Hints & Tips Blog

When should I make my first marketing hire?

This is a question I’m asked most frequently by startups and SMEs.

So you’ve set up your business and you have orders coming in. Your production and supply chain needs are being met, and you’re making money.

You know who your customers are, and you have a pathway for them to follow to order from you; this is most likely to be your website. Up until now, you’ve been concentrating on getting traction and proving your business model.

As the owner or leader of a business, marketing may not be your first language. Digital marketing may seem like a dark art to you. Or you understand the rudiments however in your growing business you just don’t have the time to oversee the marketing yourself.

When you have proof that there is a customer for your product, and that there is a measurable untapped audience that you don’t have the time to fully address, then it’s time to hire a marketeer.

Can I afford a new marketing hire?
A good marketing person will more than cover their own salary and provide you with valuable market data to help shape your future strategy. So whilst it may appear to be a big step the return on your investment should be easy to track and manage providing you give your new hire clear KPIs from the get-go.

What should I look for in a first marketing hire?
Your first marketing hire is your most critical. They need a broad range of skills on which you can build, and they should be able to work effectively with all your team members. Ideally, they should have the potential to grow as your business grows.

Be clear about what you are looking for and why.
I’ve witnessed businesses taking on marketing strategists as their first hire believing that creating a broad framework is what the organisation needs at this point. This often leads to frustration; having a great plan and no one to implement it is unlikely to generate the results you want, and deserve. Successful marketing is 20% planning and 80% execution.

It’s more likely that what you need right now is an all-rounder who is prepared to get their sleeves rolled up and do a bot of everything. In the longer term, you can develop their leadership and strategic skills, or bring someone in later with this capability.

What skills should a first hire have?
There are three main elements to a successful marketing strategy; content that attracts your ideal customer, automation and process to share the content across as many channels as possible, and lastly analytics to measure success and shape future decision making. This

means your first hire ideally needs to have some creative capability and an analytical approach. As new marketing channels are constantly evolving, it’s also helpful to have someone with a development mindset and natural curiosity; about your business, customers, and routes to market. Being a first, and solo marketing hire is a tough gig so resilience is also a must.

With all this in mind, it’s unlikely that an intern or graduate is going to be able to confidently deliver the marketing punch you need. Ideally, you should consider someone with at least a couple of years of real-world experience.

Key attributes for your first marketing hire

  • At least two years relevant, marketing experience
  • Someone capable of working autonomously
  • Development mindset
  • Good communication skills
  • Creative
  • Analytical
  • Resilient
  • Potentially to grow as the job grows.

Now get hiring!

Our team at BHP Consulting all run successful businesses, we understand that businesses are unique and our approach involves sharing this experience to improve your business. For an initial telephone conversation or face-to-face meeting, click here