How to hire a B2B marketer – ep 22

Dispelling myths on creativity, performance and big brand experience

Are you looking to hire a marketing star but don’t have a clear idea of what qualities you should be seeking?  

Let me tell you what most leaders look at B2B tech companies who are making their first marketing hires:  
– past performance 
– creativity. 

These are also two of the most misinterpreted and misused concepts especially when it comes to hiring. 

I know that because companies hire our consultancy thinking that we are creative, and after a few months, reassure us in their feedback that we are indeed creative (which we are, of course). 

But what they see as creativity isn’t actually creativity. It’s experience. It consists of
1. having a box of tools,
2. knowing which one to pull out when and 
having the expertise to use the tools in unconventional ways. 

As a result of this little misinterpretation, they look for the wrong things.

Look for Boldness

Creative and successful marketers are bold. Period. 

For me, it’s a must-have component when I’m hiring for marketing. 

By boldness, I’m talking about the willingness to “go for it” and drive your thing, your ideas across.

A good marketer should be able to sell their concept to people and get others on board. 

I argue that a marketer who doesn’t have this boldness, this drive, is not a creative marketer. 

Creative ideas without the boldness to follow through is just “intellectual creativity”. This type of creativity just sits on the shelf but doesn’t serve the world because it’s not represented, and so it rarely manifests in anything.

Now, before we get over-excited and boldly start executing all sorts of crazy shit, know this: unintelligent boldness has killed businesses (and people). It will break your boat if paired with stupidity, so caution is required. 

Boldness is a necessary component of a well-rounded, creative and skilled marketer, but so are analysis and strategic thinking.

Boldness in itself isn’t a virtue. It has to be present in addition to other skills and other components of creativity. 

Also, when you’re hiring for a company where steep growth isn’t expected, and all you need from marketing is to help smooth sailing: boldness is less important… until disruption happens in the marketplace and old things stop working. 

That’s when brave, bold leaders and marketers shine.

Have They Walked The Walk?

“oooh, that marketer has worked for Salesforce [or other huge tech brand]… let’s hire her!”

– startup/scale-up owner hiring a marketing leader

Are they making a mistake? Most likely.

The truth is, a marketing leader (or any leader for that matter) coming from a huge company is used to much larger budgets and different resources than what you are able to provide them at a growing, scaling tech company. 

Not just in terms of budget, but people, network, channels, brand awareness.

And if you don’t yet have a sizable marketing team, you’ll need people who can wear more than one marketing-hat.

Social and all things demand gen, website, working with agencies, doing product marketing all tend to land with the same person initially.

As your team grows, you’ll hire specialists and sort out the roles in marketing.

Look for people who have experience 1 or 2 levels above where your company currently stands. 

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