97. Hiring the Right Marketing Leader

Season #2

On this episode of The High Performance Marketing podcast - I’ll take you down the path of why hiring a marketing leader is an absolute must for your business, what you should expect and how marketing leadership is the driving force behind successful, scalable and repeatable sales results.



Welcome to the high performance marketing podcast, a show for business owners who wanna create meaningful customer connection using simple marketing and quality content.
I'm your marketing guide, Ali Garbero.

Welcome back to the show.
So you know, when most people think about starting a business, They aren't thinking about running a business. They're thinking about selling the thing that they love, right, making or delivering on that service that they love doing and, of course, making a profit.

But no one in I literally mean No one says, yep.
I wanna run a P and L.
I wanna manage people.
I wanna worry about sales and marketing.

It goes more like, oh, I'm gonna sell this thing.
But, oh, crap.

How do I get people to buy it? If at some point, the fact that you need marketing hits you like a light bulb, well, most businesses think that they can do it themselves or they go out and hire, you know, their cousin who's some college intern or part time help to really just make this attempt at filling the gaps.
On today's episode of the podcast, I'll take you down the path of why hiring a marketing leader is an absolute must for your business.

What you should expect and how marketing leadership is the driving force behind successful, scalable, and repeatable sales results.

First, who is a marketing leader? What am I talking about when I use this term? Naturally, people think about marketing technicians like social media managers, ad managers, maybe SEO gurus, but a marketing leader is someone who oversees and directs the marketing efforts of your company.

They are responsible for developing and implementing marketing strategies to help you promote the brand to attract more customers and, of course, drive sales.

A marketing leader may manage a team of in house marketing technicians like graphic designers, social media marketers, writers, pretty much they're responsible for also working with other departments, sometimes, uh, operations, almost always sales to really make sure that your marketing initiatives align with the overall goals of the business, right? Because imagine saying we wanna sell x amount of products, or revenue this year.

And we're just going to do that through random acts of marketing.
No one will be responsible for whether we achieve these We don't even know what goals they are exactly, what KPIs will put into place.
And, you know, we're just gonna spend money on marketing as we go.
Like that would never happen.

You would never arrive at the results that you're trying to achieve.
So a marketing leader literally takes on the role and the responsibility of shaping your company's brand identity.

Really driving the product or the service positioning and, of course, identifying opportunities for growth But really just putting on that that load on their shoulders that they are going to oversee the whole shebang of it.
Right? They will almost always report to the CEO or the company founder because let's be honest if you are the CEO and the founder You may not.

You know, and then this is it to you, but you most likely probably, even if you love marketing, don't have time. To execute on it the way that you want.
Fundamentally, a marketing leader is a key decision maker who drives the marketing strategy forward and helps the company achieve its objectives.

Now if you wanna hire a marketing leader to take on these challenges for your business, you're most likely going to need a marketing director or a chief marketing officer of some kind, possibly even a fractional CMO, but I'm gonna talk you through some options.

K? You you get to decide here.
I'm not gonna force you into anything.

But first, let's get a clear understanding around a chief marketing officer in this sense, a fractional chief marketing officer, and here's why I'm gonna say fractional is because This is a fractional CMO is a fancy marketing term for a part time or temporary marketing executive who provides that strategic leadership that I'm talking about, right? That direction for your company's marketing efforts on a fractional basis.
This is more on a part time or as needed basis.

And why I'm bringing this up is because most often businesses are growing.
They're in growth stage. They can't always afford a big budget executive salary. CMOs get paid several 100,000 of dollars a year. 

So this is why I'm leading you down this path of, you know, more as needed work through fractional work.
So instead of hiring a full time CMO, your business can really you know, engage the services of her fractional one to access that higher level marketing x tease and guidance, but without that commitment of a full time salary.

Fractional CMOs usually work with multiple appliance as well.
And they will, you know, tailor things to really meet your specific needs, which is a benefit because They're not just practicing on you.

They're seeing marketing in the whole gamut across lots of different verticals, across lots of different industries, And so they're very well equipped to help build marketing plans, implement campaigns.
Also, analyze the performance, you know, I talked about KPIs earlier, like, what are those key metrics that we need to measure and look at so that we can understand whether our efforts are being successful or not.
Fractional CMOs are extremely beneficial for small or midsized companies, you're getting the expertise of a professional without hiring someone full time.

Now the type of marketing leader you should hire depends on your business's specific needs, goals, as well as your industry. So I'm gonna give you the rundown on a few types of marketing leaders you might consider.

And the first is a generalist marketing leader.
Now, this person has, you know, a pretty good experience across various marketing disciplines, and they can usually oversee things like branding or digital marketing, advertising, content creation.
And really work great for, you know, like, comprehensive overall marketing guidance and some job titles that would fall under this category include marketing coordinator or marketing manager.

