What are some key traits that should be included in a job description for a very effective startup marketer?


Barbra Gago 

Barbra Gago is the VP of Marketing at Greenhouse. Barbra is a strategic marketing director with 8+ years experience using digital and social technology to build brands, loyalty, drive online acquisition and revenue for SaaS start-ups and global technology brands.

This question was originally asked on Quora.

We recently did a session for How-to Hire Growth Marketers as well for the Women in Growth group.  The session was broken up into Sourcing and Interviewing; Fasil Al-Khalidi wrote up a great recap with a bunch of insights on Medium: Grow, Grow, Grow Your Growth Team — Women in Growth Event [Recap].

In terms of the job description (there are also tips in that recap), is this something you are writing to help you identify the right types of candidates (or asses the right traits, for example) or is this something you are using to attract and convert marketing candidates? 

One is internal facing, the other is external; they aren't the same. Often companies use the 'job description' as their job posting, when really, your 'job description' should be your internal map you use to build a plan around where to source the candidate, what traits you are looking for, and how you will asses candidates against those traits.

A 'job ad' should be what you use to attract and convert the right types of candidates. Your job ad should be optimized for search (and A/B tested). It should also sound human and have short, simple, to-the-point sentences. You should be transparent about the culture and the job. 

In a customer support specialist role at Meetup, for example, they say in their intro paragraph, "Associate Community Specialists respond to mountains of emails and take plenty of phone calls." They aren't trying to sugar coat it, but they are being light-hearted which gives a peak into their culture while being transparent about the reality of the role.

In terms of key traits or attributes, I think for a startup marketers it's a little more important to be a generalist, because as you scale and grow your team, you start to hire in 'experts' for specific programs; search marketing, demand gen, operations, etc. 

In the beginning, it's ideal to have generalists that can focus on adding short-term value to the sales team while building for longer term growth. 

You'll be needing a lot of content when you're just getting your marketing started from blog posts, to sales collateral, demo scripts and eBooks. Finding someone that is a strong writer and communicator is critical for earlier stage companies (maybe more so for B2B). 

Some people [on Quora] have already noted a handful of really good attributes, a couple others I might add are:

Adaptability is a key trait considering the rate at which startups can move, and how quickly the environment, business model, or team can change. You'll need to assess for how they cope with change. 

Collaboration (collaborative) is another key trait area that's important for a startup stage marketer. At this point in the company's growth, a lot of the content and expertise lies with the founders or product people. To get the most out of your marketing efforts early, you need to get as many people as possible involved in marketing initiatives. Finding someone who can collaborate cross-functionally and has a keen desire to understand other parts of the organization is huge.

A 'High Ceiling' at early stages, or any stage for that matter you really want to make sure you are bringing on people that have a high ceiling - they have a strong aptitude to learn new things and a keen desire to learn, test, and are naturally curious about how things work. 

Image courtesy of The Next Web.

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