3 Reasons Why Your Marketing Hire Possibly Didn’t Work Out
Updated: Aug 17
We are increasingly approached by tech companies that have had a “bad” marketing experience to help unpick why it didn’t work out. While every situation is different there are some common themes that emerge.
1. Nobody knows what they don’t know
Very often marketing is the last hire on the team. The company has got along very nicely selling to the “low hanging fruit” - customers that are ready to buy and savvy to your product offering. But you’ve hit a bit of a sales wall and your advisers are telling you to; “hire a marketer, fast”.
However, there is a very big gap between the kind of marketing experience you need and the experience you can afford. So you go for the seemingly low risk option; someone with a few years experience and a go-get-it attitude.
But then you strike a wall of another kind.
Your marketing hire is unlikely to have had to deal with building a global go-to-market strategy for a product with all the inherent complexities put up by most of our tech companies. They don’t know, what they don’t know.
They look to you for guidance and input; but you don’t know the answers to the questions they’re asking, either - that’s why you employed them. Without someone to interpret for both of you - the business requirements and the marketing strategy - the circular conversations get more and more frustrating.
Very often this results in a lot of tactical activity being done without a whole lot of strategic direction; website upgrades, social media pages established, email marketing campaigns sent but without any real shifting of the needle.
The outcome: the marketer starts to get defensive as they are genuinely doing their best and quite often there is absolutely nothing wrong with what the work they’re doing - it just isn’t working. You and your team are getting frustrated because you’re seeing a lot of money going out the door and no real results. More “lose:lose” than “win:win”.
2. Marketing needs fuel to function
Which gets to the next point. In setting a marketing budget the focus often is on the cost of the marketing resource. While many marketers come with a bag of talents including writing, design, production, social media management etc., none of us can do it all. In order to get the work you need doing completed there does need to be marketing spend on external suppliers, tools and delivery channels to get the results you need.
The amount of fuel (budget) available will directly impact the speed at which your marketing engine can go and the distance your single marketing resource can take you. Some care also needs to be taken in identifying what you’re coding to marketing - somewhere between 20-50% of what is typically identified as marketing expenses, actually aren’t (that’s a whole new blog topic in itself). Check out the NZ Market Measures survey for some real-world guidance on what companies like yours are spending on sales and marketing.
What this means is that, “all this money we’re throwing away on marketing” could well be a lot less than you think and the reality is you actually got exceptional outputs for what you really spent.
Which leads me to my next point.
3. Hiring marketers vs miracle workers
All too often what companies are asking a marketer to achieve is more in the realms of miracle working than marketing. When we drill down into what happens when an engagement hasn’t worked out, the response is often: “nice person and seemed to know what they’re doing but we spent a lot of money and after twelve months nothing has happened”.
But when you start to drill down a bit further you discover that it takes somewhere between 12 - 24 months from being aware of the product to becoming a customer. So expecting to see a significant rise in leads converting to sales from a standing start, in twelve months, would take some incredible luck - if not an outright miracle.
Any marketing or communications work you are going to do is going to take some months to kick-in to the point where you’re going to see a significant increase in growth. What that timeline looks like, how you should be tracking against it and the tools you need to do this aren’t skills that are easily acquired.
You need to have done it a few times to start predicting what should happen and to pick up when something isn’t tracking to expectation and understand what to try to correct it. We’ve found most tech company CEOs do listen when a marketing team can explain “without fluff” what is happening and what they’re doing to correct it.
But if you are fledgling tech marketer trying to figure all of this out as you go, without anyone in the company having the skills and knowledge to support you - there is more sinking than swimming going on.
There has to be a better way
We believe Proxi’s combination of putting a seasoned virtual Chief marketing Officer (CMO) inside your business to dig the foundations and prime the role internally, followed by recruiting and mentoring someone into it, addresses most of the issues above. We call it the Proxi Way. If you’ve been thinking there has to be a better way - we think we’ve found it - and we are happy to talk to you about building a great marketing resource inside your business.