TLDR: Most folks will agree that generalists make for the best first marketing hires. But unlocking step-change growth comes from specialist talent that is focussed on solving key chokepoints in your operation. Before you hire just ‘another pair of hands’, consider whether there’s a non-obvious hire that can help you solve your biggest challenges.
Great marketing lives and dies by the quality of the team underpinning it.
Every leader – be it a first-time Founder building the function from scratch to a Fortune 500 CMO scaling a high-performance marketing machine – should be obsessed with finding the right people to do the job well.
At least once a week I receive a Twitter DM from someone asking for advice on their next hire. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. It depends on the company context.
Who do you already have in the team?
What’s your appetite for external vs. internal resources?
How much budget are you prepared to commit towards headcount?
Of course, there are the fundamentals. You need a leader – Director-level or above – to quarterback the whole operation. A handful of ‘do-ers’ – content creators, product marketers, community builders, demand gen professionals – who can execute plays on the field.
But as you grow and start scaling your operations, it’s inevitable to start noticing a need for more specialist talent.
Here are four non-obvious marketing roles every startup should consider hiring pronto.
#1. Content Repurposer
Ever hear the phrase “content is king?”
Well, if that’s the case, distribution is the throne upon which it sits.
I’m certainly guilty of spending days on a single piece of content, publishing it once, and moving on to something else. And many others are in the same boat – according to a survey by Curata, only a third of leading marketers said that they have a systematic process in place to reuse or repurpose content.
Hence why having someone responsible solely for the repackaging of content is critical. This person is a multi-channel expert, who knows exactly what formats work best across every platform.
#2. Influencer Relations Liason
90% of B2B companies expect their budget for influencer marketing to increase or stay the same in the next 12 months. Whether it’s one-off promotional campaigns or longer-term relationships, brands are HOT on working with the trusted voices within their space to reach the wider market.
But maximising the value of a relationship is a job in itself. From procurement to building the relationship to running an initiative along with the wider marketing programme and measuring results – often across multiple influencers in a single campaign – you cannot afford to hand this over to the intern.
Hire an Influencer Relations Manager to manage all of this. Look out for someone who not only lives and breathes social media (and ideally has sector-specific experience) but has superb people skills. After all, success in Influencer Marketing comes down to relationships.
#3. Executive Social Media Manager
There’s been plenty of words written about the effectiveness of executives having a social media presence (some of them by me, wink wink) so I won’t waste time going over old ground on the why. Instead, let’s focus on the what and the who.
Whoever fills this role is responsible for managing the strategy and execution of C-suite social media. In essence, what are our higher-ranking colleagues posting online and to what end?
Your executives will be connected to ten to twenty times more people than your brand account. What they say carries weight; be that with the media, new clients, potential hires or investors. And it deserves someone’s undivided attention to get right.
Working with CEOs requires a particular type of political decorum, depending on the organisation. Your ideal hire should feel comfortable speaking up to present their ideas and pushing back on ill-advised ones that come from the other side of the table.
#4. Marketing Operations Expert
OK, I know calling this hire ‘non-obvious’ is a bit of a stretch. After all, 93% of B2Bers cite operations as important. Yet I believe it’s worth reiterating in the context of this article as shockingly few startups invest in the function early enough to avoid compounding difficulties later down the line.
Essentially, this segment of the marketing team is tasked with making everything easier. Whether it’s evaluating the benefits of a new piece of martech or establishing workflows that enable ideas to go from conception to delivery, their job is to help everyone else achieve their goals.
For me, one of the biggest benefits of having a marketing ops expert in an early-stage B2B company is to build the processes that will scale with your company. This could be on how content is created and distributed, what tools make up the best stack to augment your strategy, or which data is collected to attribute ROI.
It is *extremely* difficult once a team starts to grow to retroactively apply more efficient systems. Better to get someone in from a start to lay a strong foundation on which you can build an amazing house.
Most folks will agree that generalists make for the best first marketing hires. But unlocking step-change growth comes from specialist talent that is focussed on solving key chokepoints in your operation. Before you hire just ‘another pair of hands’, consider whether there’s a non-obvious hire that can help you solve your biggest challenges.