We’ve always been asked by investors and entrepreneurs – if we knew any good marketers for them to hire. More often than not, we would refer a few profiles, but these candidates are beyond reach as they are usually too expensive. Our recommendation is to take a balanced approach – hire some, and train some. It takes time to create your very own superstar team. It’s never easy.

Hire a hungry CMO, pay well, and place trust in that person

First thing’s first, you need to hunt for a good Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Experienced CMOs don’t come cheap, but it can be more expensive for your business if your marketing team screws up.

Traits to look for in a good CMO? We always recommend entrepreneurs and friends who consult with us to hire straight shooters. A good CMO is like an expert surgeon – accurate identification of problems, and an expert problem solver. If your CMO loves the limelight, you may want to think twice.

Many CMOs who love the stage also put their personal brand first, before the company’s. Watch out for such people.

All the good CMOs we know and have worked with, are comfortable working behind the scenes, pulling the strings, and helping their company hitting target KPIs. Finally, if you don’t trust your CMO candidate, don’t hire the person in the first place.

Junior candidates from reputable startups can complete your team

Another advise we tend to give is to look out for junior candidates from other reputable startups. Not only are they within your realm of affordability, they are hungry and possess sufficient knowledge to help you execute your company’s growth plans.

Infact, many early Rocket Internet and Uber employees have been headhunted to fill higher level roles in competitor companies – and it is tempting to make the jump to a managerial position, so it mostly works. Higher pay and higher position, why not?

To some, these “junior candidates” may not be the polished diamond they were looking for, but our experience tells us their experience on best practices is undeniably valuable to you and your startup.

KPIs are not top-down

Finally, what differentiates a superstar team from a mediocre team (many corporate setups out there are) is the team’s ability to facilitate growth of your company – which includes shared decisions on deliverables (or KPIs).

Internet age marketing focuses more on data, and continuous testing – less on marketing ideas.

Too often, we hear startup founders who have zero idea on how marketing and user growth works – firing away on their expected results and growth figures. This is where they fail to grasp the reality. Marketers should not be magicians, but rather shrewed number crunchers, spewing out growth numbers based on solid, verifiable data.

If management expects a superstar marketing team, start treating them like one.


Overall, it does not take rocket science to build an effective marketing team. Clear goals, and communication can go a long way in improving your team’s effectiveness. More importantly, experience can mean the difference between your company burning tonnes of marketing dollars and going down the drain – or to the moon! So, try not to stinge when paying.

The choice is yours finally – but at Momentum Works, we treat our marketers as superstars.

Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at [email protected].


Previous articleezbuy raises US$17.6m – what happens next?
Next articleAfrica the next China – Is it an overstatement?
He has worn many hats in the past - selling advertising space, banking services, and even trading stocks. In 2013, longing for a change of scenery, he joined Rocket Internet’s (now Alibaba’s) Lazada as a online marketer in Bangkok, where he experienced first hand life in a startup. He never looked back since - landing lead roles at Rocket’s EasyTaxi (Singapore), Rocket’s MEIG (Dubai), and Bamilo (Tehran). After that, he launched (and ran) the Thai venture for one of Singapore’s biggest cross-border ecommerce. Last year, Chong put his expertise to work, helping an SGX-listed company relocate to and run operations in Thailand. Nowadays, he’s just chilling by the countryside.