Recently, I shared my plans for how we’re looking to scale marketing at The Alliance. This time round I’m going into more detail on the specific roles we’re looking to fill. Until fairly recently my hiring priorities (as I’m sure was the case with many CMOs) have been based on the company’s needs during the pandemic. With a lot of the world moving into a “post-pandemic world”, I know many of my CMO peers might be struggling to identify what roles to prioritize.
I’m sure yours have too, so read on to see what our priorities are, how they might affect marketing team structures, and why. I’m aiming to give you some guidance if you’re uncertain about where to take your team next.
First up, let’s take a look at some context.
Considerations when hiring right now
The job market
I’m sure you all know this, but it’s worth repeating: the job market has been unpredictable (to say the least) throughout and after Covid.
For us personally, it was difficult to recruit for the first 6 months of 2022. Despite the talk around the Great Resignation, we actually found the talent pool to be quite reduced. It was super tough to find people with the right skill sets, experience, and culture fit. For context, it took us approximately 9 months of dedicated effort to recruit a Content Manager that was right for us.
Have priorities changed?
Chances are, your priorities might have changed quite a lot from the pre-COVID world to now. But you also need to acknowledge that your potential employees’ priorities might have changed.
I don’t believe our hiring priorities are any different post-pandemic than they would have been before the pandemic in terms of the roles and skills we’re bringing in. Probably the biggest change is the prevalence of remote teams. The majority of people and teams I manage are remote, which means I need to find the right types of people.
I’m a huge believer in the benefits of remote working (and work remotely myself), but in order for everything to run smoothly, you have to have total trust in the marketing team members you’re bringing on board to be able to also work effectively.
Remote working isn’t for everyone. Some people like the appeal of working remotely on paper, but when it comes to living it 5 days a week, they can find it isolating. When it comes to hiring, we have to ensure remote workers have the right expectations. The last thing we want to do is bring someone on board, only for them to leave several months down the line as they’ve struggled to stay motivated.
For management roles, a key consideration is ensuring they have the experience and enthusiasm to drive a remote team (that could be quite junior and in need of coaching) forward and ensure there’s that great balance of the flexibility of working remotely, but also the social connection and communication of working in-person.
So with that information in mind, let’s take a look at the roles we’re prioritizing and why.
Top priority marketing hires
Head of Education Marketing
The education arm of The Alliance is obviously huge - our flagship community, Product Marketing Alliance alone has a huge presence, and we’re actively rolling out that framework and success across the rest of The Alliance's portfolio.
We’re also expanding how we deliver that education. We started with just OnDemand PMMC Core, which has a combination of live elements and self-guided learning delivered online. In January of 2022, we started rolling out our Fellowship Programs, which are hybrid learning experiences, and in September we’ll be running our first live and in-person courses and workshops.
And that’s just the courses! We’re also rolling out membership plans across multiple new communities (most recently Customer Marketing Alliance, Developer Marketing Alliance, and Revenue Marketing Alliance) and have plans to expand these further with our other communities, some of which might not be able to follow similar patterns due their different target markets, such as for this community, or our community aimed at CFOs, Finance Alliance.
In order to reach our goals with all these new courses and membership plans, we need an experienced Head of Education Marketing to manage our dedicated education marketing team (currently 4 people strong) full-time. They’ll be able to really grow and refine our marketing strategy in this area.
B2B Marketing Executive
The Education Marketing role is more dedicated to self-serve education sales/marketing on an individual basis, but team and enterprise education is a (relatively) new area for us with huge potential. We’re already working with companies like TikTok, Intuit, and Salesforce, but this area is still largely untapped. We’re yet to run any active inbound marketing campaigns around this area of the business - purely due to lack of resources.
This hire will enable us to actively and intentionally drive more inbound leads, and also work more closely with sales on some awesome ABM and demand gen strategies.
Marketing Manager, Community Brands
Community is obviously huge for us (I might as well plug the CMO Alliance community here, so sign up today!) but, ironically, we’ve never had a marketing team focused around growing this area of the business - it’s all been largely organic.
Our Community Marketing Manager will oversee these key responsibilities:
- Delivering leads for our partners
- Growing our free Slack communities
- Growing our email subscriber base
- And ultimately, growing each community’s brand awareness as a whole, by making more noise around the awesome resources we produce (blogs, reports, podcasts, and more!) and really making all that value-adding, top-of-funnel content work harder for us.
This will be a key hire for us. They’ll ensure that while we have a focus on revenue, we’re still providing value for free in the right places, and bringing more and more people into our communities and target audience.
Head of Social & PR
Our current social channels are currently doing a great job growing organically (particularly LinkedIn). But it’s time to take them to the next level, and for that we need someone solely focused on growing these platforms that have proved incredibly powerful for us.
