Office Hours: I’m the CMO at Crunchbase and have 17 years of experience leading teams across the full marketing funnel. I’m Shanee Ben-Zur. AMA!Featured

Hi Elphas!

I’m Shanee Ben-Zur, the Chief Marketing and Growth Officer at Crunchbase.

I’m a customer-obsessed marketing leader with 17 years of experience leading teams across the full marketing and product growth funnel including brand, comms, user acquisition, demand generation, product marketing, lifecycle marketing, and customer retention.

I’ve worked with B2C and B2B brands like Dropbox, PlayStation, NVIDIA, and, and now Crunchbase.

I loved getting the chance to experience the differences between working at a big monolithic brand vs smaller startups. Learning strategic nuances between product led growth and sales-led growth. And even realizing how similar customers are regardless of whether they’re buying business products or personal consumer goods.

After having seen the inner workings of so many different types of companies, I’ve realized that my passion lies in growing teams that help product-led growth businesses scale revenue, achieve product-market fit, and nurture their customer relationships.

Ask me anything about building brands, go-to-market strategies, self service vs direct sales, driving revenue growth, acquiring VC funding, or anything else!

Thanks so much for joining us @shaneebenzur!Elphas – please ask @shaneebenzur your questions before Friday, March 25th. @shaneebenzur may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
Thanks for having me! I loved reading everyone’s questions. Hope my answers were helpful!
Thank you @shaneebenzur for being here! We need to hire our first VP of Marketing (we're a Series A B2B) and we're struggling to find someone who can get in the weeds and craft strategy simultaneously. Where should we look for this talent, what should we include in our JD, anything else that can help?
Recruiting in marketing can be pretty painful. Job titles are so all over the place and responsibilities vary wildly from company to company even within the same job title. I’d recommend getting specific on what outcomes you’re looking for this person to own and be a little less prescriptive about what tactical experience they must have. For example: are you looking for a leader who can own a revenue or pipeline quota? Or are you looking for someone who can increase market awareness? Rather than, someone who is good at content marketing. Content marketing is a tactic, brand awareness is an outcome. Your marketer needs to be willing to own the kpi and see that their success is contingent on hitting that target. This means thinking deeply about where you are as a company and the most urgent needs you have for marketing. This will also help narrow down the profile of marketer you’re looking for. For early stage marketing leaders I recommend looking for two potential things:Option 1: Midlevel marketer looking for their big break. This is someone who is currently a player coach. Maybe manages a small subteam on marketing. Is not a head of marketing yet. They are hungry to take on more responsibility but aren’t so far removed from execution that they’re not able get their hands dirty. The only downside here is that you have to be comfortable with growing pains as this person finds their footing. Maybe they’ll make a couple of bad hires. Maybe they’ll have some confidence issues. But nothing you can’t overcome. Option 2: seasoned leaders who like building. There are some people (like me) who find the formation of a team is just as exciting than scaling a team. And they understand that to start this means acting as both a channel owner and a strategist. The problem is, there aren’t many people in this camp. Typically, once a marketer has gotten to the point in their career where they own strategy, they don’t like going back to execution. The other thing to keep in mind is that it’s really time consuming to own both strategy and execution so inevitably you will be stronger in one than the other. If I were you, at series a, I would do the following:- index on execution vs strategy (you need to get stuff done. You can always optimize and hire a more senior person later if you find you’re not getting what you need)- index on potential vs experience. Meaning, avoid trying to find a seasoned leader. I mean you can try. But you’ll have better luck hiring if you take someone with a more junior job title and giving them an opportunity to step up between jobs. - find someone who is passionate about your audience and your product. In these early stages you’re going to need someone who believes strongly enough in you to weather some ups and downs. If they don’t care they won’t be resilient. - look for an all around athlete vs a specialist. When first building a team at smaller companies you’re better off with a person who is comfortable owning lots of disparate parts of marketing and is ok being ok but not great at them. Specialists tend to bias towards their comfort zone which could limit your company from hitting their goals. You want someone who is willing to try anything it takes to help you achieve PMF and start scaling. In the job description I would be specific about the KPIs this person would own, the need for flexibility and willingness to test and learn, and someone who is comfortable jumping from strategy to execution. In terms of titles it’s a bit dependent on what your biz biggest needs from marketing are. But, I think looking for people with senior manager levels is good as they’re hungriest to get to director and often that transition is difficult to achieve within a company so you’ll find they’re more willing to jump ship. Almost every ambitious marketer dreams of the opportunity to become a head of marketing but it’s hard to do because you usually come up within a specific function and people don’t want to take a chance on you as an owner of multiple functions. If you as a hiring manager are willing to take on that risk, you will find many marketers eager for the chance to prove themselves.
