Marketing Strategy

Hire These Marketers Together to Move Faster

As a startup leader, you’ll want to hire key sets of marketers together. Small groups of marketers working together can get results faster.

Many startup leaders prefer to start hiring a very small marketing team. But to make sure you marketers can hit their goals, they’ll need resources and access to a few other marketing specialists. Here are tips are how you can hire marketers together to stay small but move faster than a one-person team.

Acquisition Marketer + Paid Ad Agency + SEO Agency

As soon as your acquisition marketer joins, they’ll need to “turn on” channels to drive traffic to your site. They’ll likely have deep experience in at least a couple channels, like paid social advertising or SEO. But it’s unlikely they’ll be able to manage everything in house on their own out of the gate. 

You’re likely better off if your Acquisition Marketer hires an agency or two to experiment. They’ll choose agencies that manage channels that are most likely to reach your target customers. Whether it’s running ads on Google search, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube or somewhere else, there’s an agency for that. Your Acquisition Marketer needs to choose an agency that is comfortable with you (possibly low) budget and has expertise with the platforms you need. You’ll also need an agency that offers creative and copy services if you don’t yet have that in house. And giving this too the agency may help them iterate and learn more quickly. Only consider bringing these capabilities in house once you validate a channel, a strategy, and CAC.

SEO may also sit here (or in Content Marketing). To have content start to rank in organic search results, your Acquisition Marketer needs an agency or contractor to help. This agency will do market and keyword research to identify topics that you could rank for in organic search. They’ll also write and publish the articles. SEO is a long game, so this agency will help you create a body of blog articles or content that’s most likely to rank high in search results over time.

Two marketers chatting

Growth Marketer + Email marketer + Copywriter

Growth Marketers work to optimize your funnel so that more of your target customers sign up or buy. If a Growth Marketer is your first hire, they may need to bring on agencies to drive traffic to your site or app (see Acquisition Marketer above). If there’s already an inflow of prospects, your Growth Marketer will create a backlog of growth experiments and start testing.

Your growth experiments could include changes to your website, landing pages, email, and signup steps. They’ll need a copywriter or content writer to create the messaging and copy for all the collateral. They’ll also probably need some time from a designer, and possibly eng if you don’t have self-serve marketing tech tools yet (like a website CMS or landing page service). But at first they can operate leanly and use what you’ve got to test and learn.

Email is another matter. Your Growth Manager can plan and deploy emails on their own at first while your program is still small. But as growth experiments in a range of channels pick up, and your email program gets bigger and more complex, they’ll likely need the help of email marketer. They’ll manage your ESP (email service provider). And they’ll help you get more sophisticated with email test variants, customer segmentation, and data analysis. They’ll also support emails your PMM team needs to send. Once email is a bigger and more complex part of your business, it’s helpful to have a specialist leading email.

Product Marketer + Copywriter + Designer

Product Marketers are responsible for launching new features and product for your business. They also create campaigns to get customers to use more of your most valuable features. Plus they create personas, messaging, and positioning that the whole company can use. The common theme here? PMMs need to create a large range of collateral to enable launches and campaigns.

To do this, a PMM almost immediately needs partnership from a copywriter and a designer. A copywriter can help translate customer insights into actual messages the PMM will use. They’ll write copy for a wide range of channels, from email, to web pages, social media, video, events, and more to support the launch. PMMs may also create seasonal campaigns that need a unique brand message and a creative angle to bring new energy to the same messages. A copywriter is a critical role to develop the convent and copy.

The other key player? A brand designer. For seasonal campaigns, a designer can create a unique visual system that aligns with your brand and message. They’ll also create the designs and collateral for all of the creative assets you need for the campaign, from email module design to web pages and social graphics. A PMM with a copywriter and brand designer can bring a whole launch and campaign to life.

Two marketers typing

Content Marketer + Copywriter + SEO Agency 

A Content Marketer may be able to make it on their own for awhile. They’ll likely play a dual role of driving some content initiatives on their own, while providing content strategy and copy for Growth and Product Marketing programs too. Content Marketers own the overall content roadmap, and smartly try to create a critical few pieces of content that can fuel multiple channels. An example would be developing a new report that can be used as a lead magnet, spliced into many compelling social posts, and pitched to the media for press coverage.

