Hockeystick Your Startup Growth with an Interim CMO

interim CMO executive search

Four of five startups fail within a year and a half. And without great marketing, yours will probably be one of them.

Great marketing alone can’t promise your success. But poor marketing can all but guarantee failure. No amount of great ideas, exceptional service or innovative products will ensure your success on their own.

Breakdown of failure rate by industry

If you can’t get yourself in front of the right audience and catch their interest, your startup is doomed to fail. That’s why it can pay off big to bring in supreme marketing firepower in the form of a highly skilled and experienced marketing executive to ensure you start building momentum right away.

Hiring Above and Beyond Your Long Term Need

When first entering the market, many startups look to hire someone appropriate for a small business, with experience and salary to match. But these individuals are often unprepared for the demands of a startup or lack the ability necessary to help you break through the noise and start building market share.

That’s why you’re often better off jumpstarting your marketing under the leadership of a veteran marketing executive or growth hacker that has encountered all the challenges startups face multiple times and knows how to efficiently work through them.

The Advantage of Interim Marketing Executives


By overhiring incredible marketing talent early on for a designated period, you can build a foundation for sustained success.

Exceptional marketing leadership talent is hard to come by and isn’t cheap. Most startups can’t justify hiring top-tier executives until their revenues have increased accordingly. But you probably won’t get that kind of revenue without great marketing.

An interim marketing executive search offers a way out of this chicken-or-egg conundrum. By over-hiring incredible marketing talent early on for a designated period, you can build a foundation for sustained success. The veteran presence and extreme marketing competence will be invaluable in growing your business and establishing a position in the marketplace.

Once you’ve begun gathering momentum and have your marketing infrastructure in place, you can replace your interim executive with a longer-term individual who is more appropriate for your size and budget.

You get improved probability of success without the sustained salary obligation of hiring a full-time all-star.

Addressing a Perennial Problem

An inability to reach audiences, communicate value, and market strategically is one of startups’ most common problems.

Starting a business doesn’t work like the Field of Dreams. As much as James Earl Jones might like you to think otherwise, building something special doesn’t guarantee “they will come.”

Clip from Field of Dreams

Man I love that movie.

Hockey Stick, Not Hockey Puck

interim CMO executive search

Most startups (and their investors) hope for explosive growth after a short time in the market. But most end up hitting a plateau after modest growth and are never able to get to that breakthrough point that leads to consistent profitability. Even with a good product and a dedicated team, they simply lack the know-how to draw attention and compel consumers.

That’s not unexpected, and it doesn’t reflect poorly on the company’s leaders. The truth is, marketing is hard, and in today’s crowded and noisy media environment it’s never been more difficult to stand out and make your voice heard. That’s why, until you’ve established your business and found a marketing strategy that will sustain your growth, it’s important to have someone on your side with a long, proven track record of success.

From Launch to Replacement

A qualified marketing executive has the capability to improve your startup’s success throughout the months or years you work with them. Here are just a few of the essential ways they can help you build a powerful marketing engine.

  • Ensure a strong product launch or business opening that generates as much attention as possible.
  • Establish a strong web presence and effective digital properties.
  • Collect the marketing tools and talent you need for an effective marketing team.
  • Choose a successor that will carry on the momentum they started.
  • Identify which media and strategies make the most of your ad budget.

Your Interim CMO Executive Search

Not many people, even experienced marketing executives, have the kind of ability necessary to help build a startup’s marketing from the ground up. Interim marketing leaders are hard to come by to begin with, and the good ones have no problem finding consistent employment. How do you find the talent your startup needs to succeed?

First consider partnering with a marketing executive search firm that has experience with supplying growth hacker consulting and interim marketing executive search services to startups. An agency that has worked with startups before will know the kind of talent you need and know how to find it even in times of short supply.

You can also leverage your professional network to see if any of your connections have experience with an interim marketing executive search. They may be able to put you in touch with a good candidate. Networks and organizations for small businesses and startups could also be a good resource to consult.

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