Why startup CEOs shouldn’t get too involved in marketing?

Why startup CEOs shouldn’t get too involved in marketing?

Running a start-up is a tough job, and the man in-charge i.e. the CEO or startup-founder is required to juggle multiple roles in order to keep the venture afloat. Right from envisioning a great product / service to hiring people who’re capable of transforming an idea into a marketable product – CEOs do it all.

A CEO’s involvement in critical areas of business like product development, recruitment, and operations is essential. In fact, most successful startups are led by CEOs who had the grit to single-handedly manage all major business functions. However, there is one business function which should be #1 on startup CEO’s priority list, but should not be handled by the CEO himself / herself. And, that is marketing.

Here are 2 reasons why startup CEOs shouldn’t get too involved in marketing

1. Expertise and experience don’t come from reading blogs

In a blog post titled A startup CEO primer for scaling marketing, Joel York the founder of Markodojo states that “Startup CEOs are notoriously bird-brained when it comes to marketing.” Although I don’t agree with York, I do feel that startup CEOs lack appreciation for the marketing function. They believe that putting their heart and soul into building a great product and a little bit of DIY marketing effort will help them reach the stars.

Given the abundance of information that’s available online, it doesn’t take long for a CEO to grasp the concepts of marketing and put together a strategy. For instance, most people know that posting useful and non-promotional content on social media is a very good way of generating leads. However, creating such content requires expertise which is acquired through years of practice.

Reading about marketing makes you aware of various approaches and best practices that have helped other businesses to succeed. The knowledge acquired from reading blogs will not help you write a winning copy, build landing pages, put-out worthwhile blog posts, write emails to re-engage leads or drive social interactions. Executing a 360 degree digital marketing strategy requires the expertise to create content, work with marketing tools, dig-out insights from data and more.

2. Marketing guzzles-up CEO’s time

From the perspective of a startup, there is one big difference between marketing and other business functions. Marketing requires full-time effort while other functions like recruitment, payroll, finance and administration can be managed without spending a lot of time.

I know CEOs who reserve Friday’s for recruitment, designate first 3 days of a month for payroll, keep-aside a Saturday or two for finance and so on. Such arrangement enables them to manage essential business functions by devoting just 30% of their time, so a majority of the time can be spent on creating a market ready product or service.

Marketing is engrossing work, because it requires consistent effort across multiple fronts. You need to get a website up, create engaging content to drive social interactions, manage ads across multiple platforms, determine the effectiveness of marketing efforts and rework the strategy to get better results. So when startup CEO’s take-up marketing, they really have no time for anything else.

How can startup CEOs manage marketing without getting too involved?

Marketing is the most important business function for any organization and especially for startups, so it should be a top ranking priority. Here’s what startup CEOs can do to ensure that marketing is done right.

Initiate marketing at right time

Keeping marketing on hold until the product is almost ready for release is a common mistake committed by most startup founders. Ideally, marketing should start at least 6 months prior to when the product is ready for the market. This ensures that your product comes out at a time when your website has started attracting decent traffic and you have an eager audience waiting to try-out your offering.

Set objectives and define strategy

Startup CEO should play an active role in setting marketing objectives and defining the marketing strategy, however the responsibility of executing the marketing strategy should be delegated to a professional marketer. This arrangement allows the CEO to align marketing outcome with other business objectives.

Hire professionals early-on

Hiring marketing professionals during the initiation phase of a startup is essential, because it gives marketers the opportunity to understand the business, identify industry trends and collect information about competitors.

It isn’t easy to acquiring marketing talent for a startup, the challenge is to identify a candidate who can build a marketing program from scratch and deliver results within months of starting. If hiring a marketing talent is not a worthwhile option, startup CEOs can consider outsourcing the marketing function to an agency.

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Huzefa is a digital marketer at CopyCrunch. He specializes in creating inbound marketing for small businesses and startups.

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