Day One Strategy – Part 9

Welcome to the latest installment of the Day One Strategy series. This is a weekly blog series that will address how to start from scratch. Each week we’ll discuss a new topic and offers tips for the business that is taking their very first step. Last week’s topic was Signing a Marketing Agency.

Today’s Topic = Hiring a Marketer

The way you build your company matters. But there is no one-size-fits-all model. Some companies begin with a marketer as a key member of the founding team. But many do not. That’s who we want to focus on here, the companies that are out there looking to hire someone to manage their marketing.

Defining the Job

Before you start the process, you need to know exactly what you’re looking for. No two marketers have the same set of skills, so it’s important that you outline your goals for this position before you start looking or interviewing. Develop a job posting that is as specific as possible, including what tools you expect the person to know, how much experience they should have with different processes, what they will be held accountable for.

A well-crafted job ad should narrow the pool of potential candidates to those who can actually do the job. And it will be used by you, the hirer, later as a measuring stick for who fits the bill.

Conducting the Search

Use all of the tools and channels at your disposal. Online job boards, LinkedIn, employee referrals, and head hunters can all help you find the right person. If this is your first marketing hire, it will be important to find the right person. You don’t want to settle for the first decent person you find. Your goal should be to find as many qualified candidates as possible before you start narrowing them down during the interview process.

When candidates apply for the position, look for a clear demonstration of skills on their resume and in their application. Weed through the cookie-cutter cover letters and find the people that are truly passionate about this position. A good candidate can prove that to you in his or her application.


If your candidate pool is large, start with a brief phone interview to narrow it down. With some prepared questions, you will be able to find out who knows what they’re talking about and who is not telling the truth on their resume.

Bring the best people in to meet with you in person. Use the interview to get to know the person, remembering that it is important you can work with them day in and day out. Are they passionate about the business? Are they coachable? Can they demonstrate expertise in the areas you care about? How would they respond to real-life situations they are likely to encounter if hired?


When you narrow it down to your top two or three people and still can’t make a decision, it can be a good idea to test them. Offer them a real-life scenario and give them a chance to tell you how they would handle it. This gives you a sense of their work style and creativity, and can help the very best candidate shine.

Hiring and Managing

When you do find the right person and make them an offer, be sure to do two things right away. First, make sure everyone is on the same page as far as roles and responsibilities. This way the new hire knows exactly what is expected of them. Second, set a timeline for reviewing progress. By making it clear from the start what is expected and how you will judge performance, you give the relationship the best chance to succeed in the long run.

In the end, hiring the wrong marketer is a costly mistake, so you want to handle this process with care and find the person that is going to really help you grow your business.

Stay tuned next week for another installment. If you have a topic you would like to see covered in the Day One Strategy blog series, use the comments below or contact us today.

Qualities to Avoid in Marketing Hires

Yesterday, we examined 3 qualities you want in a new marketing hire. Today, we consider the opposite side of that equation.

There’s nothing worse for a manager than hiring the wrong person. It takes time and energy away from accomplishing your task. They eventually leave and you’re forced to start the search for a replacement from scratch.

If only there were surefire ways to avoid making the wrong decision. Well, there aren’t. Even the best companies make mistakes when it comes to hiring.

But there are toxic qualities that you can screen for in order to give yourself the best chance of making the right choice. When it comes down to several candidates and they all meet the skills and experience requirements set out in your job description, look out for these negative qualities:

  1. Overly critical of others – it comes naturally for some in an interview setting to throw their old boss, company, or coworkers under the bus. But when a candidate does this, it should be a red flag. This person may not be a team player. They may not be as agile or as adaptable as you need them to be. When things don’t go their way, will they go running for the hills?
  2. Short on details – it’s easy to look good on paper, but your candidates should be able to back it up in person. Ask them for specific ideas on how to solve common problems they’ll encounter with your company. Broad, overly vague answers signal someone who is overselling their experience on their resume.
  3. Focused on rewards/incentives – we all know the candidates who come in with one question right away, how much will I make? That’s a red flag in the interview process, especially when it happens early on. Steer clear of candidates who don’t first want to know how they can help you. They’re only in it for themselves.
  4. Unprepared – the best hires will be brand advocates for your company moving forward, and will likely show up to the first interview with lots of questions about how they will fit into the strategy going forward. That’s because they do the research, and they’re passionate about the company’s future success. Beware the candidate who has done very little homework and has no questions for you. They’re just looking for any job they can get.

