How to Hire the Right Senior Marketer for Your Startup

A look at how companies like Netflix and DoorDash make smart marketing decisions and how your startup can follow suit.

Written by Svetlana Stotskaya
Published on Nov. 09, 2023
How to Hire the Right Senior Marketer for Your Startup
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Startups can unlock a multitude of benefits by crafting a strategic marketing budget, including heightened advertising effectiveness, brand awareness and return on marketing spend, all while accelerating operational tempo.

But dealing with a laundry list of things to do to get your startup off the ground — with a finite amount of resources to do so — can be intimidating. How do you know what kind of senior marketer you should trust to get you the ultimate return on investment within your budget?

3 ways startups can optimize marketing ROI

  1. Hire your marketer based on the size of your budget and the stage of your startup.
  2. Use agile and digital marketing techniques to cut costs and reach a wide audience.
  3. Take a data-driven approach to make the most of your advertising campaigns.

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Hire Marketers Based on the Stage of Your Startup

One common misconception when startups recruit senior marketers is that they need to hire someone with experience handling huge budgets. When I browse through job postings for chief marketing officer or vice president of marketing positions in startups, I frequently encounter job advertisements featuring requirements such as, “Candidate must possess experience in managing large marketing budgets.”

While hiring marketers who have experience with large budgets may seem like a good idea at first, you have to think about what stage your startup is in. Right now, do you need someone who’s an expert at dealing with big budgets, or someone who is skilled in managing smaller budgets wisely?

It is not the size of the budget that determines triumph, but the expertise and ingenuity of those entrusted with its management.

Early stage startups lack the resources for a multimillion dollar Super Bowl ad campaign or to engage famous influencers to promote their brand campaigns. And faced with a limited marketing spend, the chief marketing officer whose achievements include launching a Super Bowl ad will probably face a dilemma about how to allocate a $10,000 marketing budget.

Instead, marketers who can achieve exceptional results with restricted means are the real MVPs for early-stage startups. These marketing virtuosos possess the ability to creatively leverage every dollar, stretching their resources to achieve remarkable outcomes. They understand that success depends on the strategic allocation of funds, meticulous planning and the cultivation of innovative marketing tactics. It is not the size of the budget that determines triumph, but rather the expertise and ingenuity of those entrusted with its management.

So, when hiring a marketer for your startup, start with stage and size: What stage is your startup in, and how big is your budget? Answering these questions will lead you to hiring the right senior marketer for your startup’s success.


Embrace Agile Marketing

In a startup environment, agile marketing is the key to excel. By following a flexible approach to advertising and other promotional endeavors, founders and marketers can quickly adapt to changing market dynamics. Testing, learning and optimizing promotional activities swiftly will help startups to maximize return on marketing investment and results within existing time and resource constraints. Digital marketing professionals who are open to experimentation can be valuable for fast-scaling startups.

Consumer startups can use the power of digital marketing channels, which provide cost-efficient opportunities to connect with their target audience. By embracing social media, content marketing and search engine optimization, startups can enhance their brand’s visibility and expand their audience reach.


How Netflix enhances its brand visibility

A company that has successfully used content marketing strategies to enhance its visibility and reach is Netflix. When it comes to social media, Netflix leverages platforms to connect with its audience and promote its content.

For instance, on Facebook, Netflix shares trailers and exclusive interviews, while engaging with users through comments and messages. On Instagram, it uses images and videos to showcase its upcoming movies. X (formerly Twitter) is another avenue where Netflix shares updates, creates conversations around popular shows and engages with users through comments, retweets and hashtags. And its official YouTube channel features trailers, behind-the-scenes videos and exclusive interviews to generate excitement. 

Netflix embraces agile marketing, adapting to the different functionalities of these channels to enhance its brand visibility and expand its audience reach.

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Harness a Data-Driven Approach

Startups must also establish analytics and measurement frameworks to monitor the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. By consistently analyzing data, they can identify areas for improvement and optimize their advertising campaigns. This iterative approach ensures that startups stay on top of their game and make the most out of their marketing initiatives.

By optimizing campaigns based on key performance indicators like customer acquisition cost and return on ad spend, startups can ensure that their marketing efforts reach a wide audience while maximizing their return on investment.


How DoorDash boosts user experience

Let’s look at the food delivery industry as an example. DoorDash, a San Francisco-based company that operates an online food ordering and food delivery platform, mastered the art of leveraging performance marketing and an in-depth understanding of consumer behavior within their app to drive growth and elevate user experience early on.  

Renowned for its meticulous approach to A/B testing, DoorDash analyzes user behavior within its app, extracting insights into customer preferences and tailoring their services accordingly. It continuously experiments with different elements of their app, such as user app features and promotional offers. By randomly dividing users into control and test groups, DoorDash can compare the performance of different variations and identify the ones that yield better outcomes.

By closely monitoring metrics such as order frequency and average order value, the app algorithms can provide personalized recommendations and targeted promotions. This data-driven approach empowers DoorDash to make informed decisions, optimizing the user experience and boosting conversion rates.

These tips merely scratch the surface of the flow of hiring marketers for startups, and founders must employ clever strategies to attract and retain marketing professionals. But by implementing these tips, founders can greatly increase their chances of making informed hiring decisions that will drive their startup towards success.

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