Short one today, (I’m on vacation), but a really important topic for marketing leaders.
A huge part of marketing leadership is putting the right people around you. Your team. It’s cliche, but you really are only as good as your team. Without a solid staff backing you up, there’s no way you’ll hit your goals, which means there’s no way the company will hit its goals. So you need to make sure you get your first few marketing hires right, especially if you’re early stage.
Obviously, every hiring process is different depending on the company, but there are a few universal laws that should inform your approach to the practice:
- Build a team with different perspectives – an idea doesn’t get better because it’s repeated four times
- Focus on your strengths and hire for your weaknesses – Hire people smarter than you, at least in certain areas
- Build a team you can trust and rely on – Need to make sure the people on your team can crush the day-to-day and execute on time
Those are kind of my big three rules for hiring, in general. I could write a whole separate blog about the actual hiring process (and probably will at some point, stay tuned). But for now, I want to tell you the first three roles that every marketing leader should hire to get their team off the ground. These are your OG, must-have marketers to make the team run, at least in the beginning. Here’s my list:
I’m biased (brand guy), but this is probably my favorite of the three. The promoter is someone who can write but also knows how to get the word out about your very early-stage business — whether that’s through social, copy, email, webinars, whatever.
Hiring someone who just does blogs early on is, for me, a huge waste of time and precious resources. Yes, it’s great to build out a blog, but you can’t afford to bring in a one-trick pony when your business is so young. You need the person who can simultaneously manage a social calendar, write fire email copy, and create a lead gen machine with webinars. Now as you grow and get bigger, you can start to specialize for sure. But this early in the game, you need the jack or jill of all trades.
And it’s not enough for them to be able to just write. There’s a ton of people who are amazing copywriters, but that’s it. They write. They don’t know how to take what they wrote and make it play on social or in ads. So the promoter needs to be able to create killer content on a day-to-day basis, then promote the hell out of it. It’s a hybrid role.
The glue person. You need a designer if you want to grow your brand. Period. Full stop. Your website, ads, blog images, social graphics aka all the stuff that will get you noticed and start building your audience — that’s the designer’s job. And it’s a pretty important job.
Anyone who has been on a smaller marketing team without a designer has felt the impact of their absence. Why? Because design is friggin hard. And great designers are really hard to come by. Without someone to keep your brand vision consistent, templated, and formatted properly, you’re left with a bunch of copywriters and product people trying to figure out how to get a logo to copy into the corner on every page of a marketing deck. It’s not really a skill you can just pick up on the fly. You need people who actually know what they’re doing.
Plus your brand isn’t going anywhere if you don’t have a clear brand identity. You need that person to come in with their expertise and say “this is the direction we’re going, this is how we’re going to look, here’s why.”
The Math Person
Far from my personal choice of career, but a super important person. And I don’t mean math like Zuckerberg writing algorithms on his dorm window math. I’m talking funnel math.
This is going to be your initial ops/demand gen person. They understand funnels and conversion, and can help you build out that initial plumbing for a predictable and repeatable marketing machine.
The math person has a birds eye view of everything you’re doing, what campaigns you’re running, how you’re generating demand and revenue, where you’re spending your money, etc. And they can demonstrate quantifiably what’s working, what’s not, and adjust the strategy accordingly. They have a constant pulse on the actual funnel and can really help you start to find your niche and understand the channels where you can be most successful.
If you’re really early stage — like, “your college buddy decided to start a company after a few cold ones and made you head of marketing with no real direction” early — then the harsh reality is…you’re going to be all 3 of these people. Trust me, I’ve been there before and it sucks. But it’s also great in a way because it forces you to learn and appreciate each of the three major facets of the marketing team. I’m by no means a math guy, but I’ve had to become Captain Spreadsheets because we just didn’t have the budget to bring on someone else. Now when you DO have that budget, you need to be smart about the order in which you bring each hire on. Figure out what it is you do best and hire someone with the opposite skillset to pick up the slack where you’re weaker.
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Crush it today.