Great to see you on Elpha @shaneebenzur, so much of your introduction resonates with me. I'm very interested in understanding your perspective on the following: - What similarities have you discovered between customers of business products/services and personal consumer goods? - As a sales leader in the consumer electronics technology industry, I've found marketing and sales are often in different silo's creating a disconnect from each other when they should be collaborating on strategies throughout the marketing funnel and customer purchasing funnel. Has this been your experience as well? Have you encountered teams that are aligned and are able to successfully achieve alliance? PS I am a fan girl of DropBox and Crunchbase both fantastic products.
Great to see you as well! I feel you on the marketing / sales disconnect. I have some theories on what drives that and what could mitigate it. I feel extremely lucky as we are quite aligned at Crunchbase, so I'll share some of the reasons I think we achieved that partnership:1. Create a shared view of the sales funnel. Too often the dashbaords markeing uses are diff that the dash sales uses. That's a recipe for disaster.2. Meet regularly to assess the achievement of key conversion rates. For example: Are MQLs turning into accepted leads, but those leads aren't turning into appointments? why? Start at revenue and work backwards. What is our win rate? what's impacting that? What's our pipe gen at? What's affecting that? What's our SAL or SQA rate? and then what is MQL rate? The reason I like to go backwards is that we build our forecasts using a ton of assumptions at each stage of the funnel. Rather than being religious about each stage, it's best to see if you're hitting your ARR target and then observe the changes/shifts within the funnel and use that to improve future forecasting.3. Be objective. One place I see relationships fizzle is during the finger pointing and blame game. Things will go wrong. I think the senior leaders on the team need to instill a sense of humility within their own team to first ask the question "how am I contributing to this?" this also means that managers need to not create a feeling of blame as well. If you stress your team out they're going to look for a scape goat, and the easiest scape goat is the partner team. The way to resolve this further is through good analytics. Are we not getting appointments because the MQLs don't match the ICP? Or is it because SDR nurture emails aren't optimized? Because time to engage is too slow? It's best to dig into a problem before guessing the cause.4. Top-down belief in operating as equals. Starting with the CRO and CMO there must be mutual respect and belief that our two teams are symbiotic. Sales can't exist without marketing and marketing can't exist without sales (in sales-led orgs). Whenever a "class" difference is perceived it breeds resentment. Better to go at it as one team, one dream!
Hi Shanee! Thank you for doing this AMA! Reflecting on your career, what were your best moves/decisions that helped you get into a high-level leadership position at a tech company? I'm in my mid-30s and trying to learn more about how to best "chart my career path" to keep from getting stagnant and continue to grow--both in skills and in title. Would love to hear your advice on what you think you did that was beneficial to your journey, as well as what you would not recommend. (For example, ways you worked cross-functionally at an org., when you knew it was time to pursue new opportunities, etc.)Thank you for your insights!Emily
Love this question. In fact I wrote a blog post about it recently: is the cliff's notes:1. 📣 Create visibility for your accomplishments and expertise: Work doesn't speak for itself. You must speak for your work.2. 🎯 Create visibility for your career goals and expectations: Bosses are terrible mind readers. Tell them what you want. If they can't support you, consider changing jobs.3. ⏱ Protect your time and prioritize career-advancing work: Keep an eye out for "invisible" work that takes up your time and keeps you from your goals. 4. 💪 Stop second-guessing yourself: You are skilled, insightful, and talented. Don't let your inner critic keep you from sharing your gifts with the world. 5.🪑 Build up a support network of women: It takes a village. Find your village.