The US Department of Labor estimates the cost of a bad hire at about 30% of the person’s first year salary. Don’t get sucked into the trap.

Qualities to Look for in Marketing Hires

Looking to hire someone for your marketing team?

When the time comes to bring someone on board, the first thing you must do is decide what role they will fill. What will their daily responsibilities be? What company goals will they be responsible for helping to attain?

Once you know the answers to those questions, you can start to draw up your list of skills and requirements. After you list the opening and you start getting applicants, chances are you will get a number of candidates that meet the requirements you are looking for.

So how do you determine which of them to bring on board?

Here are 3 qualities to look for in your final choice:

  1. Problem solver – marketers need to solve problems. That means that they need to be analytical in nature, able to identify and research potential problems standing in the way of your company’s success. And it also means they need to have the creative skills necessary to work out all the possible solutions to said problem and act on the one that makes the most sense.
  2. Leadership – it may be difficult to identify who will make a great leader during the interview process, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. A leader is someone who works well with others, who can clearly communicate goals and objectives, who isn’t willing to admit mistakes, and who acknowledges the achievements of others. These leaders will be critical to your team moving forward.
  3. Entrepreneurial – entrepreneurs will own their role at the company, and will help you create the kind of culture where people are passionate about their work. Entrepreneurs are able to self-manage, freeing you up to focus on your own responsibilities. And entrepreneurs will come to you with ideas that you haven’t thought of, even if they fall outside the scope of the person’s direct responsibilities.

Making the right hiring decisions saves you time and money, and can help take your company to the next level. Don’t get too bogged down in the details on someone’s resume and miss out on the high-level character traits that make for a great employee.

Building Your Marketing Portfolio

Many of those inhabiting marketing positions don’t often think that they need a portfolio of work. We are businessmen and women, taught that we need a resume, a LinkedIn page, and a strong professional network. These are the tools that we can use to establish our credentials and work to climb the ranks in our professional lives.

On the other hand, portfolios are the “resumes” of the art world. Designers need them. Photographers, developers, and architects need them. But not marketers. Right?

Wrong. While a marketer’s portfolio may not resemble exactly the artist’s portfolio, it is becoming more and more crucial for marketers to maintain a record of their work in an easily-presentable format.

And a personal website is the perfect tool for that. Whether you use blog posts or articles, slideshows, images, videos, pages, or all of the above, this kind of presentation will help set you apart from other marketers in an increasingly competitive field.

What belongs in the marketer’s portfolio?

  • Major projects – any large scale projects that you were a part of. Break down the strategy – what problem you were attempting to solve and how. And share the results.
  • Examples of leadership – did you take the lead on any project or team? Did you manage any staff?
  • Personal and professional accomplishments – awards, recognition, certifications.
  • Work samples – will vary from person to person, but should include presentations developed, writing samples, screenshots of campaigns, etc.
  • References
  • Contact information

The portfolio, a living collection of your life’s work, available online, is the single best tool you have to reach your professional goals. It is available for all to see, and can be included both in your LinkedIn profile and your physical resume. Potential employers can view it themselves, or you can walk them through it during the interview process.

Best of luck!

How to Measure Your Personal Value

What do you do when you are looking for a new job or completing a performance review at work to sell yourself? Do you talk about projects you’ve accomplished? Do you talk about what other people your age or title are making?

The key to getting the job, raise, or promotion you want is selling your value.

So how do you properly measure your value?

  • As a marketer, how do your efforts contribute to the revenue of the company? How do the things you work on directly or indirectly bring in customers, sales, subscriptions, etc.?
  • What salaries are being offered to people with similar talents and roles to you?
  • How much institutional knowledge do you have and how hard would it be to replace you with a new hire?
  • How many personal contacts do you bring with you when you join a new company or leave your existing one?
  • How well liked are you by other members of your team and organization as a whole?

The answers to all of these questions and more will impact your value to any company. The key is to come up with an overall estimate.

And after you do, think about it from the point of the view of the hiring manager or person determining whether or not you get that raise or promotion you’re after. Is it easy for them to see that value in you? What are their alternatives? How can you sell yourself to them?

The answers to those questions will help you determine the best approach. Go into an interview or performance review meeting with a clear goal in mind, and create a detailed process to sell yourself and achieve that goal.