Community Article

How to hire a head of marketing to propel start-up growth

Foundations, expectations and behaviours of this role designed to propel start-up growth.

Senior or leadership marketing roles are some of the trickier ones to fill in a start-up because they require the human stepping into them to possess a blend of contrasting skill sets and behaviours. A Head of Marketing role is responsible for the creation, management and execution (at a high level) of marketing plans for a business. It is worth noting that we classify the activities, behaviours and skills that a Head of Marketing versus a Head of Growth Marketing brings to the table as vastly different. 

This usually involves working with a specific budget, ensuring effective ROI, managing junior marketing members of staff, and contributing to the business’ growth and financial goals. Within a start-up, it’s even more demanding due to the fast-paced nature of the business, the ambitious growth goals and reduced number of people in the team. 

Finding the candidate with the right experience to match the needs and culture of the business is always a challenge. In this article, Think & Grow Partner, Vicky Klonaridis, shares a few examples of foundations, expectations and behaviours of this role designed to propel start-up growth.

A jack of all trades, not master of none 

As highlighted earlier, a senior marketing role requires a wide and varied skill set in order to be successful at their job. While that may sound straightforward enough, marketing managers should have a wide variety of specialist skills to enable them to do their jobs effectively. The most desirable skills in this type of role include:

Creativity: there’s no denying that marketing is a creative field. Whether it’s getting the consumer’s attention at a bus stop, stopping the scroll with an Instagram ad or organising a panel event – marketing is responsible for selling in such a roundabout way that consumers don’t realise they’re being sold to. That requires out-of-the-box thinking. 

Analytically-minded: every single campaign, social media post and landing page needs to be learned from in order to keep progressing and improving. 

Strategic: marketing is responsible for building a number of strategies in order to achieve different goals (often simultaneously) including brand awareness, customer retention, customer acquisition and lead generation. 

Leadership: people management skills in a senior position is essential. In this role in particular, it involves nurturing the more junior members of the team in the ways of marketing for success. 

Resilience: not every marketing campaign goes to plan or delivers the results predicted. It’s up to the marketing team to re-group, assess, feedback, strategise and go again with a brand new idea. 

Determine the foundations, expectations and behaviours of the role 

When we work with clients to fill a senior marketing role, we listen to their needs and goals as a business. Together, we create and agree upon what’s expected of the person in the role and what they need to posses in terms of skills, experience and behaviours in order to propel the business forward and be a cultural fit within the team. This is to ensure each candidate we put forward to the client has the foundations that the business needs to fill with that role.

Example foundations for a Head of Marketing role  

  • Brand: The business is looking to embark on a period of rapid growth, leading to expansion plans later in the year. The brand must be delivered consistently across the business and to customers as it grows. 
  • Strategy: Content and PR are the predicted areas to develop the most growth via customer retention and acquisition strategies. The ability to create and execute successful marketing campaigns and strategies is essential to this role. 

Example expectations for a Head of Marketing role 

The role will be responsible for the entire brand and marketing function, including strategy, budgets and managing external agencies (SEO). They will also manage the junior members of the marketing team to produce social and CRM content. Key experience they need to be able to showcase include: 

  • Content strategy
  • Brand awareness & PR communications 
  • People management 

Example behaviours for a Head of Marketing role 

  • Finger on the pulse: A good marketer will have eyes and ears in the market and current knowledge of the industry, with the ability to turn what they find into creative marketing content and campaigns. 
  • Customer-obsessed: From customer journey mapping to feedback groups and social media engagement – this role has to be invested heavily in who the target customer is and how the product/service can fill a gap in their lives. 

A Senior Marketing Manager is a highly specialised career, the skills and expertise can require a high salary. On the flip side, an inexperienced marketing manager can end up costing your business money if you don’t see a healthy return on investment in your campaigns, so it’s important to hire depending on your company’s needs.

Need advice or help securing a leadership marketing role for your start-up? 

Get in touch at and let’s chat about how Think & Grow can support your search. 

ARTICLE by Vicky Klonaridis, Partner, 14 July 2024


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