Why You Shouldn’t Hire a “Head of Marketing”


By Robert Pease, CMO Practice Lead – Heinz Marketing


People can make or break the success of a company so having the right people in the right roles is a strategic imperative.

Clearly defined roles and responsibilities for any job help align the employee’s activities with business objectives and set that person up for success.  In situations where there is a new company forming or team being built, ambiguity can rule the day and general areas of responsibility are assigned.

This happens often in startups as the relative strengths and weaknesses of the founding team drive the need for bringing on additional talent.  An open position I have seen more than a few times recently is for a “Head of Marketing.”

This is not about debating the need for the marketing function in an early stage company. I believe that it is crucial to get the company properly positioned and begin building a sales pipeline to support the business plan.

This is about being explicit for what role you are seeking to fill and what type of person needs to be in it.  Having a broad description like “Head of Marketing” signals lack of clarity around what the role needs to do and its place in the business.

If you need a junior level person to own the tactical execution of core activities, then specify that.  If you need an experienced, senior level leader to drive market awareness and pipeline performance then specify that.

If you don’t know, then take a step back and think about your organization and staffing needs.  Casting a wide net with a broad job title to see what kinds of people you can attract and using the interview process to refine the job description is not a good use of time. How can you find what you are looking for if you don’t know what it looks like?

Get the most out of your marketing investment by being clear about expectations and responsibilities before you start the hiring process.