But as Growth and Product Marketing priorities grow, the content marketer may get bogged down by copywriting for marketing collateral. It may be hard for them to drive an editorial or SEO roadmap for your blog. Also, many Growth and PMM initiatives require deep product understanding so the writer can explain how to use the product and key feature benefits accurately. Keeping up with product knowledge may come at the the expense of writing more brand or editorial content. An easy solve can be hiring a copywriter who’s dedicated to writing for other marketers’ needs. Then the Content lead can focus on other areas where content can grow your business.

If one of these areas is investing in SEO content to drive organic search traffic, your Content Manager may need help from an agency or specialist contractor. Some can do keyword research and write articles on their own. But a specialist or agency may hone in on the right topics more quickly and bring more momentum to the team so you can write (and rank) more quickly. Adding this resource is a good option if your Content Manager has other important priorities and SEO can come off their plate.

Community Marketer + Social Media Manager + Moderator 

A Community Marketer aims to create connection between your brand and users or anyone who wants to be part of the conversation. Sometimes Community Managers are social media marketers. They create your content calendar and post in your relevant social channels. But sometimes these managers run your influencer strategy, gather customer testimonials, encourage user generated content, and more.

If your Community Manager has scope beyond social media, they may need to hire a social media manager. Many times you need to post daily across multiple channels. A social media manager partners with your Content team to create an integrated content calendar so your narrative is consistent (and stronger) across channels. But they also need to test and learn what works for each particular channel and create content that appeals to your target customers in those audiences. They’ll also respond to comments and participate in conversations. Social media is social and it takes time each day to connect with your audience.

As community or social media efforts grow, you may also find that you need a Community Moderator. This moderator is part content hype person, encouraging conversation and participation from your audience. They’re also part customer support manager, answering help questions and sharing tips or troubleshooting to resolve user issues. Without a moderator, a community can sometimes spiral into griping without resolution. Or it can just become silent or boring. A moderator can bring the community to life and help users help each other solve challenges too.

PR Manager + PR agency + Data Analyst

A PR manager will develop your PR strategy, including what key messages you want to share with the press and target media outlets. They’ll hone in on how your executive team can be thought leaders and what data and other juicy media topics you can share. They’ll create narratives and talking points, and can translate this into a media pitch or press release.

But a PR Manager may need help developing media relations, identifying and getting you noticed by the right media publications. Depending on volume, they may also need help managing inbound and outbound pitches. A PR agency can increase your reach and credibility with the outlets your pitching. And they can be a great thought partner and driver of media strategy, landing you more opportunities than a single PR manager could on their own.

Another great help to a PR Manager and agency is having a data analyst on tap. This person does not need to be officially on the PR team, but they need to be available to support. Why? A big lever to attract the press and become a go-to expert in your category is by offering unique data. This could be as simple as providing data answers to inbound requests. Or you could create timely, relevant data reports that you pitch to the press on a regular basis. Plus almost all your press releases, from fundraise news to launch announcements, will include your unique data. PR moves fast, and a PR Manager May miss out on valuable opportunities if they’re constantly stuck without someone to pull and package data.

Hire Marketers Together to Accelerate

The smartest way to hire marketers onto a new, small marketing team is to think about how marketers will work together. Your marketing programs and campaigns will be able to scale faster if marketers can partner with other specialists to get things launched faster. Not all of these new marketers need to be full time employees. Agencies, contractors, and freelancers (even part time) can often do the trick.

As a startup leader, when you decide to just open one marketing role, give some more thought to who else that marketer may need to lean on. Think about hiring a small marketing “pod” to move faster and get the results you’re hoping for.

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I work with VC-backed startup founders and leadership teams to define the most effective marketing strategy.  I’ve built and scaled highly-engaged marketing teams, all with limited resources and tight timelines. I’m a decisive, action-oriented leader known for my empathetic style. Let's get results for your startup too. 

Allyson Letteri
Marketing Leader & Startup Advisor

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