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Wanted by Hybrid Agency: Hybrid Marketers

Posted by Jon Lonsdale - March 3, 2016

I have been doing a lot of interviewing recently for Octopus Group.  A lot.

It’s something that, despite being exhausting at times, is a really good thing to do. It enables you to get a real temperature check on what is going on out there in the four corners of agency-land and evaluate how what you’re doing stacks up.  Meeting people is good and it gets you thinking.

I met 30 people for 3 different roles, and hired 3.  I learnt a few general things from the experience:

  • There are lots of people stuck in seemingly good jobs where they know there is no future long-term (a bit depressing)
  • People are generally reluctant to show you the quality of their creative thinking against a live/test brief (I wound never hire anyone who hadn’t done this and nervousness spells trouble)
  • Every agency is going through major transition (and in many cases, consolidation)
  • Most people can’t articulate the way the industry is changing (or their own views on it …)
  • Presentation skills let most people down (shocking when you consider what they do for a living)
  • There are a lot of consultants/freelancers looking for full-time roles (over-supply?)

As I reflected on each interview afterwards with our Head of Talent, one lament kept coming up. We are creating a new kind of agency, so where are all the new kind of people?  The word we kept coming back to was “Hybrid”.

So I looked it up on Wikipedia: “Hybrid generally refers to any offspring resulting from the breeding of two genetically distinct individuals.”

And the more I thought about it, the more it started to cement in my mind the type of people that I was looking for and why I was so frustrated. And then, I see this piece in PR Week: ‘Golin acquires The Brooklyn Brothers to create ‘hybrid agency’‘, and think that I might be onto something…

As we know, our industry is going through massive flux.  The disciplines, the economics, the in-house teams, the briefs, the campaigns. Buyers are confused about which agencies can do what. Agencies are confused about who they are and how they should focus to grow their businesses.

The type of individual that can excel in this environment has to be a “hybrid marketer”. Adaptable, entrepreneurial, high-energy, pragmatic and creative people who are equipped for an agency world that is fun and challenging in equal measure.

I want hybrid people who are a fusion of the skillsets, behaviours and backgrounds to work at Octopus Group:

  • Marketing and PR
  • Earned, owned and paid media
  • Digital and analogue
  • Creative and data
  • Client services and sales
  • Brand and demand generation

I know that’s a greedy, some would say impossible, hiring strategy, but that shouldn’t stop us trying should it?

By the way, they also need to be self-effacing (no tossers allowed), good at ping-pong (we take that very seriously), like camping (we do our own summer festival), a musician (we’ve got a great office band), like bake-off (we like food) and, naturally, they must know their way to the bar.

So if you want to join our Hybrid Agency, try and think about becoming a Hybrid Marketer and we’ll get along just fine.  And if you are really keen, keep an eye on our jobs page.

life at the content marketing agency Octopus Group

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