Interview with MKT1: Growing marketing in 2021. Hiring Outsourcing and More

MKT1 is a strategic marketing company that does more than marketing. It was founded by Emily Kramer, Kathleen Estreich and Kathleen Estreich. We mentioned it last time that MKT1 offers many services, including marketing consultancy and organization of recruiting as well mentoring workshops and angel syndicate investment.

On July 20, the founders joined TechCrunch’s Managing Editor Danny Crichton on Twitter Spaces to discuss growth marketing. Some new views were offered by the founders, such as thinking about growth marketing as an engine, and all of the marketing sub-divisions that make up it, as fuel.

We discussed what was happening in marketing and opened up the floor to a Q&A. The founders used this opportunity to get advice on when it is best to hire marketers or outsource.

Here is a short excerpt taken from Twitter Spaces, which has been edited to be more concise and clear.

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What does growth marketing mean?

Emily KramerThe easiest way I can think of marketing is that it consists of fuel and engines. Content marketing, product marketing and events are all fuel. Building that engine is everything from creating marketing operations and tracking to make sure you get all the information out, through email, advertising, SEO, and what your site does with it. These are all things you do to help your audience move through your funnel.

Marketing is both a fuel and an engine. Content marketing, product marketing and comms are all fuel.

This is not about getting people to sign up, or getting qualified leads to go to sales. This includes supporting customer success and product teams. Marketing is anything that communicates with your audience one-to-many. Particularly, growth marketing — It’s a complete funnel. The engine is ever-changing.

Marketing has 5,000 names, which includes growth marketing. It is often called “demand gen” in high-ranking sales departments. However, I think of it as subsets of growth marketing that focuses on driving sales leads. This is how I see it. Each marketer that you speak to will define it differently.

How will the future landscape for growth marketing change in 2021? Are you seeing summer 2021 as a change?

KramerTwo major changes are underway. The first is to think about the role of community in this process, or at minimum use “community” when referring to things that are done as they have been. The buzzword “Community-led Growth” is a popular one. It basically means that people are getting in touch to create growth. Another phrase is “product-ledgrowth”, which is just another way of describing self-serve.

Over the last 10 years, it has become a common trend to have growth marketers that can work with product-growth roles and teams. Now, product-led development is the name we use to describe all this. Even their functions are rebranded by marketers.

Kathleen Estreich:Many companies have begun to consider growth marketing sooner. Many companies are starting to think about how they will hire their first marketer. It was once that you would hire Series A marketers, but with all of the recent funding rounds, many seed-stage companies now think about growing earlier.

Growth marketers’ skills are highly sought after. It’s a need that has been there for a long time, and it seems very acute at the moment. We are starting to notice a need for these people, as many companies have started to raise money sooner and try to build traction quicker to increase their valuations. Almost every company that we spoke to wanted to hire, and was thinking of growth tools they could use earlier.

Is there an excess of people? Is there an oversupply of people? What’s the current demand? Is there anything that’s not being used today?

Estreich:Marketers are generally in high demand. Particularly, product marketing has proven to be very interesting. There are many people in product marketing positions. This is because there are often startups that have had product marketing experience. It’s important to find someone with product marketing experience, not only from large companies.

Product marketing in a bigger organization is tied very closely to the product line. You’re not just doing product marketing. You need to understand distribution if you are a young company. We encourage companies to employ what we refer to as a “pi-shaped marketer”: A person who is both knowledgeable and skilled in two aspects of marketing.

It’s usually product marketing or growth marketing. Finding that person in any market is very difficult. It’s not an easy job, especially in this particular market. If you are able to find the right person you may have to compromise on the skill or experience of the individual you bring in. However, if you are able to find someone who is proficient in growth and product marketing, that will be a huge benefit for many companies in their early stages of building marketing departments.

