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How to Identify the Right Time to Hire a Startup CMO

Ty Anderson

As the founder of a startup, you have a lot of decisions ahead of you. These decisions will help shape how your company develops and grows for years to come. Hiring a Chief Marketing Officer is one of these decisions. When is the right time? How should you go about it?

Let's explore the perfect time to hire a Startup CMO.

How to Identify the Right Time to Hire a Startup CMO

1. Competition Is Brutal

If you're working in a saturated industry, you have to differentiate fast. Outsmart and outmaneuver. You're running a business while at the same time, you're managing the labor-intensive tasks associated with constantly analyzing and adapting in a competitive environment.

That will run even the most passionate and organized entrepreneur into the ground.

Are you relying on lower level marketing directors to run the show in a competitive industry? You'll quickly find they are in over their heads in terms of skill, experience and innovation. If you're spread too thin or you've reached capacity, your startup will begin to feel the effects if it isn't already. Any growth you may have experienced early on often comes to a standstill. It's the right time to hire a startup CMO.

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2. Your Startup Story Isn't Connecting

A great storyteller can turn any narrative, no matter how basic, into a compelling story. As a startup, your story matters. People relate to, and get behind, a story and the people involved. It becomes a key critical piece to your brand, or at least it should. Just saying you're good at what you do or that you provide great customer care is no longer enough.

A great storyteller cannot only develop your story, they can distribute it in an effective and consistent way through design, images, videos, copy and more and answer questions like, "Why did you decide to do this? What matters to you? What have you gone through to get here? How did your past shape who you or your business is today?" Furthermore, how is what you do impacting customers? They're part of your story too.

If you're having trouble telling a compelling story, then it's the right time to hire a Startup CMO.

How to Know when to hire a startup CMO

3. You've Got the Data & Don't Know How to Use It

Ronald Coase, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics once famously said, “Torture the data, and it will confess to anything.”

A founder who's trying to do it all by themselves often knows how to set up the right software and systems to collect the data. But knowing exactly what direction to go after reviewing that data may be a different story.

Data can send you down a very wrong path when misinterpreted, costing you millions. A startup CMO lives for data. They eat and sleep analytics, strategy and execution.

If you're swimming in data and feeling unsure how to use it, it's time to hire a Startup CMO. And for the record, you can be swimming in data before you even begin formal operations.

4. You're Working with a Big Budget

You've just secured funding for your startup. How you spend these funds will determine your performance and set the stage for long-term growth.

Misspending that marketing budget on ineffectual strategies will deliver little ROI. You'll be headed back to investors and giving up more equity, just to stay afloat. Big budgets don't necessarily equate to big successes and neither does having huge marketing budget doesn't guarantee success if you don't spend wisely.

A smart startup CMO knows how to best allocate funds. They can maximize your returns. You'll be making yourself and your investors money faster with a CMO to manage a large budget.

Data can send you down a very wrong path when misinterpreted, costing you millions. A startup CMO lives for data. They eat and sleep analytics, strategy and execution. Click to Tweet!

5. You Want to Reach Profitability Faster

Spend money to make money. It's a cliche. But you know the truth of it as a startup founder. You also understand that your marketing budget is an investment not an expense like utilities. Getting the right startup CMO in place at the right time will give your marketing clear direction from the start.

Are you arbitrarily just running ads on Google AdWords or Yelp? Are you just hoping those sky-high customer acquisition costs will somehow balance out in the end?

If you don't have solid long-term, sustainable and consistently implemented strategies in place from the "start" in startup, it takes much longer to see a return on your investments.

How to Know When to Hire a Startup CMO

6. You Like to Do It Right from the Start

And finally, if you like to do things right from the start, then the right time to hire a startup CMO is in the beginning. Avoid costly mistakes.

Go to market with a strong message and the experience to build your brand from the ground up.

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When to Hire a Startup CMO

If you're reading this article, chances are now is the right time to hire a startup CMO. Start getting better results and growing your business with the right talent at your side. We can help. Contact us! 

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