I'm a super early-stage health tech founder, still validating the product with a prototype. The objective is to get early customers and attract a team. I'm in a field where it is difficult to just go "talk to users" because target users (therapists and physicians) are busy. How important is engaging in marketing at this stage? Mostly, I see that it is a matter of improving the founder's personal branding at this stage. I have an online marketing background so I've begun social presence with the aim of doing early users outreach.Another reason I think marketing is important is that my product is going to be B2C (patients need to be able to use it) and B2B (Doctors need to use it).How would you approach this problem from a marketing standpoint for a resource-strapped founder?
I wouldn't start heavily marketing a product until you have strong product-market fit. And, I think that means that you will need to get in front of those therapists and physicans. You'll need it for feedback on the product, and to learn what they find the most compelling. Their feedback will shape what your positioning and messaging should look like. Other things that Marketing could help with at this stage: - company website. Simple informational landing pages for those people who are interesting in considering your product. - positioning and messaging- target ICP refinement- customer stories- organic user acquisition (i.e. joining forums, online groups to tease out prospects)
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your expertise!My heart is equally split between love of sales and love of marketing so I serve as a Collaboration Consultant, but will be studying your LinkedIn profile like a HAWK 🦅!Would love your thoughts on 1) what does customer obsessed marketing look like and mean to you?2) what are your thoughts on scaling past 70 million ARR without a true content plan?3) any thoughts on getting a Sales team on board with growing by way of collaborations or B2B micro-influencer efforts such as company leaders going on podcast tour so they get in front of ideal buyers and/or referral partners and raise brand awareness/ deepen the trusted advisor role or hosting a guest series with prospective buyers or referral partners? 4) In your opinion, would an effort like this be more loved by Product Marketing or a Demand Gen focused team?
I’ll try to tackle these the best I can before my fingers cramp up:1) it means looking at everything from the user’s perspective rather than the company perspective. What do they get out of it vs what do you want from them. That spans all the way from branding to the product development to the way you sell. It’s easier to not be customer centric, and sometimes it’s less expensive too. But, I believe that companies that make the investment get payoff in terms of loyalty and LTV. 2) it’s totally dependent on the product the GTM motion and the target customers. Content marketing is great but it might not be necessary for every single company. I try to be agnostic about channels and instead approach revenue growth from the perspective of being curious about testing until I strike oil. Maybe it’s content marketing. Maybe it’s influencer marketing. Maybe it’s paid media. Maybe it’s free trials. Maybe it’s all of the above. What I know content can do though is be a brand re enforcer. It might not be a major revenue driver but it could be something that helps people have more recognition and appreciation for your brand which helps with preference va competitors. 3. I think there are a few common objections I hear about these type of micro influencer opportunities:A) i don’t know if it’s worth my timeB) I’m not comfortable being a public speaker/ company repC) I don’t have time Depending on what objections you’re coming up against, the solutions may be different. IMO a spokesperson has to:Have time, see the value for themselves personally and the company, and want to participate. If they are a no on any of the above you’re probably going to feel like you’re dragging them against their will. I think the best way to help your case is to put together some research or a brief presentation to quantify the value of their participation. Try to find hard metrics then create visibility into exactly how much time they personally need to spend and what support you will provide them. And if they’re fearful or not interested even after you show how it’ll raise their personal brand, help the company, and they’ll get hand holding support…it’s probably best to move on to another tactic. I am a big fan of not swimming up stream. If they’re not a willing participant you’re going to have a really hard time finding success. If the spooked person is on board but the sales team doesn’t think you’ll get good leads then build a smaller experiment and get their buy in on simply testing the tactic. Agree on success metrics and give it a try. Do that before going all in. 4) apologies but i didn’t quite understand this last qHope this is helpful!