Up until now, we haven’t had a person to do this, and we need someone who has the time, skills, and experience to not just grow our main platforms, but also develop our strategies for platforms we haven’t focussed on in a major way. We could be doing more on Facebook and Twitter, and there’s plenty of potential in expanding our presence on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube.
So hiring a proper Head of Social is a no-brainer for us and will enable us to expedite our growth on these channels, and turn social into a tangible lead-gen and revenue driver for us.
The plan is to also ladder PR into this role too. We dabble in PR at the moment, but nothing too serious at all, and we want to really double down on this in the coming months. We’ve got plenty we should be sharing more widely:
- new communities we’re launching,
- products launching,
- brands we’re working with,
- the impact we’re having on the L&D space,
- the stats we’re revealing in our reports,
- and more!
There’s so much we could be putting out there to build the brand and get our name out beyond our current circles, and this is a very untapped channel right now.
Senior Marketing Operations
Since moving up to the CMO role in January 2022, there’s been an insane amount of changes in the marketing department - and plenty of gaps to plug. With lots of new processes and missing data dashboards, it has been (and continues to be) a major overhaul and reset to ensure we’ve got all the data touchpoints we need, and, equally importantly, that they’re easily accessible.
For myself and others working across all 14 brands in The Alliance portfolio, getting a quick snapshot of what’s going on right now is not easy, so we need an experienced MarOps to come in and build the dashboards, and maintain them so that we’ve got total confidence in the accuracy of data we’re using to make decisions.
This person will also be key in ensuring that moving forwards, everything is set up right from the get-go. One reason the last 9 months have been such an uphill climb is due to lots of critical data not being collected historically (a prime example being eCommerce tracking in GA).
They’ll also be a key role in our data acquisition and warming workflows, which is obviously a critical foundation for our marketing efforts.
After 9 months of active hiring, we’ve finally found the right Content Manager, who started with us in September! But we need another…
We’re a very content-driven company and whenever we’re launching a new community the first hire we make is a copywriter. As such, the content team is by far the biggest team in the company (19 at the time of writing).
Content is hugely important to us in terms of adding value, building trust, illustrating our authority, and building lasting, sticky relationships with our visitors and community members. We do a great job of this and the next step of our content mission is ensuring we’re monetizing our content.
We also want to confidently and clearly attribute conversions from the content journeys for our users, and to really take a hard look at how and where we distribute our content (and everything in between!). Clearly, a lot goes into this, and we need two Content Managers working in tandem on such a broad-reaching project.
As well, of course, just managing our fantastic content team to ensure we’re constantly improving, evolving, and optimizing everything we create.
Our customers and community members are at the very heart of what we do, but there’s a huge opportunity when it comes to maximizing our existing customers. Not only do we have opportunities in terms of cross and up-selling within existing communities, but also cross-selling across the different communities too.
There are so many overlaps with many of our communities that it makes perfect sense to leverage them more effectively. Whether it’s existing customers expanding into other communities, or existing customers looping in and referring their colleagues into our other communities, this opportunity from both sides is huge and massively exciting.
Up until now, the mission-critical role of product manager has been filled by… me! With all my responsibilities as CMO, particularly as The Alliance grows, this is obviously not sustainable. We want to bring in someone to focus on this full-time so that we can a) ensure our existing membership products are consistently delivering the right value to the right people, and b) improve our plans in line with what our customers are asking for and maintain that competitive advantage.
As well as consolidating and maintaining our plans, this role will also be key in enabling us to establish membership plans in communities that currently don’t have a paid membership presence (like this one - watch this space!).
Not only is this a brand new role, but also the start of a brand new function, which we’ll inevitably need to grow in 2023.
Partner Marketing Manager
If you’ve noticed any trend in the hires I’ve discussed above, it’s probably that we need people to properly explore currently untapped opportunities. Another huge and currently untapped opportunity is partners.
We currently maintain good relationships with short-term sponsors, but we don’t currently have any long-standing relationships with media partners. We want to build a portfolio of global partners for all our communities that we can leverage year-round for all areas of the business to really enable us to tap into new audiences and build our brand and pipeline outside of the existing audience we’ve already built from the ground up.
Phew, as you can see that’s quite a list! And those are just our absolute top priorities: we’re also expanding our product marketing team, along with bringing in a Head of Digital Design & UX (thankfully those roles have been filled and will be starting with us very soon). And of course, as the company grows and develops, we’ll need to keep expanding our existing departments to keep pace.
Hopefully, this overview of roles will give you an idea of what we’re prioritizing, which could help you get an idea of what you should be looking for in marketing teams in a post-pandemic world.
Know any great people who might be right for these roles? Hit me up on LinkedIn!
What are your priority hiring roles right now? Any roles you're really struggling to fill? Join the conversation with a global network of CMOs and marketing leaders on the CMO Alliance Community Slack channel!