To Be a Specialist

The roles of marketers can be divided into generalists and specialists. Generalists do a little of everything. Specialists do a lot of one thing.

Which is better? That’s not for me to say.

But I can tell you that each have their advantages, both for the marketer in question as well as the company they work for. And over the next two days I will argue for both sides.

Today let me tell you why it’s better to be a specialist:

  1. There are lots of generalists. Your specialty makes you different, in a very good way. Companies need specialists to do the work that generalists are simply not able to do. And while generalists can sometimes be a dime a dozen, having a specialty helps you stand out.
  2. You are immediately more valuable. While I might argue that the best generalists have higher long-term prospects because they may become executives, in the short term specialists will tend to earn more. Specialists command a higher salary because their skills are more rare.
  3. You can focus. Because no one expects you to know everything, you can really dive into your specialty. You can devote more time to that one area than a generalist can devote to anything. And because of that, your skills will improve quickly over time, making yourself that much more valuable.
  4. You can work for yourself. If you’ve got the stomach for it, a specialist can do well for themselves as a consultant, working for a variety of different clients. It’s easier for companies to outsource specialty work instead of hiring a new team member. Generalists will find it much more difficult to find work as a consultant.

Not convinced? Read yesterday’s post on why it’s better to be a generalist.