@shaneebenzur wow, wow, and wow! You absolutely have a book in you, use this response to start! Seriously if I can be a resource to you related to anything barter-based Collab or Partnership related, please let me know.
Hi Shanee! Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge. 💜I'm curious to hear you expand on the points you brought up!1. From your experience, what were the strategic nuances you learned about between product- and sales-led growth? Why were these lessons so valuable to you? To the companies you've worked with?2. What were common themes you noticed between B2B and B2C customers?3. While developing GTM strategies, what similarities with respect to Sales, Marketing, Support, pricing, and success metrics did you notice between B2B and B2C products? What about major differences?
Hi Tiffany! Each of these are really big questions that I might not be able to answer fully here--I could probably fill a book--so I'll take a crack at a couple summarized answers.IMO product led growth is the future. Just as automation has disrupted every consumer industry, automation is bound to disrupt the way we sell. The fact that there are still products in the world that require you to speak to a human being is kind of funny to me. Even car buying doesn't require a salesperson anymore with the advent of companies like Shift and Carvana. You just go online, pick a car, it gets driven to your door as easy as buying clothes online. Automation is what customers want. Fast, painless, and simple. Why wouldn't I want to research, try, and buy a SaaS solution the way i research, try, and buy everything else in my life. I am supportive of anyone who likes the more white glove treatment and interaction, but I don't want that to be the ONLY way I can buy things.There are of course business reasons why companies haven't all flocked to self serve and PLG. For example: When you force people to talk to a salesperson and you obfuscate pricing from your website, you the company maintain all the power and you can charge people as much as they're willing to pay. Similarly, you can give massive discounts to bigger brands because you want to be able to reference them as customers. It's a recipe for inequality. Wherease, when it's on your site and visible the price is the price is the price, no matter who you are. With PLG, the customer has the power to try, research, understand on their own. With self serve, the customer has the ability to buy on their own. With hybrid businesses (like Crunchbase and Dropbox) the customer has the freedom to choose how they want to buy--talk to sales or swipe a credit card, up to you. That is what customers want regardless of whether they're buying b2b or b2c products.
Hi Shanee, thanks for taking the time to answer all these questions! Your third paragraph in particular resonated with me since I recently read Daniel Pink's "To Sell is Human," where he discussed the benefits to consumers due to the asymmetry of information availability between buyer and seller closing with search engines, social media, online forums, etc.
I'm a content marketing consultant and I've been seeing a lot more of my (B2B) clients lean on free self-serve models to drive leads to their paid tool. What are some of the bigger learnings you've had around marketing a self-serve product to both grow its user base and convert users to take the next step (whatever that may be)?
I love a self serve product with a freemium model! When it comes to marketing these tools I like to think about the funnel and decide what tactics I need to execute based on where in the funnel I'm trying to make an impact.Here's a (grossly) simplified version:1.) Top of funnel: Have people even heard of my product? Are they coming to my site(Ads, PR, content marketing, case studies)2.) Consideration (pre trial or during trial): Are people engaging with my product? (onboarding, lifecycle marketing, in-product notifications, retargeting)3.) Conversion: Are people who get value from my free product choosing to buy my paid product? (paywalls, upsell CTAs, in-product display ads, retargeting)4.) Activation: Are new customers getting as much if not more value than they got when they were free? (Lifecycle marketing, in product education)When you're first trying to achieve critical mass with a self serve tool, your best path is to get people into the product and make sure they actually like it. The difference between traditional sales-led and PLG products, is that sales-led tools don't necessarily need to be loved. Tell me you haven't been charmed by a salesperson who told you all the amazing things you could do with their product, only to find that once you start using it AFTER you become a customer that you're not able to achieve even half of the big promises they made? You simply can't do that with PLG. The product must deliver from day one or you're toast.So one of the major differences I have seen in these two businesses is that in PLG marketing has to be deeply intertwined with product. The product is actually the strongest marketing lever. In this scenario marketing adds value by being a megaphone making sure that