The next is a specialist marketing leader who focuses on a specific area of marketing, like, you know, social media, content marketing, SEO.
These individuals have a deep expertise in that area of special utilization.
And most often, what I'm seeing is businesses will lean into a social media marketing manager first.
Because who doesn't wanna be on social media.
Right? Like, we all love the idea of being on there.
We wanna be seen.
This is making me think about that time.
If I don't know.
Jerry Seinfeld.
It's been on Netflix, and there's this episode where, I don't know, he's wearing a fur coat.
And there's this long story where Kramer asks him to kinda cover up that this fur coat is his.
And, you know, so that Kramer doesn't get kicked out of his building.

And the super is like, whose coat is this? This fur coat? And, uh, he's like, oh, oh, it's gotta be Jerry's.
You know celebrities.
They need to be loved and liked.
Look at me.
Love me.
Anyway, super long tangent, but I think that's what we do sometimes as businesses as to why we go down the path of social media marketing first.
Look at me.
Love me.

Well, job titles in this bracket include a social media managers, I mentioned, or a marketing specialist.
Next is that industry specific marketing leader that has experience and knowledge specific to your industry.
They understand the unique challenges, the trends, really the opportunities within industry, especially if it's like really niche.
And I get it.

We all wanna think nobody understands my business.
But if you have, like, a really unique industry, then this is where you'd want someone who's got that, you know, tailor Mitch, because they can then tailor your marketing strategies to meet the needs of your target audience.

Next is a growth marketing leader.
And this is someone who focuses on driving quick But sustainable growth for your business through data driven experimentation and often I mean, these are the people who love the numbers.
They're looking at website traffic.
They're looking at all of the you know, PPC analytics.
I mean, they are skilled in really identifying and capitalizing on growth opportunities.
Optimizing conversion funnels and maximizing ROI.
So job titles that might, you know, that you might look for in this area are either growth manager or digital marketing manager.

And then, of course, that fractional or interim marketing leader in, as I mentioned earlier, provides part time or temporary leadership that, you know, in a flexible way that's also super cost effective.
So Job titles here are marketing executive, head of marketing, chief marketing officer, including that fractional CMO, which I explained earlier.

So now the next question that you might be asking yourself is, well, alright, Ally.
How do I know when I'm ready to hire a marketing leader.
Well, companies typically hire a marketing director or leader at various stages of business growth depending on your specific needs, your goals, your resources.
Right? But here are some common moments in business growth that might lead you to knowing that you're ready to make this hire.

And the first is the early stage startup.
Right? This is when you're first getting started launching the company.
You're going to need someone who can handle your efforts internally You're going to really need them to help your business gain traction.

And especially because this is where load starts to increase.
So you might decide to hire a marketing leader to bring in some structure, some strategy, and expertise to marketing initiatives.

Because when you're in that stage, you really are wearing that hat of chief everything officer.
So you might not be able to see things as strategically or you might not have the ability to execute on those marketing efforts in a way that could yield the results that you want.
Obviously, the next stage where you'd be looking to bringing on marketing leader would be in that expansion phase.

This is where, you know, you're growing.
Your operations are getting bigger.
Maybe you're going into either new markets or you're trying to launch new products or services.
So again, you need that strategic leadership to really show up.
So, you know, at this stage, you wanna make sure that those marketing efforts really, really align with your overall business objectives so that you can support that growth.
And then finally, that scaling up process where you're like, okay, I have experienced a ton of quick growth or, you know, I really wanna scale my operations, right? I need a dedicated marketing leader who can really help us do that.

So this is where, you know, a marketing leader will manage your marketing team.
Now you've got a little bit more money.
So you've got more people.
You need someone to manage this team them accountable, keep them motivated, right, really just driving that continued growth and success.
And let me mention, 1 or 2 other areas as well that sometimes business owners will sort of overlook as a stage where you would really need a marketing leader.
And this is transition periods.

You know, during periods of change transition, like, let's say, you know, you've had a leadership leadership change or, you know, maybe you're rebranding or you've had some type merger or acquisition, this is where you need to really lean on the the guidance and the stability of a a marketing leader to just really help sort of create this seamless process.

And You know, also the next one that I would have you consider would be if you're in decline or even if you're you've just hit a plateau.
Your business isn't growing.
The way you want it to anymore.
I mean, you're not in a bad place, but you're not seeing the growth that you want anymore or worse, you're uh, the numbers aren't looking good.
You're in decline.

And of course, what I have seen most businesses do in this case is when the business starts to decline, they start to cut back.

They're like, no, no, red alert, you know, cut out in the marketing, cut out fire everybody.
And That's just the absolute worst thing that you can do because a marketing leader can absolutely know how to get you out of the rut, get you out of that plateau, and get you back into growth mode.
Now finally, what questions should you ask someone when you're thinking about hiring them, right, to lead your marketing efforts? Well, I'll run through a few and, you know, They're not no brainers, but they are, you know, sort of they're simple.
I mean, they they're helpful here.
So let me go through these.

