interim head of marketing

Consider this if you’re hiring an interim head of marketing

Interim Head of Marketing

 

If you’re looking for an interim head of marketing you’ve either had a recent and unexpected departure, or have identified the need to expand your senior management team. Either way, you’re looking for an experienced marketing professional with the ability to drive your business forward and direct your team.

 

Hiring an interim head of marketing is an excellent way to plug a skills gap in your company and keep things moving forward, but it also comes with several considerations.

 

Recruitment Cost

 

The UK recruitment industry is worth in the region of £34bn per annum with temporary placements making up the lion’s share of that figure. The Recruitment and Employment Confederation estimate that agencies operating in the temporary and contract market averaged £380,792 in sales per employee, with margins around the 20% mark.

 

In other words, business is booming for temporary and contract recruiters, and in addition to the cost of employing your interim head of marketing, you’re going to have to pick up the tab on the cost of recruitment.

 

When you’re looking into hiring an interim head of marketing, make sure you take into consideration the additional costs of recruitment and beware of what you agree to, even in casual email correspondence. Agencies often have complicated terms that tie you in at an early stage.

interim head of marketing recruitment

Time

 

Another consideration when hiring your interim head of marketing is of course time. Both the time it takes to recruit your new team member, and the time you are looking to hire them for.

 

If you’re using a recruitment agency they can usually source you a suitable candidate pretty quickly. They’ve got access to large databases of professionals and dedicated teams of headhunters, but if you’re looking yourself then it may take considerably longer.

 

Another time factor to consider is the length of the contract or agreement. If you’re only hiring for a short time, then you may find that both using agencies and sourcing yourself will have inherent issues attached.

 

The Right ‘Fit’

 

CV’s and experience aside, often the most important factor is ensuring that your interim head of marketing is the right ‘fit’ for your team and organisational culture. Because of the temporary nature of interim roles and the high cost of recruitment, replacing your new hire just might not be an option. You’re likely going to be tied in to keeping your interim hire until the end of the agreement, so it’s important that they are the right fit, you can work with them and most importantly, that your team can work with them.

 

Always ensure you get a face-to-face meeting with candidates, even if this delays the hiring process. Some agencies may try to rush through the placement, but ensure you get enough face-time with your potential candidates and get to know them before committing to a decision.

 

Recruiting from Within

 

Another consideration is to recruit your interim head of marketing from within the team. Whilst there are obvious benefits, such as them already knowing your business and industry, it does also come with potential problems.

 

If you remove them from their existing role you’re going to need to fill the space left beneath them. You’re just robbing Peter to pay Paul, but could have some significant cost saving as a result. If you ask them to dual hat, you’re likely going to see it affect the level of work in one or both roles.

 

The main issue with this solution is that at the end of the interim arrangement they will likely be a bit deflated if they have to step back down and someone else comes in to fill the role, even if this was always on the cards and made clear. Other team members will also likely feel some level of resentment towards them. It could be a short-term solution but have long lasting issues in the effectiveness of your team.

 

An Alternative Solution

 

A solution you’ve possibly not thought of is hiring a virtual marketing director or manager as your interim head of marketing.

 

We’ve created two services specifically for filling the marketing capacity at senior management level, placing highly experienced marketing professionals into local SME’s, with a focus on flexibility, cost-effectiveness and low commitment for the business.

 

Our virtual marketing director and manager services can be placed in less than a week, with minimum commitment on length of agreement and without the high costs associated with using recruitment agencies.

 

You can read more about our virtual marketing services and if they’re a good fit for you by clicking HERE.

 

What Marketing Teams Want From Their Leaders (Research Results)

Over the last 18 months we’ve been conducting research to support the development of an e-learning solution for in-house marketing teams. A large part of that research has involved speaking to marketing executives from across the North of England to ask their opinions, feelings and thoughts for the future.

Inevitably, the subject of marketing leadership (or lack of it) featured prominently. We decided to dive a little deeper into the topic and find out what in-house marketing teams want from their immediate leadership, the directors and senior managers that they report to.

The full research is due to be published alongside the launch of the e-learning platform, but I wanted to give you a sneak peak at some of the results in advance, in the hope that they can be used to effectively manage and lead your own team now.

There were a few common themes that ran through the research.

General Satisfaction

In general, people are satisfied or happy with their leadership but acknowledge room for improvement.

Marketers were asked to rate the leadership/management style of the person that they report to on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being extremely satisfied and 1 being completely dissatisfied.

