Today’s post is from Healy Jones. I met Healy years ago when we were both working as VC’s and now he is a VP of Marketing at an education technology startup. Keep reading if you want to learn about what skills were most important in his career transition and the interview question he asks experienced marketers who want to join his startup. –John
You now are a marketer after spending most of your career in the finance and VC world. Aside
from the quantitative skills you picked up in your finance and VC roles, what other traits or skills enabled you to successfully make the transition to marketing?
The analytical mindset is definitely helpful for working in startup marketing, but beyond that I’d have to say:
- The ability to pick up the phone and call anyone: While working in finance I had to call a lot of people and ask for advice/help. Not being afraid to call someone important who I don’t know and ask a question or ask for help is really important. It’s also something I look for in people who I might work with – whether they are potential management team members or direct reports.
- The assumption that someone, somewhere, has automated a solution to a problem that I’m having: I often find that when I need a tool to help me complete a marketing task there is already a startup somewhere that is trying to solve my problem. You’d be surprised at how many of them are very open to providing a free trial or service in return for candid customer feedback.
If I’m an experienced marketer coming to interviewing with you for a marketing role and I’ve no previous startup experience, what kinds of questions will you ask me? What can I do to make you more comfortable with my lack of startup experience?
Bigger companies sometimes lack metric driven, intellectually rigorous numerical analysis of marketing programs. My biggest fear would be that someone coming from a big company’s marketing department has never had to track their results. I’d recommend that anyone looking to transition to marketing in a data driven startup have examples of successful marketing campaigns based on metrics – dollars and effort in, and revenue and customers out.
I also think that writing is a skill that every marketing person should have. Content is really king these days, and not just for SEO purposes. All modern marketers should have a blog with some short form and long form content, regardless of the topic.
Just prove that you can write about something that interests you!
What are a some ‘must read’ blogs or online resources you recommend to fellow startup marketers?
Twitter has become the front page of the internet for me these days; I’ve got lists of tech reporters, ed techies, and general interesting people who I follow everyday. I highly recommend checking out the blogs and Twitter feeds of David Crow, Ben Yoskovitz, Hitten Shah, David Cancel, Mark Suster, and Tom Tunguz.
I also think I do a good job of tweeting great marketing stuff I find, so you can follow me, Healy Jones, too if you want!