How to Build a Marketing Team
For Your Startup
Struggling to get the word out about your startup’s product or service without breaking the bank? Stuck between that proverbial rock and a hard place and unsure how to grow your market share while boosting profitability? The answer is marketing and digital marketing, specifically. It’s a vital consideration, no matter what your industry or niche might be.
This leaves you faced with the prospect of having to hire a marketing team. It can be confusing and convoluted, but having marketing professionals on your side is essential. Of course, you might be wondering if you really need to hire a marketing team just yet – could you outsource your needs? You could, and both options have their pros and cons.
Pros and Cons: Hiring vs. Outsourcing
Before we get too far into the discussion, let’s talk about the pros and cons of hiring a marketing team for your startup versus outsourcing your needs.
Hiring Your Marketing Team
Hiring a team gives you access to a broad range of benefits. You’ll have in-house staff who are there when you need them. You have the ability to build the team as you see fit, from the ground up, as well. However, that leaves you with the prospect of spending a great deal of time vetting and interviewing. It also means your payroll and benefits costs will increase. Then there’s the problem of potentially having to let them go at some point, as staff churn affects every business.
Outsourcing Your Team
In many ways, outsourcing is better than deciding to hire a marketing team, particularly if you’re not bringing in a ton of revenue, but it does have drawbacks, as well. With outsourcing, you don’t have to worry about interviewing and vetting, or coming up with job descriptions. You don’t have payroll or benefits costs, either. A marketing or branding agency has experienced candidates that are specialized to work with a variety of potential clients.
However, you don’t have in-house employees solely dedicated to your needs. You also need to collaborate closely with another business, rather than simply letting your online marketing manager handle things. Finally, not all outsource providers are created equal, and some may not offer the services you need.
Building Your Marketing Team
If you’ve decided that you need to hire a marketing team for your startup, let’s look at the team member breakdown. You’ll need to hire the following:
· Director of Acquisition: Responsible for managing marketing acquisition initiatives
· SEM & Display: Responsible for search engine and display marketing
· Social Media: Responsible for social media marketing
· SEO & Content Marketing: Responsible for on and off-page SEO, as well as content development and distribution
· Email: Responsible for managing email marketing campaigns
· Analytics/Data Scientist: Responsible for analyzing and interpreting marketing campaign results
· Brand Manager: Responsible for creating a lasting impression with customers/clients that resonates with brand values
You’ll need an individual for each of those functions within your startup. Moreover, each of those roles may also require their own team in order to uphold their responsibilities. That’s a lot of vetting, interviewing and hiring ahead of you. It also represents a potentially massive investment in your workforce. Conversely, you could outsource all of those needs with the right company.
Of course, you’ll also need a rough understanding of how large the team you need should be. What works for one startup might be completely wrong for another.
Below, you’ll find illustrations of several team versions, ranging from a lean, functional team to a very robust one. We’ve included salary information and other data to help you make an informed decision:
ROBUST TEAM (series-funded):
MID-SIZED MARKETING TEAM (series-funded):
BARE MINIMUM – INTERNAL TEAM (seed-funded/series funded):
How to Start Hiring Your Team
If you have chosen to hire a marketing team for your startup, it’s time to dig into the groundwork you need to lay before you put out a single job ad.
You’ll need an accurate job description for each position for which you’re hiring. These descriptions need to include a broad range of factors, including daily duties, qualifications, skills, education, years of experience and more. It does require a good bit of time and effort to create an accurate but succinct description for each position on your team, though.
Example of a social media manager job description:
“We’re on the hunt for a social media manager. The SMM will be responsible for enhancing our brand, as well as for building vibrant online communities through key social networks. The SMM will develop and administer social media content that engages our audience.
The social media manager will work closely with the marketing team to develop campaigns and collateral, develop monthly reports, monitor all company social accounts, and create ways to measure audience engagement. We require a bachelor’s degree in marketing, communications or a related field, as well as at least three years of previous experience. You must also have the ability to multitask, and have strong problem solving skills.”
You’ll also need to set KPIs for each team, and make sure that every candidate you hire has the personality traits needed to mesh with your company’s culture. Finally, you will need to complete multiple rounds of interviews with each candidate, with all team members present. This ensures that everyone is onboard with the hiring decision. Of course, working with an outsource marketing team, none of this is needed.
The Importance of Your Startup’s Company Culture
Company culture is an incredibly important consideration – it’s also tough to nail down exactly what it is. In a nutshell, company culture is defined by as your company’s personality. It’s how you do things, how your employees act toward one another and management, and a great deal more. Without a positive company culture (and without ensuring that new hires fit that culture), you’re in trouble.
Company culture affects pretty much everything within your business. It has a huge impact on team morale. A positive company culture lifts morale and encourages staff. It also affects turnover – a good company culture will reduce staff turnover. Finally, a good company culture will help ensure worker happiness.
Of course, the wrong hire can be toxic – these people can affect company culture and cost you good employees. This is particularly true if a new hire isn’t pulling his or her own weight, and other team members have to pick up the slack. Unfortunately, if you shortcut the onboarding process, or just make a bad hire, there’s no way to prevent the possibility of bringing a toxic new employee onboard.
Incentives – The Hidden Costs of Hiring
Hiring new team members comes at a cost. Some of those costs are obvious, but others are not so clear. Naturally, you’ll have to budget for the additional payroll and benefits, but don’t forget other incentives.
Quarterly bonuses, 401(k) contributions and even company happy hours should make the list. In fact, it’s not uncommon for those “extras” to add up to over $4,000, according to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management. In today’s competitive recruiting environment, these are expected perks, and top talent will negotiate on all of this, as well as others, such as the ability to work from home, additional stock options, accelerated vesting schedules, and project-based incentives. Of course, with outsourced marketing support, none of these expenses are incurred.
On boarding Your Marketing Team
Despite the cost of working with recruiters, the on boarding process is crucial, and it’s important that you get it right the first time. You need to ensure adequate time to go at your own pace, despite the time required to sift through resumes and the pressure to fill a position immediately.
Never rush through the on boarding process, as this will result in hiring subpar employees who are not good a fit for your business. Yes, going slowly can take time and money, and will require that you focus intently on finding the right candidate each and every time, but it is absolutely crucial.
In the End
When everything is said and done, the decision to hire a marketing team can be a positive one. However, it’s essential that you take the time to find the right candidates for each position on your team. Don’t rush into the hiring process just to get a “warm body” on the team. Ultimately, hurrying through the process could see you faced with the prospect of paying for employees who lack crucial skills, as well as still outsourcing some of your marketing needs.