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A Big Startup Mistake: Hiring The Wrong Head Of Marketing

Talk to young, aspiring marketers and many will glamorize working at startups—no bureaucracy, rapid-fire decision making, and a disproportionate level of responsibility. In contrast, many will disparage large firms—slow, bureaucratic, pain-inducing decision making processes. Yes, you can move faster in a smaller organization but there are a number of new and different challenges that make succeeding in a startup environment difficult.

To better understand why startup CMOs fail (and how not to fail), I turned to Matt Hirst, Partner at West, a venture studio that specializes in designing, building, and launching brands.

Kimberly A. Whitler: You used to work at Google and now work at a company that has visibility into a number of startups. Can you share insight on why so many startup CMOs fail?

Matt Hirst: I think many CMOs (or senior marketers) underestimate their ability to wear all the different hats required at a startup. This is especially true if they are joining a company that hasn’t previously had a marketing department to-date.

In a large company you have the benefit of a team that you can rely on for specific functions. For example, the insights and data team will usually be different brains from the creatives. In a start-up, you have to wear all of those hats from one day to the next and, frankly, that’s a lot to ask of one person, especially when they are new to the role.

Whitler: What advice can you give people faced with this challenge?

Hirst: It’s important that you start off by being honest with what type of marketing you are predisposed to doing and therefore where your blind spots are. We often talk about the ultimate marketer being a three-headed monster of Brand Marketing, Product Marketing and Growth Marketing. Most marketers are predisposed to one of those disciplines, maybe two, but very few are world-class at all three. That’s okay – and common – but when building something from the ground up in the hyper fast-paced startup world, you need to be prepared to access all three disciplines interchangeably and so it’s critical to know where you excel and where your blind spots are.





People are looking for businesses online all the time. According to BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey: Businesses that are online are seeing growth of online search each month. Potential for your company searched online: 69%


Former Tech Entrepreneur Bucking Trends

However, one nursery operator is bucking the trend and defying the Covid-19 impact to enjoy a 96% occupancy rate. The Fennies nursery group was started by Steven Fenn and his nursery practitioner wife Sarah in 1992, with the opening of their first site in South Croydon, London.

Fenn had previously worked as an engineer before moving into technology in the early 1990s. Three years ago, he sold his last technology outsourcing firm and decided to focus all his efforts on the nursery business, embarking on an ambitious transformation and expansion journey that doubled the size of the entire operation and its revenues.

Key to the group’s success is its tech-enabled, quality-driven agenda and novel management standards that not only benefit the children but also their parents, leading some to dub the nursery brand ‘Soho House for kids’.

Nurseries for under-fives have become a commercial commodity in recent years. With the Government’s provision of universal childcare grants for under-fives, the sector became ripe for enterprise, and flooded with margin-seeking, cost-cutting investor cash.

However, Fenn’s prime objective was to create a premium nursery experience based on a strategy of retaining every element of running a nursery in-house. From nutritionist and chef-prepared healthy meals to cleaning, recruitment and education teams, the group has established internal specialist divisions for each, maintaining accountability, and delivering optimum results.

The company now has 11 sites around the south of England and turns over £14 million annually. The unorthodox nursery management strategy proved crucial to keeping all 11 sites open during lock-down to cater mainly for children of key workers and those with special needs.

Fenn says: “Over the past three years we have acquired and developed three new sites investing a total of £10 million for these projects, while a further £4 million was invested in bringing the existing sites up to the standard and specification of our newest schemes.”

The biggest challenge created by the expansion was transforming a traditionally staid culture and ethos, and for this, a new senior management team was appointed to oversee a major restructuring of all departments and reinventing of a culture of success across the brand.

“By offering continual training and development to individuals, our management team can support the front-line nursery teams more efficiently and give them the tools and support they need to fulfill their roles,” says Fenn. “Our structure ensures we remove the operational tasks from the nursery manager so that education remains the prime focus.”

The transformation of the business is underpinned by...



Modern Technology Trending Innovation Concept

Digital Trends and Then...

By Shawnene Vance
Maryam's Mark Contributor

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The Future of Digital Trends to Market in Your Business - what's the best way, why and is there a how? Let Maryam's Mark's & Company experts tell give you the coffee to get going!

Digital marketing is major contribution for businesses no matter the size, small or large. There are a few things to consider as importance with digital marketing from Digital Marketing Philippines.

