Three Reasons Startups Should Not Hire Marketing Experts
tl;dr: Hire a hardworking, versatile person instead.
I never understood before going into marketing, that nowadays everyone is a “great marketer.” At least that’s what everyone says. And that’s because unlike other professions like engineering, the barrier to entry is very, very low.
You are one 4-hour online course away from calling yourself an expert marketer. Download Robinhood, invest 10$ in Tesla, and add “investor” to your title too.
^ You don’t need these people either.
But that aside, I have had the pleasure to meet some fantastic marketers in the past few years. And I am talking, building companies that are worth millions right. However, whenever we either got them to join our startup or offer advice, somehow, they always got it wrong.
I had some time to think about it, and there is my explanation for that.
1. They overvalue their past experiences and successes
These people have built companies with a few things that worked for them. For one growth team, it was facebook ads, for another — cold outreach and so on. Accepting to work for another startup now, they all immediately went for the same thing that worked for their past venture. That meant spending thousands of dollars on facebook ads and “improving the funnel” when we did not get single signup from that channel.
Different business requires different channels/strategies. Being overly attached to either is terrible.
2. Being an expert in “X” means that they probably spent 99% of their time working only on X.
Let’s say that X = Facebook / Linkedin Ads. You get excited by their CPL projections and start pouring in the $$$. Midway through your campaign you’ve realized that your targeted audience isn’t hanging out there and then:
Now, you are left with a Facebook Ads expert that needs to do something else. This is bad because:
a) You are not using their expertise in the right way
b) They are not using their skills in the right way
This is a lose-lose scenario, and if you remember what the great Michael Scott taught us, we are going for the win-win-win.
3. Experts aren’t coachable
A big ego is the downfall of your marketing hire. Chances are that you won’t get your channels right the first time, and you’ll need to spend a lot of time testing (failing) until you get it right. Experts don’t have the time or the will to do that.
YikYak’s growth strategy was dressing up as a Yak mascot and playing beer pong with college students. Will an SEO expert do that? Probably not.
Now, as soon as you know and have figured out that a channel provides a good ROI for you, pedal to the metal. Hire the best expert out there and let your first marketing hire focus on exploring new channels.
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