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9 Traits Early Startups Should Look For in a Marketing Hire

9 Traits Early Startups Should Look For in a Marketing Hire

As a founder, you will face numerous challenges along the tumultuous yet rewarding entrepreneurial journey. Building the right team to support you during the journey is fundamental to a startup’s success.
However, finding the right person to scale your marketing efforts is not easy. Not all marketers are made equal. For example, the challenges that marketers face in a large organization or agency look very different from those in an early stage startup. Thus, the attributes you should look for are also unique to startup marketing hires.

Here are the unique traits you should be looking for:

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1. Resourcefulness

Startups are working with limited budgets, and you will have to get things done with little (or no) budget. Look for someone who is able to work with limited resources and iterate on loose frameworks. There won’t be much handholding, so ensure your first marketing hire is excited by the challenge of navigating the unknown.

2. Ability to zoom out to the big picture and zoom in for attention to detail

A marketer in an early startup will need to keep the big picture in mind while executing on the details. When vetting your candidates, the best picks are those who can understand the fundamental goals for the company and has the skills to make them a reality. Find someone who can understand all the moving pieces and also articulate the detailed execution of getting there.

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3. Critical thinker

While there may be a clear vision to follow, there will also be hundreds of decisions (big and small) every day that will require critical thinking and decisive problem solving. How will I get the attention of my customers? Should I set up an email marketing campaign or ads first? How should I phrase this copy? Hire someone who can think critically and can confidently make those decisions.

4. Ability to multi-task

Although the marketing role is specific to a set of objectives, this new hire will likely be involved in several projects at the same time. Startups are notorious for being a little chaotic, so it’s essential that your early marketing hire is someone who can seamlessly multitask on various initiatives.

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5. Creativity

Creativity and startups go hand-in-hand. Building a company requires someone who can think outside the box to find new (and better) solutions. Find someone who is creative enough to understand which rules are meant to be broken at what time. Success often means finding unusual solutions that are not obvious at first glance.

6. Embraces new technologies

The best early stage hires are those who leverage technologies to automate processes. We are in the age of digital marketing where new tools and platforms are launched every day. The best marketers are those that are on top of new technologies and love developing their own strategies to make your marketing better and faster.

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7. Flexibility

The roadmap changes. Daily fires spring up. Budgets ebb and flow. Find someone who is flexible and adaptable to new situations. It’s inevitable that things move quickly in a startup so your early stage hires should be people who present an unfazed can-do attitude, even in the midst of crisis.

8. Good Listener and Communicator

Listening and communication skills are integral both internally and externally. Not only will he or she be responsible for communicating the company’s vision to the world, the rest of the team will rely on this role too. For instance, your marketer may need to get feedback from core users and then relay concise points back to the product team.

9. Team Player

In any startup, collaboration is key. The success of the company will be contingent upon team dynamics. A unified team with transparency between all aspects of the business: product, marketing, and sales will make for a stronger path to market.

At the end of the day, the technology and opportunities are constantly changing – and the truth is – the nitty-gritty details can be learned on the job. But the resourcefulness, creativity and results-oriented perspective of an excellent marketer cannot be taught. So make sure to integrate these values into your startup family.

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Shannon Wu

Founder, Mr.Progress

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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