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How to Resource Your Growth Marketing Team As Your Company Matures


October 27, 2021


January 3, 2022

Right Side Up’s founder, Tyler Elliston, recently hosted a growth marketing resourcing strategy webinar to share his expert insights on how to hire the right people for different growth phases to maximize results. Watch the full webinar here.

You probably know that you need a solid bunch of growth marketers to scale customer acquisition efforts for your company. But what does the growth marketing dream team look like? The specifics depend on your product or service offering, business objectives, growth phase, and industry. But broken down to its most basic function, you should aim for a team that dynamically evolves in skills, seniority, and capacity in response to business needs, as dictated by company strategy and feedback from the market.

As you progress through the different phases of growth, your needs will change and your growth marketing resourcing strategy should adapt to keep up. We’ve developed this framework, based on our experience working with brands like DoorDash, Stitch Fix, Coinbase, and Zenefits, to help you craft your perfect marketing team.

And if you decide that a growth marketing consultant is right for you, Right Side Up can help match you with the perfect expert from our extensive talent network.

First Marketing Hires: Who to hire in the earliest stages of growth

In the earliest phases of growth, when you’re still pre-product and haven’t found product-market fit, hiring decisions can have a huge impact on the growth rate and overall success of your business. This crucial stage is full of opportunities, but also full of risk, so having the right team alongside you is important. You should source the vast majority of skills and capacity across seniority internally because:

  • Direction of your company changes frequently
  • Vision is often founder-driven vs. data-driven
  • External resources are expensive
  • Consolidation leads to time efficiency

Having a core internal team of dedicated people who understand your mission helps to keep things on track and avoid costly missteps. Any external resources are typically strategic and consultative in nature, most often in the form of freelancers or advisors.

Resourcing Your Marketing Team During Periods of Rapid Growth

Once you’ve nailed your product-market fit, you’re gaining momentum, and you’re seeing increased revenue, you’ve entered the high-growth phase. In this phase, the opportunities available to you will likely far exceed your existing capacity. And pursuing those opportunities requires a variety of skills and seniority. At this point, a hybrid growth marketing resourcing strategy probably makes the most sense because:

  • Direction is set and many marketing tactics work
  • Specialization leads to excellence
  • External resources can provide leverage (which is now more valuable than time efficiency)
  • The opportunity cost of delay or inaction outweighs the cost of external resources

Along with your internal team, now is a great time to rely heavily on external resources—both freelancers and agencies—to increase capacity and specialization, institutionalizing their expertise over time.

Capacity to Sustain Growth As Your Company Matures

As your company reaches maturity and your growth rate stabilizes, there’s not much left to explore in the landscape. Things should be systematically cultivated by now. 

The makeup of your growth marketing dream team (the people that will sustain your growth long term) will depend on your specific business objectives. Take these key insights into consideration when deciding how to resource your growth team in a mature organization:

  • Direction and tactics are established; growth is measured in optimizations, not step functions
  • Resources consolidate internally to save money amidst an emerging attitude of skill commodification
  • External resources should remain for unique or hard-to-find skill sets (many mature companies develop low-skill cultures during the growth phase and forever rely on external resources)

External resources can be tapped to reduce costs, temporarily cover capacity gaps, and provide strategic support. Even if you’ve found your dream team for this current moment, be sure to continually evaluate and refresh your strategy to avoid stagnation and sustain momentum.

When to Hire Full-Time Marketers vs. Growth Marketing Consultants vs. Agencies

There’s more flexibility than ever before when it comes to choosing the right mix of growth marketing resources. Whether you hire a growth marketing consultant, full-time employee, or agency, it’s important to know what function you actually need them to fulfill.

Here’s what general functions we’ve found work best for each type of hire:

  • Full-time employees must set the vision and then external resources plan and execute against it
  • Full-time employees are best for quickly changing needs (i.e. generalists) and stable needs (i.e. low-cost specialists), while freelancers can fill the gaps in between
  • Agencies provide a trained resource, whereas freelancers are typically an experienced resource
  • Agencies are great at deploying playbooks and driving scale, as long as things go as expected
  • Freelancers are better at strategy and unproven, low-commitment tests
  • Agencies offer the fastest talent solution
  • Freelancers can often provide the highest quality solution 

Setting Growth Marketers Up for Success

Whether it’s caused by a lack of organizational context, siloed cultural environment, or poorly defined scope, even the most experienced hires can fail if you don't set them up for success. Creating an environment that allows your team to thrive is fairly straightforward but offers huge rewards in results and retention.

Marketing freelancers

We’ve seen a huge uptick in both the number of freelance consultants, as well as demand for their skills. You can help your freelancers succeed by:

  • Investing the time to give them organizational context
  • Treating them with the respect afforded to internal team members; see them as partners rather than vendors
  • Rewarding contrarian perspectives; freelancers are uniquely situated to provide it
  • Giving very direct guidance and feedback; take advantage of the low switching cost and lower attachment

Marketing agencies

Working with an agency can take a lot off your plate, but they can only be as effective and efficient as you set them up to be. Help your external marketing agency succeed by:

  • Proactively giving them organizational context to inform their recommendations
  • Trying to interview team members before they are assigned to your account
  • Maintaining strategy and ultimate roadmap responsibility internally
  • Treating them as part of the team and building rapport with your account lead

Full-time employees

Hiring a full-time employee is a big commitment and setting them up for success requires continual attention and adaptation. But before they’re even added to your team, there are a few things you can do to ensure success is attainable:

  • Clearly define the scope of the role; excellence requires focus
  • Hire for the specialized qualifications you need; knowledge and experience are tough to catch up on if they’re not already present
  • Offer a salary that’s in line with the level of talent you want; median compensation won’t attract 95th percentile experts
  • Align on goals for the role; contextual insights are vital

Identifying the right marketing dream team for your company’s growth phase can help you capitalize on opportunities and avoid costly mistakes. By knowing what you need at each level of growth, as well as what type of hire can fulfill that need and how you can support them, you’re putting your company on the path to excellence.

Need help figuring it all out? Drop us a line at hello@rightsideup.co. We can help you fill in the blanks to build the perfect team for your company.

Tyler is an investor and advisor to startups and founder of Right Side Up, a consultancy that helps high-growth companies develop and execute best-in-class marketing and eCommerce strategies. Right Side Up sources the best growth leaders from around the country - many working at the most successful brands - and makes them available to clients for 5 to 30 hours/week through both advisory and staffing services. Recent clients include Procter & Gamble, Stitch Fix, Fitbit, Roman, Rothy's, Sun Bum, Sephora, DoorDash, Perfect Snacks, and over 100 more. He has an MBA from Berkeley.

Jes Parker is a writer and content marketer with experience creating B2B and consumer-facing assets that build brands and make complex concepts more human. She has worked with companies and nonprofits like Highstead Foundation, Trust for Public Land, Harvard University, the Museum of the City of New York, and Times Square Alliance to craft accessible and engaging content strategies.

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Let's talk growth

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Let's talk growth

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