Growing your team as a small business takes time

Hiring your first (or your next) marketing manager as a small business

Hiring your first (or your next) marketing manager as a small business

Posted on September 2021 By Nicholas Farley

Growing your marketing team as a small business

We haven’t seen a market like this for a while, with many of our clients finding it difficult to find great candidates for their roles.

For growing businesses, finding the perfect marketer is now as difficult as ever. At Stopgap, we’ve got 21 years of knowledge when it comes to finding great marketing managers at any level for all types of businesses. So, we’ve put together a guide to help your business find their first Marketing Manager in a tough market.

Experience is key

For a small company without the resources of a multinational conglomerate, their Marketing Manager needs to be a Swiss army knife. It’s common for a start up to want someone with a much more senior title – however if they’re going to be ‘on the tools,’ someone with a mixture of general experience could be a better fit.

Whilst less senior candidates might not be experts in strategy for example, they may have a better perspective of the up to date marketing trends. These less senior candidates can also be enthusiastic and eager to learn on the job, bring some new ideas and grow within the company.

It’s a good idea to open up your options to candidates of different levels to see which is a better fit.

Goals and expectations

A small business should have a sense of which primary areas they want to focus on when they hire a marketing manager. For example, if you are an ecommerce store with a young target audience, a marketing manager with experience focusing on social media, influencer marketing and SEO would be the primary areas to focus on. If you are a business that is dependent on lead generation in the B2B space, a marketing manager with strong inbound marketing and email marketing experience would be a primary area of focus.

It’s rare for a candidate to excel in every area of marketing – as it’s such a broad category with so many dramatically different skills. So, someone with hands on experience doing what you need and the capability to manage an external agency could be a perfect synergy.

Placing unrealistic expectations on a new marketing manager could hinder their progress and actually stop them from excelling in what they’re good at. Juggling too much work isn’t a good way to get the most out of your team, so it’s important to be realistic and set some achievable goals.


It’s important for your new hire to be aware of the budgets they’re working with. This can help your marketing manager figure out which software is within the budget of the business for example. It also allows them to create a strategy with focus on specific channels as some types of marketing come at a bigger cost than others.

For example, in a B2B marketing space, lead generation will be a big target so a tool like Hubspot will take up a significant part of your budget. However if your product is niche and your target market is specific, getting your message to the right people through paid ads could be a big portion of your marketing spend.

As mentioned earlier, you should also factor in outsourcing certain responsibilities that ‘your type’ of marketing manager isn’t an expert in, even if only on a project basis. In the long run, this could be more cost effective and give your new hire the chance to excel in what they are great at.

If you’re looking to hire your first marketing manager, or the newest addition to your marketing team – feel free to reach out!

This blog was adapted from a blog our UK marketing team has produced.