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Search marketing: what do our clients want?

Digital marketing is one of Instinct’s key sectors – we work for a wide range of exciting agencies and in-house teams, and place candidates in positions from executive to head of division.

Today, we’re taking a look at the skills being demanded by clients in one specialist arm of our digital marketing recruitment practice – search.

PPC managers, search marketing executives, SEO managers, PPC and acquisition marketing executives – these are just some of the search marketing job titles we work with at Instinct every day. They vary hugely in terms of experience level, sector and focus – but there are some common strands. So if you’re interested in forging a career in the dynamic and challenging world of search, or if you’re already established but want to ensure you’re keeping your personal development in line with industry expectation, you’re in the right place.

Here’s what our clients almost always ask for:


Depending on which precise area of search marketing you work in, having a head for numbers might already by a core skill. A typical PPC manager will be performing calculations all day long. An SEO copywriter, by contrast, won’t necessarily need to wield much in the way of figures and formulae as part of their day-to-day responsibilities. Nevertheless, numeracy is increasingly requested by our clients across the board. It’s partly about being able to understand how the overall search machine fits together, and partly about readying employees for more senior positions, where budget responsibilities come into play.


Search marketing can have quick results, but its greatest impact comes from long-term strategy. Slow and steady wins the race and so on. As such, search marketing professionals need to be able to demonstrate how they can think ahead, plan and scope out a project, adjust activity where something isn’t working, and analyse and evaluate at the end of a cycle so as to inform future tactics. Even junior search marketers should think about how they demonstrate their strategic capabilities. You might not have helped plan out a project from the beginning, but did you raise an issue or idea that helped inform overall strategy? Have you assisted with a project pitch, or written reports to evaluate the past week’s or month’s performance? Anything that helps demonstrate how you’re able to shape and improve a search marketing strategy is extremely valuable.


Not that we necessarily recommend including ‘I’m passionate about XXX’ in a CV or cover email – it’s a slightly too common phrase in those contexts and can sound glib or clichéd. There are often better ways of demonstrating your enthusiasm – highlighting your voluntary projects, for example, or mentioning examples of best practice that you admire, or even the blogs and websites you enjoy reading alongside work. But you do need to demonstrate it; our search marketing clients often specifically request candidates with real passion and drive. Why? Because the search landscape changes and develops pretty much every day – which means you need a healthy dose of natural enthusiasm and interest to keep up.

Instinct’s digital marketing team includes specialist search consultants – if you want to develop your career in this arena, or simply get advice on how to tailor your CV, why not give us a call on 0161 714 0600, or email