For many venture-backed startups, building a marketing team is not the first thing a Founder plans, but some Founders do, and we've worked with plenty of them!
Why build a marketing team so early on?
Why after Series A? Shouldn't the budget go towards product management that will ensure the engineering team is scaling the product and delivering value to customers and users? Well, it depends on who you talk to.
Our experience building tech startups for 20+ years has taught us that Founders and CEOs whose personal career trajectories have come from the business side of tech are more likely to budget marketing as foundational hires to their organization.
A real example: in 2020, we were retained by a Founder to build their leadership team. The company's first hires were a CRO, CPO, and CMO. At the time, the company was only a 13-person organization, yet marketing was a role that the Founder felt was critical for their success.
What marketing roles should I hire for?
Glad you asked. There is a lot to consider:
- Marketing is a big function with many pieces (content/SEO, demand gen, social, paid social, ABM… the list goes on). You don’t need everything immediately, but you’ll need the foundations.
- Then there are the big decisions around tech stacks.
- And then, there are decisions around which functions should be brought internally vs. outsourced.
- Finally, there's the budget. What are you willing, or able, to spend to achieve the outcomes you need?
For the majority of fintech startups, they focus on hiring within two key areas: demand generation and content. These two roles are generally considered the foundation to get what a startup needs – leads.
It is also important to note that these first hires will often be more junior in leadership and jill-of-all-trades. For example, in larger companies, when looking to hire a Content Manager, they will look for someone to uphold the brand, design the content strategy and manage the team of writers, SEO specialists, designers, etc. Series A fintech, on the other hand, will need one hire who can do it all - strategy to execution on a much smaller scale and budget.
However, if the Series A was a very cash-rich raise and a Founder can hire someone more seasoned, they often will. If this is your situation, look for a leader who can build out content and demand gen through a mix of internal hires, agencies, and contracts as well as be able (and willing) to get their hands dirty. Before starting to interview, review our top 5 Head of Marketing traits to find the right leader for your company.
If you’re struggling with the idea of hiring a marketer after your Series A, stay tuned and follow us on Medium. Next week we are interviewing Jenna Kellner (a revenue-focused Marketing & Growth Leader with experience in FinTech, Edtech, Enterprise, SMB, D2C, Marketplace, and SaaS ). She will offer practical advice and hiring best practices when deciding to hire and roll out a marketing function.