Over the last few months, I’ve had numerous conversations with entrepreneurs and investors about hiring.  Most CEOs expanding their company would say that it’s the single hardest thing from them to do, and do well.  For a lot of them, it’s become quite fashionable to say that it’s impossible to find great developers.  However, if you dig deeper, you’ll find that a majority of growing startups in Boston have top-class engineering teams.  What’s missing in their office is a creative, data-driven, hard-working, social, content-creating Online Marketer (a.k.a “Growth Hacker”).   A Growth Hacker is the hardest hire to find in Boston.

Last week, I even asked the question on Twitter, “What’s the hardest hire to recruit for in Boston?”  Here is a piece of the conversation (you’ll have to read it from the bottom-up) –

So, why are Growth Hackers so elusive in Boston?  Simple.  There is a huge gap between what marketers think their skills need to be and what the startup CEOs want from Online Marketers.  Here’s what the CEOs want (and they want it all) –

    • Be a hard-working DOER:  Enough said.
    • Be creative: Show that you can research and create new types of content and WOW people!  You’ll have to create mail campaigns, videos, infographics, how-to guides, blog posts, funny Tweets, quirky promotions, etc.  If you’re experienced, show how YOU did it in your previous job (not your old team, not your old boss – YOU).  If you’ve got no experience, research the company you’re interviewing with, create interesting content and show them what you can do.
    • Be social:  How can you claim to be a social media expert if it’s not in your DNA?  Most CEOs don’t buy into marketers that don’t have a professional and active social media brand.  Start blogging, be active on Twitter, keep your LinkedIn profile updated, etc.  Don’t say things like “I’ve never used Pinterest,”or whatever the current social media trend is – you’ll have to know it all.
    • Be strategic: So, you can build creative content. Great!  But, where are you going to publish it?  It’s not enough that you just post it on a blog or Tweet it.  What else?  Where do your customers live?  What kind of content would each part of your customer demographic be interested in?  In essence, can you think strategically and come up with different marketing campaigns (why, what, for whom, and where to publish) and execute on each one?
    • Be critical and data-driven:  Analyze what’s working and what’s cost-effective.  Show that you know how to use Google Analytics, HubSpot, KissMetrics, etc.  If you’ve never done it, get a free account and learn.  You are going to live your numbers every day. Analytics, experiments, segmentation, and testing are in your blood; CAC, LTV, MRR, and ARR are in your dreams.  Be prepared to pull up various analytics consoles and spreadsheets in an interview and walk through inbound lead and conversion numbers.
    • Create repeatability: Determine how to cost-effectively reach the right customers online, analyzing and measuring the success of your tactics to create leads and how they convert into customers.  Have you used Rapportive, FullContact, etc.?  Do you know who your best customers are?  You’ll be the sales team’s best friend and the more you can automate customer profiling, the better.
    • Be an all-rounder: Yes, you will focus on Online Marketing.  But you’ll have to do it all – Content creation, SEO/SEM, marketing automation, branding, promotions, conferences, Marcom, Social Media content, PR, and tactics you’ve never even thought of.

You think this is a hard job?  You bet it is!  Online Marketers work harder than anyone else in the company because every day is an opportunity to reach 100s or 1000s of potential customers.  And the thrill and satisfaction of seeing the success of your marketing efforts bear fruit, day in and day out – well, that’s just awesome!

So, if you’re reading this and believe you’re a growth hacker – reach out to the various startup CEOs in Boston.  Show them that you’re a creative, data-driven, hard-working, social, content-creating machine.  And remember, when you’re negotiating your salary package with them, you’re the hardest hire for them to find in Boston.  You’re worth your weight in gold!