everyone knows how great the product is. In Sales-led companies, marketing is a supporter for sales. You're making sure that everyone knows that talking to a sales person is valuable. It's a totally different proposition.Tactically speaking if I were working on a new-to-market PLG product, here are a few things I'd do:1. Define the ICP for your product today. Who is the target customer who would have their life changed if they used your product as it exists right now. This is sort of the opposite of TAM. I don't want everyone, I want a super small bullseye audience definition.2. Incentivize ICP to try. Once I define the audience, I would go in and find them and try to get a handfull to try it. for free. I would give it away. My top priority is to confirm that my product can in fact deliver immediate value. My goal is to get feedback that gets me there. If by some lucky chance the first users love it, then I'd try to turn those into case studies to go and recruit other users3. Build the best damn onboarding you can. Usage is critical in a PLG business. It's the opposite of if you build it they will come. I mean they might come, but they're also going to leave. You need to help a customer be successful. Their success is your success.4. Retarget: Once I got more insight into who was both using and loving my product (user interviews, product analytics etc), I would then seek those people out in the world and try to bring them to siteThere's lots more but that's a start!
This is fantastic, thanks so much for sharing your perspective on this!
I like your vast knowledge amongst so many industries and appreciate the people who are so versatile. I have a startup called DanceKard and the company is about connecting local businesses into the process of dating in order to encourage users to get out and meet up versus staying online to chat. Right now I feel like I’m drinking from a fire hose in the sense that I’m trying to put people in positions in order to highlight strengths I don’t have and it’s been challenging to get the right people for the roles (especially with little funding). Any advice on how I can go about this more effectively?
Congratulations on your startup! At this early stage I recommend recruiting for sporks and not spoons. Meaning, look for people who like being generalists. Comfortable doing lots of things pretty well and maybe aren’t specialized in any of them. A spoon is a great spoon. A spork is an ok spoon but it’s also an ok fork. Find marketers who are excited by the opportunity to try whatever it takes to make the company succeed. If you try to hard to find someone who’s good at one thing they may not be comfortable doing anything else you need from them. With little funding you’ll need to be more creative about who you hire and what experience you require. Grit, flexibility and passion are almost more important than experience at this stage. Think: Moms re-entering the workforce, people looking to enter tech for the first time from other industries, folks early in their career looking to move up the ladder.Make it clear in your job postings that you want folks from non traditional backgrounds to apply. You’d be surprised how many great candidates self select out because they think they’d never have a chance.
Amazing advice @shaneebenzur! Thank you for sharing all your wisdom and experience!
Hey Shanee, thanks for the Office Hours. Question: What's your advice for founders doing marketing through Seed, Series A and B, in terms of needing to implement an organized data driven approach to business growth? What are some of the steps?
This question makes me happy. I wish more people asked themselves this question regardless of which stage they’re at! multi billion dollar companies need it too. Here’s how I see it:1) map out your funnel and identify the key conversion rates. The funnel are the 5 or so stages a potential customer goes thru from prospect to customer and eventually renewal and advocacy. The conversion rates are rates at which people move from stage to stage. 2) identify which conversion rates are your biggest risks and which are biggest opportunities. Risks are ones where if you don’t fix them asap your business will fail (ie retention). Opportunities are ones where you could potentially double or triple success rates. (ie traffic to MQL rate). This is different from stage to stage, business to business so you’ll need to put some thought into what your company specifically needs. 3) set specific growth targets against the funnel areas you identified. Empower an owner to rally teams to come up with the strategy needed to start hitting those targets. Typically multiple teams need to support so don’t make a DRI feel like they have to do it alone. 4) create a regular cadence of kpi progress check ins (weekly, monthly, quarterly) to track success against the targets. Offer support when they’re not hitting the target vs chiding. Owners need to feel like you’re their sponsor not their test grader. I find the biggest challenge folks have is deciding where to focus. This approach narrows down the field so teams can start chipping away at the opportunity.
