I’ve been hiring marketers, designers, copywriters and paid media experts for nearly 20 years. I’ve seen both exhilarating wins and the fallout from hiring the wrong people. Some hard-won lessons:

Make trade offs to win top talent 

– The best product marketers are strategic, well versed in go-to-market models, pricing and packaging. They’ll nail your product positioning, website and pitch decks. However, a demand-gen marketer will generate leads with any sort of resources and budget at their disposal. If you are looking for someone to do both, make sure that they excel at at least one. The combined skill set is rare.

– An SEO & Google Ads expert is typically not a social media ads pro. In fact, the best ones will emphasize that they don’t ‘do’ paid social. Unsure of where you’ll generate more leads? Consider hiring a product marketer and outsourcing these specialized functions with a test & learn approach. 

Go for marketers who know your audience

– Copywriters who can pitch a lipstick will struggle to articulate the value prop of a B2B SaaS platform.  

– Google Ads experts in d2c eCommerce use completely different strategies to generate sales than those with a background in SMB or professional services. 

Get clear on role requirements  

– A graphic designer will typically not deliver a website, and a UX designer cannot create a logo. What does 80% of your design role entail? Clear role requirements help zoom in on qualified candidates faster. 

Know you paid media budget 

– If you have no budget, find a marketer skilled in SEO, Sales enablement, organic social media, email nurture and thought leadership content. 

If you have a small media budget or are looking to test, emphasize digital paid media skills – print media buying and PR are much more expensive. Seek a marketer willing to start small and scrappy.

Eliminate time-waster interviews 

– Is the resume neat, organized and without typos? Is the candidate having to reschedule multiple times? What you see is what you’ll get. 

– Is the candidate punctual, with clear a/v? In 2023 digital tools savvy is a must. 

– Does the candidate recap their experience in a succinct and structured manner with specific examples, numbers, or a portfolio of work?  

Watch out for these small red flags > don’t interview or cut short if necessary. Your time matters.

Building your marketing team is a process. No matter the pressure to generate demand, it’s critical to hire people to first “get your story straight” by nailing your product positioning, website and marketing materials and then the ones who will help “tell your story” through organic and paid acquisition programs.

I’ve spoken to entrepreneurs who churn through marketers & agencies trying to generate leads before their product’s market positioning is clearly defined. Where you are in this journey should dictate marketing-hire priority.