing efforts. Your social media might be performing just fine on its own with your current marketing team. It might be more beneficial to focus on other areas that generate traffic, like content marketing, SEO, or paid advertisements. Using one of those strategies, you can create a more balanced marketing campaign. That can help you focus on generating traffic to your site from many angles.

2. Talk with Other Businesses

Talking with companies is a great way to learn about T-shaped marketers. That’s because you can learn which marketers those companies used and the expertise they brought to the team. This helps you understand more about the possible marketers who can help your own business and determine which ones might be most beneficial to you before even reaching out. When talking with other businesses, it’s important to ask questions to learn helpful information, such as:

  • What expertise does the marketer or agency have?
  • What were the results of their skills, services, or advice?
  • How did the marketer work with your company and brand?
  • Did the company reach its marketing goals?

The reality of T-shaped marketing is that no one has the skills or expertise to complete every job. And that’s okay. Partnering with a powerful T-shaped marketer or agency can help you succeed in every area of your content marketing campaign.

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