Hi Shanee - Thank you for sharing your expertise with the Elpha Community! 1. I'm curious how you approach forming GTM digital strategies with confidence, without much historic data to rely upon?2. What advice would you give to someone who wants to manage and develop others, but falls into the trap of needing experience?
In my world there are:- target metrics - hypotheses - experiments - outcomesYou’ll notice I don’t have the word “initiatives” here. I think someone that sets marketers up for failure is the idea that execution of tactics is an outcome. Like the number of campaigns we execute is what we should be proud of. The problem here is that execution does not necessarily equal outcome. When you don’t have a ton of data (and even when you do) it’s best to look at your target KPI, any research you can collect and then formulate a hypothesis. Something like “if we do X then we think Y will happen”. Usually marketing puts all their eggs in one initiative basket. But if you run experiments based on a hypothesis you give yourself a chance to validate your idea before you go all in. This is especially important when you don’t have a ton of history to draw from. Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re a new b2b SaaS company with a free trial. - target KPI: 1000 trials- hypothesis: if we offer a discount, trial starts will improve- experiment : show a discount offer to 50% of traffic - outcome: is there an incremental improvement in trial starts among the audience who saw the discount vs those who didn’t? If yes, roll discount to 100%- next steps: figure out long term discounting strategy By approaching marketing this way you ensure you don’t over invest in tactics that won’t work for your company. You can come up with hypothesis based on either your own data or industry best practices. Not all things that work for others will work for you which is another good reason to test before committing. Re managing others: I don’t necessarily think you need to know how to do the specific things your employees are doing. Look at your CEO. Do they know how to do everyone’s job? No way. What you need to be good at is defining what success looks like, offering context and background behind your asks, empowering them to be experts, and providing encouragement along the way. If what they need is skills development and mentorship from an expert in their field, help them find it. You don’t have to be that person for them.
I’m sure you’ve dealt with a variety of small to big teams. What’s the best advice you have OR wish you knew (when you first started managing teams) on managing varying levels of mid-high performing team members to non motivated team members etc? Aside from building trust and giving autonomy.
I have made so many management and hiring mistakes. So. Many. Mistakes. But each one of those painful experiences also yielded some real nuggest of wisdom and I'm happy to share them if it means you can avoid my mistakes :) 1. Don't over-index on experience when recruiting. Potential+hunger is a better indicator of future success. When I first started hiring, I thought, "I'll look for someone who has already done this thing well somewhere else. They'll come here and do it again." Bad idea. If a person has already done that thing, chances are they aren't trying to do it again. They may accept the role, but they're going to be bored, and seeking promotion from day 1. You may have hired them with a specific need in mind, but they're going to look at that need and feel like it's beneath them. Conversely, if you hire someone who maybe wasn't in charge of doing the thing you want them to do now, but they supported the person who was, and they can show you during the interview process a combination of their general knowledge, ability to learn, and hunger for the topic, you could end up with a real star on your hands. A person who comes in hungry, eager to learn, eager for self-improvement, is a person who will feel fulfilled in their role, challenge the status quo, and likely achieve great results. Recruiting in this way also opens the field to a much more diverse set of candidates. There will always be functions that may require very sp2. If you feel like it's not working, they probably feel like it's not working. I think sometimes managers are afraid to confront the elephant in the room and that leads to both the employee and the manager feeling really bad. Your best bet is to try to put what's happening into words and then see if your employee feels it too. There are of course occasions when someone is wholly oblivious to their under-performance, or intrapersonal dynamics issues. But usually they are feeling unhappy if you're unhappy. It's better to find a way to open up the conversation and ask what could make their experience better and then take time to state the same from your perspective. This isn't about blame game or finger pointing, it's about saying "hey, I could be wrong, but it feels like things aren't going as well as we both want them to. I'd love to find a way to make this better for both of us. Can we talk about how each of us is feeling and then brainstorm what potential solutions are?" The idea here is that you want to create an environment where both you and your employee are on the same side. You're not going against each other. It's not you versus them. It's the two of you versus what's wrong. And it's the two of you with a shared goal to get to happiness and you're going to do it together. 