5 questions startups should consider before making their first marketing hire – TechCrunch


“Who should my first marketing hire be?”

This is (by far) the commonest query I’ve acquired since beginning as Fuel’s CMO, and for good cause. Your first marketer may have an outsized impression on staff dynamics in addition to the general strategic course of the model, product and firm.

The actuality is that anybody who excels throughout all marketing capabilities is a unicorn and almost unattainable to seek out.

The nature of the marketing perform has expanded considerably over the previous 20 years.
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So a lot in order that when founders ask this query, it instantly prompts a number of new ones: Should I hire a model or development marketer? An offline or an internet marketer? A scientific or a inventive marketer?

Once upon a time, the variety of marketing channels was pretty restricted, which meant the perform itself match right into a neater, tighter field. The variety of methods to achieve clients has since grown exponentially, as has the scope of the marketing position. Today’s startups require at the least 4 broad capabilities beneath the umbrella of “marketing,” every with its personal array of subfunctions.

Here’s a pattern of the marketing capabilities at a typical early-stage startup:

Brand marketing: Brand technique, positioning, naming, messaging, visible identification, experiential, occasions, group.

Product marketing: UX copy, web site, electronic mail marketing, buyer analysis and segmentation, pricing.

Communications: PR and media relations, content material marketing, social media, thought management, influencer.

Growth marketing: Direct response paid acquisition, funnel optimization, retention, lifecycle, engagement, reporting and attribution, phrase of mouth, referral, web optimization, partnerships.


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As you’ll be able to think about, that’s lots for one particular person to handle, not to mention be an skilled in. What’s extra, the ability set and expertise required to excel in development marketing is sort of totally different from the ability set required to reach model marketing. The actuality is that anybody who excels throughout all marketing capabilities is a unicorn and almost unattainable to seek out.

So who do you hire first?

Unless you’re fortunate sufficient to nab that unicorn, your first hire should be a generalist who can are likely to the complete stack of the marketing perform, study what they don’t know, and roll up their sleeves to get issues achieved. Someone good, savvy and tremendous scrappy who understands how you can experiment throughout marketing channels till they discover the right combination.



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