How to Boost Productivity and Hire Great Marketers

In Episode 22 of the Marketing Trends podcast, hosts Ian and Lauren chat with Ada Chen Rekhi about the secrets of real productivity, and what it takes to hire the best candidates for your marketing organization.

Eight years ago, Ada founded a contact management startup called Connected HQ, which was acquired by LinkedIn. Code from ConnectedHQ helped build the LinkedIn address book, network digests, birthday notifications, and more. After two years as a product marketer at LinkedIn, Ada became SVP of marketing at SurveyMonkey. Following her entrepreneurial spirit, she eventually left the company to become a startup advisor and recently founded the productivity app Notejoy.

With more than a decade of experience boosting team productivity at startups and iconic tech companies alike, Ada has many great insights about how to structure marketing organizations efficiently and hire effectively.

What makes one company successful, and what makes one strategy really successful at one company, is not necessarily going to work at another organization.

– Ada Chen Rekhi

All organizations are different, but many marketers see their skills as transferable between companies. While this is true to some extent, Ada says that marketers must be adaptive. The ability to strategize flexibly is key to marketing success at new and different organizations. For leaders, that includes knowing how to assemble and manage the best possible teams. In the podcast, Ada discusses the system she uses to classify and organize marketing teams. In her view, the anatomy of a marketing organization is made up of eight core marketing functions and roles:

  1. Creative and content
  2. Demand generation (for B2B)
  3. Field marketing
  4. Marketing communications
  5. Marketing operations
  6. Marketing research
  7. Online marketing
  8. Product marketing

When leaders orient their organizations around these functions, it makes it easier for them to share organizational needs and marketing objectives clearly — even if they don’t have significant marketing experience themselves.

Ada also also outlines her first principles for hiring decisions, which include prioritizing overall business outcomes over specific business tasks, and qualifying applicants based on their level of experience as well as their level of curiosity.

According to Ada, the key questions interviewers should ask marketing applicants include questions that gauge basic proficiency and competency, questions that show how they would react to different situations, and questions that ask them to evaluate case studies.

Marketing hires need to be customized both to the company and to the customer base.
– Ada Chen Rekhi

One of her favorite questioning strategies is to name an existing product, and ask interviewees what they’d have done if they’d been responsible for launching that product — to see how they put together the pieces of the marketing puzzle. The key here is to evaluate whether the interviewee’s thinking and reasoning style aligns with your organization’s strategic approach and business goals, as well as the needs of your customer base.

As people work very differently with regards to time, it’s important to give applicants enough time to consider in-depth interview questions like these. As Ada notes, the best answers don’t always come from the people who answer questions the quickest!

To hear more of Ada Chen Rekhi’s expert thoughts on marketing productivity and hiring strategies, listen to Episode 22 of the Marketing Trends podcast, brought to you by Salesforce Pardot.

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