3 Signs It’s Time to Hire a Marketing Leader and How To Do It

The right marketing executive can transform your business. But is now the right time to invest in marketing leadership?

The industry is full of undifferentiated brands saying the same thing in the same way. To stand out, you need leaders who have the vision, experience and drive to make it happen.

How You Know It’s Time For A Head of Marketing

Whether you’re looking for a chief marketing officer (CMO), vice president (VP) or director of marketing, it’s a big decision. This person has the potential to impact your business in significant ways. If some or all of the following scenarios apply to you, the time to hire a leader is now.

The C-suite is spread too thin. During the early stages of a business, it’s common for the CEO to perform marketing responsibilities. But as a company grows, they may no longer have the bandwidth. Hiring a marketing executive can remove pressure from the CEO so they can focus on other revenue-driving activities.

You need a strategic voice. In some cases, companies have a more junior marketing team in place who is excellent at tactical execution. However, what’s missing is a strategic voice to advise and guide high-level initiatives.

You need someone to develop a strategic marketing plan that aligns with business objectives and manage cross-functionally across departments.

You’re in growth mode. What got your company to where you are today might not be enough to get you where you want to go tomorrow. Whether that means expanding into new markets or growth through acquisitions, a senior marketing leader plays a crucial role.

As you grow and offer new products or services, you may also need a leader to build a differentiated go-to-market strategy — one that connects with new audiences in new ways.

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How To Hire The Right Marketing Leader

Recognizing you need a senior marketing leader is the easy part, but finding the right person is often more challenging.

Define your must-haves. Gather key stakeholders across your organization and list the skills, experience, values and other qualifications that are most important. Ensure the required skills match the level of the position you want to fill. In this way, you set realistic expectations and, in some cases, leave room for growth.

Don’t attach undue weight and significance to aspects of a candidate’s background that are irrelevant to their job performance. An Ivy League education, a postgraduate degree and an impressive interview are great, but tangible skills and positive personality traits are often better indicators of whether a candidate is a good fit.

Look for someone who knows how to build and lead a team. Consider whether you expect the marketing team to grow over time. If so, the person you hire should have experience identifying great talent, overseeing others and building a collaborative team.

While your first reaction may be to look for a leader outside your organization, analyze your internal team to determine if the right candidate works for you already.

Leverage your network. You might be surprised by how many referrals your current network can supply. Start by leveraging the connections you and your hiring team have — but don’t stop there. Tap into non-traditional talent networks as well to cast a broader, more diverse net.

Connect with partners that specialize in finding and placing senior marketing leaders. The right partner will have a strong reservoir of available talent and a pulse on who is available.

Prioritize the candidate experience. Finally, give candidates a seamless experience. Be clear from the beginning about what the hiring process looks like. Be responsive to questions and don’t leave them hanging. Long lapses in communication could signal to candidates that you’re not interested or have moved on — or give them a glimpse into what to expect if they joined your organization.

The Right Leader Takes You to the Next Level

Finding and hiring the right marketing leader can — and should — elevate your organization. And the good news is, there’s never a bad time to take your marketing to the next level.

Even in uncertain economic times, a solid marketing strategy led by an effective leader can help you weather the storm and position you for success on the other side.

Lesly Cardec

Lesly Cardec
Lesly Cardec is senior VP, recruiting and marketing, at ClearEdge Marketing.

Lesly Cardec

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