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How to Hire the Best Marketer for Your Startup

January 17, 2016

Reading Time: Approx 4 minutes

In our last post we looked at how getting your marketing right involves around clearly identifying your goals. Having done this, you now need the right people to lead your marketing. This raises a new set of questions:

  • What do I expect my marketer to do for the company?
  • Why do I need him/her?
  • Which type of marketer do I need?

Most importantly, your marketing lead must have the right experience to help you achieve your goals. There are different types of marketers, with different strengths, and they bring different benefits to companies. They include:

The Analyst

Analytical marketers love metrics. They’re a safe pair of hands for delivering PPC campaigns, and for working out what best drives traffic to your online presence. If your initial marketing budget is tight, these guys are great for early stage start-ups.

They stick to evidence based on data, so they may not be instinctive or creative marketers. They will need to manage teams of copywriters, designers or other creatives in order to get the work done so basic management skills are important.

The Marketing Director

This type of marketer is more of an all-rounder which makes them a good choice to bring into your company pre-launch in order to create strong foundations.

Their viewpoint is more holistic and they can do a bit of everything. They can add some creative flair to good analysis, but they can also define and meet KPIs.

So they can be hands-on in a wider variety of ways, from planning and branding, to copyediting, graphics, and beyond. They may also have better management experience. If you want to build your marketing team as you build your business, a person like this can lead the process for you.

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However, remember that what you gain in all-round knowledge you may lose in expertise in specific areas. For example, if you decide to focus all of your efforts on online and mobile marketing you may prefer to choose someone with a narrower skillset, who perhaps has more expertise in this particular discipline.

The Growth Hacker

The Growth Hacker has the quantitative approach of the analyst. They’re great at integrating product and marketing concerns with a priority placed on building traffic, and doing so in ways that convert to sales opportunities. In this sense, they’re all about method and process, not about miracles and inspiration.

But they’re more open to experimentation, playing with content, placement and A/B testing. While the analyst type will follow what the metrics say is best, the growth hacker will use them as a springboard for more intuitive or even counter-intuitive ideas. A growth hacker is a risk-taker, who nevertheless bases their decisions on metrics.

They are great assets post-launch, after the initial noise has calmed down. They can extend the life of campaigns and breathe fresh life into existing marketing activity.

However, metrics are their religion. Other methods may not be so welcome. This makes them typically a lone wolf more than a team player, an expert in their niche, who is very skilled at what they do. They need leadership and someone with a “big picture” view to steer them. They may be best as part of a team or as an outsourced talent.

The Machine Builder

As the name implies, you turn to the Machine Builder when you want to build a robust marketing machine. They are the managers of managers, thrive on processes and efficiency. They will create the perfect Gantt for annual plans,set up your budgets, ensure each team member has a strictly defined role, clear ROI goals and a good product feedback loop. They’ll seek to ensure that marketing will support and amplify your company objectives.

This is the leadership function that delivers insight into your industry and what competitors are up to. They will tell you what you should be doing next in order to break away from the pack and how it should be done.

The Creative

Every company needs a creative. If the CEO or Co-founder is a natural-born creative, do yourself a favor and do not hire another one. There is only room for one of these, especially in a small company.

The creative loves big ideas and entertaining concepts. They are instinctual marketers who can give your company a distinct style, personality and tone of voice.

Much of their work comes from the gut. Opposed to the analyst, who is scientific, the creative treats marketing like an art. Forget the numbers. It’s all about strategy rather than tactics. They’ll leave the details and the implementation to their team. Easily bored, they want to “wow” everyone with their campaign.

They can be inspirational when leading teams. And because they don’t do detail, they empower those within their teams to deliver different elements of a campaign. They’re open to recommendations from all parts of the business. If an idea works, where it comes from is immaterial. This is highly motivating. If you want a leader who instils real belief and passion into marketing, the creative is a great choice.

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But hirer beware, you may get more passion than process. ROI and measurables may not always be top priority and it may prove challenging to quantify the value of their approach. Sometimes, with big ideas come big budgets, and the creative may be frustrated by limitations that you place on them. Also with big ideas can come big egos. A creative who is a less able leader may be over-protective about their ideas, may find it difficult to accept those from others, or may try and claim credit when it should be given to someone else. These traits can be divisive.

Most of all you need patience with the creative. If you seek fast results for low cost, particularly generating traffic, this is not the way to go. But if you have the resources, the budget and the faith to back a creative and longer-term marketing strategy, hiring the creative could be the best way to achieve some really impactful and satisfying results.

The choice is yours.. Hiring marketers is a big decision which can make or break your company. It’s important to know what you want in order to get it right.

About the Author

Billy Cina

I've been around the B2B tech and start up marketing scene long enough to claim veteran status. Nostalgia aside, I've become pretty good at what I do, which is why in 2014 I Co-founded Israel's leading tech marketing agency, Marketing Envy.

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