KramerA couple of startup founders I have spoken to in the recent weeks and they said, “Oh, our community marketer will be our first marketer.” This role is constantly evolving. When I first started startup marketing 10 years ago, the term “community” meant social media. It doesn’t anymore. It is difficult to find people who have held that role in the past.

Sometimes, people use the term community marketing to mean that they have done lots of content or virtual events, and/or customer success. It’s almost like a square peg and round hole situation. Sometimes I see mismatches between the roles posted and what talent is available.

Based on this, my advice for marketers is to really read the job description and possibly the title. Does it reflect what you have done or what you believe you should do? Perhaps there is an opportunity to educate and define the roles of early-stage businesses.

Is it a good moment to work with a growth marketing professional?

Estreich:We are often asked the question, “When is it the right time for me to hire my first marketer?” Emily and I tell founders that the founding team is the best marketing team. Your early positioning and messaging is a big part of your business. This is usually the first vision, and that’s how you probably raised funds. It is important to look at it from a different perspective and to ask “Okay, What are our needs?” Think about the product-market match.

A product marketer, growth marketing specialist or pi-shaped manager is the best person to bring on. Before you send your first marketer, make sure you have the product ready for market. If not, it might be worth waiting to get the product in front of some customers. Then it’s time to think about the first marketer.

The first marketer is often a combination of either a product marketer who has growth experience, or a growth marketing professional with product marketing experience. Like Emily mentioned at the start of the call: Someone who has some experience in your company’s business model. They are ready to do a lot, test a lot, and does a lot.

You want to ensure that your senior employees are not unwilling to take on the job. You’re not prepared for them to be a part of a team. It’s important to ensure they are not too senior and don’t know how to start. It is important to find that balance.

KramerA product marketer is able to help you identify the best niche. You should already have customers. An alternative way of describing product marketers would be to call them audience marketers. They are trying to figure out how you can communicate your message to specific audiences. They’ll help you explore other options within your company. Do we need to stay in this particular niche? Which audience is it? Do we talk to customers? “What are they saying?”

These people are responsible for analyzing your audience, as well as helping to test and grow new audiences. This is a crucial part of product marketing. It can also be risky to hire that person too soon, at the cost of product development and getting products out there.

Are there any emerging trends in MKT1’s B2B or growth stage businesses regarding the ratio between outsourcing marketing tasks and hiring FTEs?

KramerI believe founders thought early on that they didn’t have to hire a marketing professional. While I spend so much time marketing, I don’t have to hire one. I can hire an agency or contractor for content. You end up having all these contractors. Contractors, even the most skilled, can only be successful if they have someone to review their work and clear instructions. You can’t keep up with all the clients you work with because you have so many.

Because of the constant back-and forth, managing a contractor agency can sometimes be just as difficult as working on your own. Marketing is often more involved than other business areas. This is especially true when you are trying to define your brand. It’s going to take a lot of work.

There are some areas that contractors and agencies are more effective to hire. Paid searches is one of these areas. For a short time, you won’t have to employ an SEM expert. It is certainly a niche. The world of SEM is constantly changing and it can be difficult to know what is working. It’s really useful to have someone with an understanding of AdWords and who is also a regular user. No matter how big my marketing department is, I have always had an agency to assist me. I have always had an agency to supplement my search team even though I had one. This is something that you will always require. As you grow, you may need multiple agencies to accomplish different tasks.

It makes sense to have a content team that can augment your product marketers or content managers. Before you hire a freelancer to create content, it is important to understand what you want to talk about and what you are trying to convey. You’ll end up with nothing if that’s what you want.

Paid search and content are always good options. As you grow, there will be exceptions depending upon your business type. PR, however, is another area that media relations can help you. TechCrunch may have more information. Media relationships can really make economies of scale. It makes sense to have an agency with a wealth of experience in media and a network of contacts. This is important because it will help you later. You need to have someone in place who can manage PR, paid search and content. Otherwise, it could become worse than useful.

Publiated at Wed 28 July 2021, 20:05:03 (+0000).

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