Marketing infographics on startup laptop

Hiring your first marketer as a startup

Hiring your first marketer as a startup

Posted on July 2020 By Nicholas Farley

Marketing infographics on startup laptop

Recruiting your first marketer can seem challenging at first, regardless of whether you’re an established business without a Marketing function or a startup.

In our UK office, our Senior Consultant Sarah works with many companies going through to process of making their first Marketing hire. She has developed a few pointers to guide you through the process of your inaugural recruitment of a great marketer.

Seniority level

If you need a “do-er” and have a smaller budget (as most startups do), hiring someone at mid-management level first may be your best bet. You want employees who are happy to roll their sleeves up and get stuck in, against someone who is used to managing larger teams of people doing the executional tasks.

Company size

Candidates from a bigger, more corporate structure may not be used to the autonomy and responsibility involved with working at a startup. It isn’t a deal-breaker, but it is something to keep in mind, as it may take slightly longer to adapt to the scrappy startup style.

You can’t have everything

It’s common for startups we work with to want a full mix, multi channel marketer who is an expert at SEO/PPC, copywriting and events with a sales edge. Bear in mind, it’s rare to find a candidate who is excellent at all of those things. Even if they’ve managed and executed the full mix in a previous role and can tick these boxes on paper, it is worth considering outsourcing certain aspects of the marketing mix. This will allow them to maintain oversight, and excel in the things they excel at!

Not many people are equally data and creativity minded, and not drawing on their natural strengths will exhaust even the best of marketers.

Where do you see the team going?

Hiring with the future in mind can help you gain some clarity on what it is you need. If you think content or events will be a big part of your businesses marketing activities down the line, making sure your generalist has skillset, and is happy to do this is important. If you have a generalist who is passionate about content, it will be tricky to determine where their role ends and a content specialist’s begins if you hire one later on.

Do you have a budget?

Some marketers are used to handling smaller budgets and will be happy to do so at a startup, but it’s useful to let them know what they will be dealing with upfront. The budget will help them define which channels can be focused on, and this could completely change the sort of hire you are looking to make. Candidates used to managing huge budgets on paid campaigns won’t be able to use that skill in the same way for a business without these kinds of resources.

It is also a question most marketers will ask at an interview, so it is worth having a rough idea before starting the hiring process to manage expectations.

Do you need more than one marketer?

As mentioned above, you might have areas your looking to expand on in the immediate future. If you are planning a heavy events schedule and also need a comprehensive events strategy developed, you may need both an Events Executive and a Head of Marketing.

Growth potential

Your first marketing recruit should show the potential to grow as the business grows, in some cases all the way up to Director level. It’s true that it may be difficult to bring a manager in to oversee someone who has held a high level of autonomy. So, we recommend keeping one eye on each candidates potential with the view of them progressing with the business.

If you’re looking to hire your first marketer and need some support, feel free to get in touch with us for a chat.