Why You Should Hire a Consultant as Your First Growth Marketer




  • — November 19, 2017

    If you are a startup founder, hiring the right talent is among your top challenges. And when it comes to finding a growth marketer to help you build on the initial traction, the search can get overwhelming very fast. Faced with the constraints of time, money, and experience, many founders of early-stage startups rush through the process and make costly hiring mistakes.

    There is a better way. Hiring a growth marketing consultant, as opposed to a full-time hire, can be a highly effective option for startups at the beginning of their growth journey, and here is why.

    A growth marketing consultant provides flexibility

    A consultant is the most flexible option for hiring a growth marketer for an early-stage startup that allows you to ramp your growth efforts up and down as needed. And whereas with a growth marketing agency you are locked in via a long-term retainer, a consulting engagement is much more fluid.

    A growth marketing consultant option is also budget friendly. For one, if you are based in a tech hotbed like San Francisco, London, or Melbourne, you can contain your costs by hiring an expert outside your market.

    On the other hand, if you are looking for someone from your area, a high-quality growth marketing consultant won’t be much cheaper than a full-time hire when you compare the two on a monthly-basis equivalent. In this case, a consultant option allows you to work within your budget constraints.

    Instead of capping the hourly rate you can afford to pay and getting subpar talent, you can find the right expert, albeit more expensive, and adjust the scope of what you need to fit your budget.

    A growth marketing consultant can help validate the role

    Optimistic by nature, founders often fall into the trap of bringing on a full-time growth marketer too early. Hiring into a role that is unproven is a poor business decision.

    First, not every startup can scale or scale well. If you are not confident yours will, adding a large fixed cost to your budget can create a significant headwind.

    When you are thinking about a full-time hire, the math is simple: will the person help your business generate incrementally more revenue? Working with a freelance expert can help you justify your growth assumptions and validate investment into a full-time employee without getting ahead of yourself.

    And if you don’t have extensive prior experience with growth, a flexible solution can help you better understand the role and define the skillset required from a growth marketer, making your full-time search a lot more effective. Once you have validated the role and growth potential of your business, you can recruit someone for a full-time position.

    A growth marketing consultant can serve as an interim solution

    For a full-time growth marketer position, you want to hold out for an ideal candidate who has the right expertise and potential and shares your values and your mission.

    Even if yours is a well-funded startup, finding and convincing a great growth marketer to work with you full time is an uphill battle because so many other exciting companies are vying for that scarce talent.

    If you are a small company with unclear prospects, it’s hard to stand out and convince a growth marketer who is crushing it somewhere else that your opportunity is worth leaving for.

    An experienced consultant can viably serve as an interim Growth Marketer to fast-track your scaling process and help you build up a base of results and learnings from your experiments, making your opportunity more credible and compelling for a potential full-time hire.

    And while search for the right full-time growth marketer may take months, time to hire is much faster with the consultant option since you are able to choose from a larger pool and there is less risk in the hiring decision.

    The added benefit of the consultant approach is that the expert you work with may eventually turn into a permanent hire. Gina Gotthilf, VP of Growth at Duolingo, and Yuriy Timen, Head of Growth at Grammarly, are just two examples of growth marketing consultants who made the transition over to the client side once both parties saw a fit.

    Final thoughts

    If you are an early-stage startup looking to hire a growth marketer, you should seriously consider the advantages that outsourced talent offers. It’s a great option that helps startups avoid the risks and costs of a full-time hire and puts them in a stronger position for a full-time search.

    Growth marketing and growth hacking consultants are helping thousands of startups across the world achieve their growth objectives. With so many impostors trying to capitalize on the growth hacking hype, finding the right person will require some effort. But if you invest the time into hiring and managing them properly, you will see a multiplier effect on your business success.

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    Author: Igor Gorbatko

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