Rather than focusing on the technological capabilities of Pinterest, Silbermann decided to go out and connect with the community–and reach out to bloggers to start spreading the word on the Web. The strategy paid off in a big way. So, because marketing is important, it is also important to select the right Director of Marketing.
Marketing’s role in Pinterest’s explosive growth highlights the importance of hiring a marketing person for your startup or small business early on. However, many startups and small companies tend to focus on developing their product and business development roles during the early stages–and then plan to focus on marketing later. This is a mistake.
Even if you build something truly great, it does you no good if you don’t have someone on board to tell the world about it. Most great products don’t just get discovered because technology is impressive or it looks really cool. You need people out there saying that it looks cool and convincing you to buy. Instead of saving marketing for later in the hiring process, you need a marketing person early on to:
- Position the product;
- Define your target market;
- Develop a product roadmap;
- Help build your brand;
- Get you noticed by analysts and the press; and,
- Generate leads for acquiring customers.
Of course, finding the right person to do all this for you is easier said than done. And not just any Director of Marketing is the right fit for the small business environment. Below, I’ll provide three tips for finding the right Director of Marketing to work at your startup or small business.
1. Make Sure They’re Execution Oriented
When you’re running a small company, it’s essential that your marketing leader focus narrowly on executing on the marketing plan and delivering results. You want someone who is willing and able to dig into the details of modern Web marketing and will be able to figure out search engine optimization, pay per click (PPC) and Web analytics packages. To test them on how well they’re able to deliver on projects, give them a test. For instance, you can ask them to put together a two-page report detailing how they would improve your Web marketing strategy.
2. Test Their Comfort Level with Sales
In addition to being focused on execution, you want someone who is well-acquainted with the selling process and knows how to fill the pipeline with conversions and leads. Hiring someone who is familiar with lead generation techniques and has proven that they know how to fill the pipeline with marketing qualified leads is essential to building up the near-term sales that keep small businesses going.
3. See if They Speak and Think in Numbers
A final attribute that you want to screen for is their comfort level with marketing metrics. This is an area of increasing importance at all levels of marketing, but staying finely in-tuned with key marketing metrics at a small business is especially important because the room for error is so small. While you’re looking for your marketing hire, see if they can provide hard statistics on how their marketing efforts contributed to revenue growth at their last company. A few metrics you’ll want to make sure they know are the conversion rate of marketing material, how many marketing or sales-qualified leads they were able to generate, and the cost for acquiring a new customer. If your candidate can rattle of these metrics, then it’s a great indication that they are a good fit for your small business.
Of course, these attributions aren’t the only thing to screen for, but it helps get you started on the right track. What hiring profile do you typically look for in a Director of Marketing? Share your tips in the comments below.
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