The blog

Discover smart tips, personal stories and our take on the latest marketing trends
14 April 2016

Are full-stack marketers the new unicorns?

Lately, it seems the “full-stack” descriptive used as a proxy for “jack of all trades” profiles doesn’t just apply to developers any more. This is because start-ups and tech companies are becoming increasingly interested by a new breed of digital marketer: “the full-stack marketer”


What is a full-stack marketer?

If you have been following the start-up and tech industries, you will probably have already heard the term “full-stack developer” a few times. This is a nickname given to a developer who can build everything from the server architecture to back and front-end. Skills such as these are in great demand across the tech industry, because start-ups typically cannot afford the luxury of hiring developers who are experts in every aspect of the development stage.

A few years later, the term “full-stack marketer” (FSM) surfaced[1] as a marketer who could handle all the layers of the marketing stack. As opposed to the traditional marketing expert, who specialises in just a few stacks[2], full-stack marketers are “doers” with an in-depth understanding of every marketing element, enabling them to create and operate a comprehensive growth strategy with limited external resources.

“It’s not enough to be a brilliant marketing strategist and not know how to execute those strategies. It’s not enough to have a bag full of tactical tricks if you can’t create cohesion for the company positioning.”

- Marcelo Calbucci

FSM is an agile generalist with a holistic view; someone able to design and revise the strategies that will pave the way towards revenue growth. This type of profile is not only meant for start-ups and small businesses, it is also real gem for large companies. Think about it:

In a world where most companies are still struggling with digital, FSM has the ability to design your digital strategy and then not only implement your digital channel, but make it profitable. In today’s economy, agility is king and the full-stack marketer knows it (in fact he was actually created because of this new world). Its capability to launch, adjust and scale new products or services quickly will not only reduce time to market – and hence break-even time – but it will also give you a significant and lasting competitive advantage.

For all these reasons, FSM’s are unicorns: scarce and unique people that every single company should look for, because they are able to fill in marketing needs, both from a strategic and operational point of view.

What are full-stack marketers made of?

Before digging into a long list of the skills one to be mastered in order to be a Jedi full-stack marketer and earn a Super Dooper badge (see below), let’s focus first on the marketing stack.

The marketing stack encompasses every bit of interaction happening in the marketing funnel and the customer lifecycle. The stack is broad and can be broken down into multiple layers; each layer being a marketing element linked to the funnel and/or the customer lifecycle, ranging from demand generation and user acquisition to copywriting, business operation, web design, data analysis, etc.[3] Hence, the FSM knows perfectly how to reach and engage with every single prospect, lead and customer engaged in the funnel.

The full-stack marketer doesn’t have to be an expert in every single layer of the stack but definitely has to understand and know the best practices, which requires numerous skills. Fortunately, Wade Foster (founder of Zapier) was kind enough to share with the Internet a list of skills that need to be mastered to be a full-stack marketer.  These 21 skills are heterogeneous and require you to be an ambidextrous thinker as they range from soft and creative aptitudes (story-telling, pitching, PR, blogging, e-mail) to hard analytical and technological skills (SEO, SEA, Analytics, HTML/Javascript/CSS).

To sum up, being a full-stack marketer is all about attitude: being curious enough to educate yourself about everything linked to the marketing stack and pragmatic enough to focus only on best practice, instead of becoming an expert.


Fast CompanyWade FosterCraig SewellMedium - full stack marketerLinkedIn - full stack marketing

[1]Marcelo Calbucci (co-founder & CTO of EveryMove) created the term “full-stack marketer” and I highly recommend you to have a look at he has to say about it here

[2] Michael Haupt (full-stack marketer and growth strategist of Evolved Enterprises) summarised Calbucci’s definition by stating: “Full-Stack Marketing is about breadth, whereas traditional senior marketing roles are about depth.”

[3] Adena Demonte outlined an extensive list of the layers composing the marketing stack, ranging from demand generation and user acquisition to copywriting, business operation, web design, data analysis, etc.