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Hiring Startup Talent in Marketing

From: Peter C.
Sent on: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 12:59 AM

collected by Peter, Organizer, Silicon Valley Entrepreneur Meetups 12/20/10

Startup Founder: One of the first functions you?ll need on your Team ? especially when you?re getting close to completing development - is Marketing. You may have never hired someone before, and probably not a Marketing person. Here?s some guidance as to how to have the highest probability, you?re picking the right person.

A. Defining what you need. Research to determine: Target Market, Total market, trends; Competition (advantages/dis-advantages), how you?re different, Pricing, Promotion, Distribution Strategy (channels), Costs of marketing, Financial Projections.

B. Getting Advice: Assuming you have no or little Marketing experience, get at least 1 & preferably 3, Marketing Specialists (from friends or your network), to review your Marketing Plan and make recommendations. Then, you?ll be able to know if you defined what you need adequately and need a full-time Specialist that you hire or part-time Consultant or Agency.

C. Qualifying Candidates from Resumes (Consultants from their Info)

1. Worked at Previous Startups, that succeeded? (Stay away from people who have worked mostly at large corporations)

2. Previous Small Biz Experience? If someone?s worked at a small business, it?s a fairly good indicator that they?re used to working in small teams and having more responsibility, more roles.

3. Personal Projects Look for things like ?open-source? work, or personal projects of relevance to your company and/or industry. You?re looking for people who are dedicated to trying new things, learning, getting out of their comfort zone and working hard.

4. Foreign Experience. People?s experience in foreign countries and different cultures is always interesting. It adds a different dimension to their worldview, that can be very valuable for a startup. Broad, international experience is a potentially valuable component to a startup hire.

5. Network Savvy & Presence. Hopefully they?re blogging, because that?s a great source of information. You can also learn a lot about someone from Twitter. You might read their last ?tweets? to understand their thinking. LinkedIn & Social Media are also good sources of intelligence on this person.

6. A few years Experience, so they know what they?re doing and how to get good results. Ideally, what you?re really looking for are, people who have been with their current employer for at least 2-3 years. It?s around that timeframe when a lot of people start looking for new opportunities, or at least are ready to be approached.

7. Internet Experience: proven success in Search Engine tactics (ie, optimization), Click-through Advertising, Writing content for the Web, designing for ?use-ability?, developing affiliations with other complementary Web sites, and Ad Tracking to measure the success of Campaigns Online. Ideally, experience in both Online & Offline Marketing (ie, seminars, press releases, print advertising, direct response, events & trade shows).

8. Content Creator of Web pages, Brochures, etc. Has their own Website.

9. Founder Aspirations. You want people with high ambitions that genuinely eventually want to run their own startups. They?re going to appreciate the experience of working at a Startup a lot more.

D. Candidate Preparation.

Once you?ve decided to bring them in for an interview, ask them to:

1. Research the Competition and determine how they?re better and how you?re better.

2. Look at your Website and draft a Marketing Plan of what they would do.

3. Agree with your Target Market or come up with their own and what the size of the market is.

4. Bring Samples of work: Brochures, Web-site, past Marketing Plans, etc.

E. Interview Questions

Let them present their Marketing Plan & Samples, then ask:

Q1. How have you helped make your previous Startups successful? Target Market, Approach, Cost of Sales, Results, etc.

Q2. What experience do you have in Public Relations? (ie, getting out the word to no & low cost sources) How could you squeeze the most bang out of the buck?

Q3. Give me some examples of your: a) successful efforts in On & Off-line Marketing, including b) Tracking Sales to determine the most effective ways.

Q4. How do you find out what your key Customers really want? How do you share that with the rest of your Target Market?

Q5. Tell me about some of the ideas that you got from Customers.

Q6. Tell me about some of your ?best? Customers, worse.

Q7. Can you tell me about a campaign that failed & how you recovered?

Q8. Why do you think our product/service is so good?

F. General Qualifications:
1.Are they good communicators?
2. Enthusiastic about the opportunity?
3. Will they fit into your culture?

Contact [address removed], Organizer, & -1720 +
5 Star Startup Services (408)[masked] if you need help with your Startup.

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