3. Trust and autonomy are only possible with clear expectations and accountability. One of my absolutely biggest fails as a manager was thinking that my way was the best way. I was micromanaging like it was going out of style. With the help of 360 feedback, lots of conversations, and coach I've been able to start addressing this misconception. What I found at the heart of my micromanagement, was a desire to achieve very specific outcomes. The good news is you can achieve aggressive goals without suffocating your team :) In fact, the freedom is what will help you get to those goals. The key though, is that you as a manager must do a lot of prework. You need to share context as to why a goal was made, why is it important to the company, what missing it implies, what hitting it implies, what milestone check-ins you want to have along the way to success. And then you can also offer ideas you might have but you have to grant your team the freedom to disagree. Sharing of your ideas helps them see where your brain is at, but caveating those ideas with things like "this is just a brainstorm, I'd want you to do your own research and tell me what you think is the best way to do this. You're the experts." You will own providing the clear expectations and reasoning, and what success looks like. Then you empower the team to reach those goals. The check-ins are for progress to outcome, not approval on tactics. It's a place for you to offer support when they may be hitting walls. I have been so pleasantly rewarded for getting the heck out of my team's way, I regret not doing it sooner. The ideas my teams have are SO MUCH BETTER than any of mine. They also are creative problem solvers thinking about the problems in new and unique ways I never have. When they get to exist as the subject matter experts they're also prouder and more engaged with their work. It's their project, their idea, their target to hit. 4. Noticing little things has big impacts. Another hard lesson learned here. I grew up in a household where you never got a "good job!" just "why didn't you do this better?" Sadly that bled into my management style. (apologies to anyone I managed before the year 2020 ). I thought that if I shared too much positive feedback, people wouldn't try hard. So wrong. What you want to do is create as much psychological safety for your team as possible--which only happens when your team feels that you recognize them for their skills, impact, and potential. That means taking every chance you can to recognize their accomplishments no matter how small. In doing that, you create the space to be able to have some of the harder conversations when things don't go perfectly to plan. Hope these help!
What is your biggest insight into hiring a killer, creative marketing team? What skills, traits or experiences do you look for in building out your marketing teams?
I feel like if I had a great answer to this I'd be rich :) I'll give you my best answer, anyway.Within my organization I have to creative marketing and I have performance marketers. In some ways it's much easier to hire for performance marketing roles becuase the KPIs are objective and measurable and you're seeking people who have the capabilities to deliver on those very hard numbers. With creative, there's so much subjectivity. It makes it hard on both the hiring manager and the candidate--what you like isn't necessarily what I like, but it doesn't make either one of us wrong. However, I personally don't believe that creative should ONLY be subjective. I prefer working with creative teams who care about making sure the creative is not only on brand and visually appealing, but also furthers the goal of the team. For example: Does this creative increase the click thru rate on an ad. Does this creative drive people to think differently of my brand? those outcomes are measurable, and I'm seeking creative individuals who see their work's purpose this way as well.I also think that there needs to be an insanely high level of collaborative spirit with creative teams. Like it or not, they're going to be partnering with folks who might be less experienced in creative work and they're going to need to be patient as they explain their thinking. Similarly then non-creatives need to be patient when explaining their needs. If either side treats each other like "less than" then the whole project is sunk. I've seen it happen so many times. Either the requestor is disrespectful, leaving the design team to flounder. Or the design team is disrespectful, leaving a requestor feeling like their needs aren't met. We have to change that.So, when I recruit I ask questions that get me to the heart of these things:1) Subjective: Does their portfolio align with the style and tone my brand needs2) Intrapersonal: Do they index high on empathy and collaborative spirit3) Objective: Do they believe that the job to be done by creative is to further the business KPIs