  • Digital Marketing Facilitates Communication with Target Audience- Communication is helpful with sharing of videos, photos, and easier way of promotions and advertising. I cannot tell you many times while on Facebook, while using my mobile phone I was engaged in promotions and adverting methods that kept me entertained and enjoying the interaction.
  • Helps Build Brand Reputation- brand reputation helps paying customers and turn them into loyal customers and then focus to your brand ambassadors.
  • Digital Marketing Entices People to take Favorable Action- excellent use of clever and innovative ways to entice adaptations using calls-to-action.

Why is this so important?

Technology is tremendously changing, businesses and competitors are finding ways to gain new customers while maintaining the engagement of existing customers. Based by the article of CONVINCE AND CONVERT, 6 Trends in Digital Advertising That Take Us from 2017 to 2020, had many “jaw dropping ideas on the next way to be innovative and “know your customers!”

The Major two features of this article in which I’d like to elaborate on is Augmented Reality of Snapchat lenses and Google lens.

Reality Technologies explains, that (AR) Augmented Reality is a superior version of reality where people can view the physical real-world environments with augmented computer-generated images over the user’s view of the real-world with current awareness of reality.

This involves with a mobile device such as a tablet or mobile phone where the viewer will use the app of a location either outside on the streets or within the home to add something related to technology in real-time.

How does Snap chat and Google Lens plan to use this feature? How is AR beneficial to your business? Imagine a consumer wanting to buy a pair of glasses, dress, or necklace and she would like to see the benefits of what the item would look like before she purchases these items from a store. Snapchat is already known for adding mask, crowns, and glasses to a user’s face and is prompted to take a photo or video with this item. This enables the use of real-life “try it before you buy it” with the use of Snapchat app.

The use of Google Lens app has the ability to allow your smart phone to not only see what the viewer see’s but also understand what the viewer see’s to help information in real-time such as recognizing addresses, books, and other objects stated from

Google Lens would be beneficial to consumers based by finding the right product in its location in a store, or knowing exactly where an address for a store or restaurant in real time just by position your phone to a location and knowing the items sold, price, menus and the like.

Secondly, data mining with the use of visual search. The uses for Meta-Eyes is so outrageously clever for marketing needs and has so many benefits to your customers’ every move it is almost as if you were right there with them! The benefits to Meta Eyes allows marketers to view images that their customers post on social media feeds. Allowing advertisers to know specifically advertisements that are relevant base by the consumers’ interest.

Meta Eyes works by

1)      Either using a hashtag monitor and categorize Instagram content.

2)      Automatically recognizes the Instagram content and categorizes them.

3)      Then reports the data by a detailed analytics program for inspection.


Considering these trends as beneficial to your business, using these digital marketing tools provides focus in transforming data based by consumers and viewers’ behaviors and interest to create ads in response to their actions in a subtle, efficient, and significant way.


Be on top of digital marketing- do not just pick the most efficient for your business, although, that would be a great idea. Always think of what your business has to offer, your products and services. Then research how the latest digital marketing tool will benefit your ROI for your marketing investments!
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A Calendar and Our Connection

The COVID19 Stigma on Small Business


I have checked my calendar two or three times, and guess what - nothing says "released" yet from these Stay Home orders. I'm hearing soon some stores in West Pennsylvania will start re-open however have numbers for anything declined? These numbers are like math equations - confirmation, estimations, rational numbers - decimals and then carry the day. Will the economy survive or not? Do we have enough sand to wait things out or do we need to rush back to the boardwalk and go swimming at he beach? Businesses located on the coast are already seasonal, right? Closures of the beach during warm weather isn't the best financial decision but what if you open too soon, risk your health - and then who will open your business after COVID19 has passed on?

People it looks like a case of "HEALTH vs.  ECONOMICS!"

Your store and your happy place will be there, with new customers after this time is gone. Let this crazy crisis pass. Connect to your customers using a different method.  We can help you start an online store and   you can use email marketing. We understand it’s a difficult time for any business owner, and we’re here to help you get through it. That’s why we’ve created our new Client Markers Resource Center.  We will help you plan ways to connecting with your customers - online while creatively growing your business. Think of it as this just time for a change.

Don't allow this invisible bully to make you close down completely or re-open to soon. You are busy in business regardless of COVID19. Do what Ludacris said to this COVID19, and "drop bows on em," by staying committed to your business. Use the Maryam's Mark Client Markers Resource Center today to shape your business back on track now.

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