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Tips For Building & Leading A Marketing Team From A Hands-On CMO

ellie mirmanBuilding a marketing department from the ground up is difficult, especially one that can scale as the company grows. But it’s possible if you have the proper foundation — even if you’re the sole person on the marketing team.

Ellie Mirman, CMO of the market and competitive intelligence company Crayon, has a wealth of experience with building scrappy marketing teams from the ground up — all while working in the trenches to drive demand and engage prospects. During a presentation at HubSpot’s INBOUND 2019 conference in Boston, Mirman shared tips for building a quality marketing foundation that is positioned to scale.

1) Enable Yourself To Be Self-Sufficient

Being the sole marketer in a company can be daunting, but Mirman says that its vital to position yourself to be productive and efficient from the start. “You need to make it so that you are able to do the things that you need to do on a day-to-day basis,” she said.

Mirman suggests enabling oneself through:

  • Data: Get access to the data you need — website, leads, etc. — to make business decisions.
  • Website: Make it easy to create and publish marketing campaigns.
  • Personas: Get to know your customers, market and products first-hand.

2) Hire A ‘Swiss Army Knife’

As businesses grow, hiring specialists in certain parts of the marketing function will become vital to promoting continued innovation in those key areas. However, Mirman said that marketing generalists should be considered for primary first hires, as the CMO will need someone who will be able to fill all the gaps.

“It makes sense for that first hire is someone who is able to grow and fit into specific roles in the future,” Mirman said.

She added that a “Swiss Army Knife” hire is:

  • An analytical problem solver;
  • Adaptable and curious;
  • Driven by results and growth;
  • A practiced content creator;
  • A great culture fit for the organization; and
  • A leader who can take the initiative.

3) Build The Marketing Plan

Mirman noted that, when building out the marketing foundation, it’s important to determine short- and long-term priorities. Prioritize the short-term as you need to ensure the company makes it to the long-term goals.

“Especially in startups, so many of us are in constant battles to drive results today, while also building something out for the future,” Mirman said. “Balancing those short- and long-term priorities so you’re constantly building on what you have is vital.”

For the short-term, Mirman suggests to:

  • Start with a marketing audit to understand your funnel, lessons learned from past marketing initiatives and the resources that are available to you.
  • Focus on learning your buyer personas, generating leads and building brand awareness.
  • Place your initial bets on the content topics, channels and tactics that will best help you reach short-term goals. This includes investing in short-term plays (e.g. PPC advertising, event sponsorships, etc.) and long-term plays (e.g. content marketing, social reach building, etc.) to buy time for your team to achieve its long-term goals.

Are you a hands-on CMO? Share your experience building a marketing foundation at your company by leaving a comment below or starting a conversation on Twitter!

Brian Anderson

An avid B2B journalist with a knack for all things trendy in the POS, mobile and social space.