Why was now the right time to add this new position?
We had hired consultants from time to time to fill in key gaps as we were growing. But now, we are to a point where we really want to find a leader who can take everything over and just really manage and grow a team on the marketing side.
Was there a tipping point when you realized you needed someone full time?
A good problem to have at a start-up is that the leaders become so overwhelmed with what they’re doing as they’re scaling that they just don’t have bandwidth. Once you get to the point where you can see there are opportunities being lost or that we could be doing a better job of supporting business development, sales and getting more leads into the funnel, I think it’s kind of just a natural process. We kind of all look around and say, “It’s time to bring on some marketing leadership so we’re not all killing ourselves.”
What kind of worker are you seeking?
We’re a platform, so we have both business-to-business and business-to-customer activities. So in that sense, we’re looking for an executive who has expertise and understands both communities. Really, the primary goal for the marketer is to figure out the right positioning for the brand, for both the B-to-B and B-to-C communities.
As a start-up, are you looking for something different than an established business would?
It’s probably the most important thing. We’ve seen a number of people who look fantastic on paper, but maybe they don’t have the fire in their belly to just go out and jump into a start-up environment, given the type of commitment and hours that can take. When we really distill what we look for, it’s people who are mission driven, intelligent, accountable, they’re near perfectionists in their work.
Most importantly, we have a “no jerk” policy. I’m a strong believer that one bad actor can poison the well. We’ve got an office full of what I like to call laid-back Type A’s.
Are you looking beyond D.C. for candidates?
We’re casting far and wide. They have to be on-site in order to take a leadership role. We just really firmly believe for the culture to grow the way that we want it to, they have to be on site. But we’re quite willing to pay relocation expenses if we think it’s the right person.