And I would wanna know, hey, can you walk us through your experience in creating and actually executing on successful? Marketing strategies? Like, what does that look like? How do you personally stay updated on the latest marketing trends, tools, and best practices I mean, I wanna know that they're not just throwing spaghetti at the wall here, right? Like who are who are their leaders? What strategies are are they following or frameworks, are they helping me implement into my business? And can you provide examples of marketing campaigns or projects that you've led that resulted in measurable success.
Now, this is the kicker, right? Because anybody can say, oh, yeah, you know, like, great.
Just hire me.

I'll I'll make you grow.
Well, no, I wanna see.
I wanna actually see the numbers.
I wanna see you know, how you took someone from, you know, 10,000,000 in revenue to 20,000,000 or or even a 1,000,000 in revenue to 5,000,000.
Like, what were the things that happened there? Because, again, I want tangible evidence here.
I would also ask, how do you approach market research and audience analysis to really make informed marketing decisions.
This is so important.

Like, market research and analyzing your audience is something you may have done early on when you were just getting started, and then you just forgot about it.
But this is something you should be doing on at least an annual basis, if not every few years.
And a marketing leader can help you do that.
I would also wanna know, like, what their experience is with branding and positioning a company, you know, in within the marketplace.

And if you're not sure what positioning is, it's like, okay.
What position does our brand or company hold in the heart and minds of our consumers.
Do you know how to position us in a way where we're different where we gain their loyalty where we stand out.

You know, an example of this is, you know, what position does co Cola hold in your mind when it comes to cola.
Well, number 1, most likely unless you're like a a Pepsi fan.
So I would wanna know what their experience was around, you know, positioning, branding, all that cool stuff.
Um, I would also probably ask like he How do you work with other departments? Because this is gonna be a key leader who's going to have to get along with other team members.
And the last thing you want is like a big jerk.
You want someone that's diplomatic that can play, you know, well at the playground you know, with with all the the kids, not just some big bully.
I would also ask, you know, around their experience managing a marketing budget and really optimizing ROI.

I mean, if you're gonna hand over 1000 and 1000 of dollars, you're hoping you're gonna get a return on investment.
Right? So I would wanna see how they'd managed previous company's marketing budgets.
What that looks like? Of course, I would want to talk about KPIs.
Those are those metrics that really measure performance.
I need to know what the KPIs are that this individual is going to put into effect because those are the things we will use to measure success.
How will we know if we're succeeding if we don't know how to measure it? I would also dig a little bit deeper, maybe get personal.
Tell me about a time when you faced a challenger setback.
You know, specific to marketing, what did that look like? How did you overcome it? You know, tell me about that.
And of course, their leadership style.

We did talk about that in regards to, you know, we wanna make sure that they get along with other people, other departments, but also can they motivate and buyer your team, you know, if you've got a marketing team to actually achieve the goals of the business.
These questions are super helpful because they're going to give you a better feel for the qualifications and the problem solving abilities of this potential candidate.
And I know that you might be thinking here at this point.
Maybe you're not, and I'm gonna put this into your head here, but you might as you have been listening in the show thought, well, you know, maybe I should just hire a marketing agency.
To handle all of these things for my business.
That might just be easier.

No doubt you have heard of marketing agencies.
I love them.
They're great.
I have clients who are agencies.
Here are some pros and cons on that, though, on hiring an agency versus an actual marketing leader.
And that's that hiring an agency is usually more expensive, especially for small businesses and startups with limited budgets.
When you hire a marketing agent agency, you're you're pretty much giving over over your marketing efforts to external professionals, which is fine.
If you want it to be hands off, but with an in house team member or leader, you have a lot more control and flexibility to adjust strategies timelines, even your priorities, right, based on kinda how things are working, any changes in the market.
Also, marketing agencies you know, often tend to have an expertise in, like, a specific area, like ads or HubSpot.
And, I mean, that's great.
It allows them to really provide specialized services, but an in house marketing team or leader can really focus on a more customized approach to your unique challenges, right, the the things that are happening within your business over time.

Well, there you have it.
Everything you need to know about hiring a marketing leader.
Whether you're just starting out or you're in that super hyper fast growth mode that we all love or maybe hate it.
But ultimately having the right marketing leader by your side is the ultimate difference maker.
They'll help you stand out, grow your business, no matter what phase of the journey that you're in.
And, again, the reason you need them is because they're number 1 focus is strategy, execution, is marketing, whereas for you as the leader, you you've got a lot.
You've got a lot of other things.
You gotta focus on people, uh, customer service, a million different things.
So if you don't have a marketing leader in place, takes them out of what I shared with you today, and go out and get 1 and watch your business, grow.

Thanks for joining me today. If you'd like to talk about marketing leadership, and how we can revolutionize your business, schedule a call with me at writebrandmarketing.com I'm Ali Garbero, Copywriting is what I do content marketing is what I create - and more customers is what you get