The average score was 3.9, showing a general disposition towards being happy with how they’re managed.

Who They Report To

Those who reported to a marketing director were more satisfied than those who reported to a managing director or sales director.

Participants were asked about their general satisfaction at work and the performance of their leaders. They were also asked who their team reported to. We then used this data to assess if there was a correlation between the person they report to (and their role) and perceived performance and satisfaction.

The most satisfied marketers reported to a head of marketing, marketing director, digital marketing lead or senior marketing manager.

The least satisfied reported directly to the managing director or sales director, with reasons ranging from a lack of understanding of the marketing function, too much of a focus on sales (by sales directors) and being held back from trying new channels/tactics from lack of understanding.

Things They Liked About Their Leaders

The things their leaders did well were generally soft skills and qualitative.

Which areas do you think your leadership does well?

Positive Attitude 75.9%

Commitment 62.1%

Honesty 56.9%

Passion 62.1%

The Things That Need Improvement

Communication and time management were common themes throughout the research. Many of the qualitative exchanges revolved around clear communication, last minute or unrealistic deadlines and being incorrectly briefed.

Which areas could your leadership improve on?

Communication 37.9%
Time management 32.8%

Inspiring Others 29.3%

Creativity & Innovation 22.4%

Delegation 20.7%

My Thoughts

Whilst the research is ongoing I think it’s important to take a step back and look at the data so far to see if there are opportunities to explore other areas of emerging themes. So far it’s given us some lines of enquiry for further investigation.

It’s also massively important to realise that research alone doesn’t give a full picture. The most value has come from the qualitative exchanges between my team and in-house marketers and the open ended questions we’ve included in the research.

My experience of good leadership both in my prior line of work and in business has ultimately boiled down to a leader listening to, considering and engaging their team. That to me is one of the key differences between managing and leading a team to success.

This research has certainly given me some food for thought and there is obviously a clear demand for marketers to be led by someone who understands their job, communicates clearly and with commitment. I’m looking forward to publishing the full results in the near future!

Jack Barron

Managing DirectorInvoke Media

Group Marketing DirectorThe Cotton Court Group

virtual marketing director remote

Deciding whether to hire a virtual marketing director

Has your business got to the stage where it needs to hire a new marketing director?

 

If so then you’ve reached an important time in your businesses lifecycle, but there’s no need to dive straight into hiring a permanent member of senior management just yet. You’ve got options!

 

Of course hiring a dedicated on-site marketing director would be an ideal solution for many businesses, but it isn’t always necessary and there’s the obvious cost associated. The average UK marketing director salary sits at around £84,000, and when you take into consideration national insurance & pension contributions, sick days, holidays and perks you’re looking at well over £100,000.

 

Another option to consider is hiring a virtual or remote marketing director. While many of those on offer are completely remote from your business, Invoke Media have managed to strike a happy medium between the on-site and virtual solutions.

 

Our virtual marketing directors spend most of their time off-site, but on-hand to handle any queries and checking in with the team at various times through the week to ensure progress is being made. In addition they hold weekly skype team meetings and will be present on-site at least once per week.

 

Jack Barron, Invoke Media’s Managing Director and one of our Virtual Marketing Directors says:

 

“Our virtual marketing solution is a new take on two existing ideas. We understand the need for an on-site presence and regular contact with the team, but also acknowledge the cost benefits of the virtual solution. We were quite surprised not to find anyone on the market providing such an offering and jumped at the opportunity”.

 

The virtual marketing director from Invoke offers businesses who have the need for a marketing director to access the skills and experience provided by one, but also makes it accessible to those businesses who are not quite ready to pay for a new full-time director.

 

They offer flexibility and access to wider network of contacts, professionals and future customers. The real winning factor with a virtual marketing director however, low commitment needed by businesses.

 

“Businesses are initially committed to a three month agreement, but after that it turns to a 30 day rolling contract. This ensures that we don’t get any time wasters, our directors have enough time to plan and implement strategy, but most importantly our customers don’t feel as though they are trapped. Their new virtual director has to stay on top of their game month-to-month. There’s no room for complacency,” Barron says.

 

Another major advantage of a virtual marketing director is of course the cost. On average businesses can save over £76,000 by going virtual.

 

“By shifting the overheads to Invoke and keeping on-site hours, benefits, national insurance and pension contributions out of the picture, businesses can save a staggering amount. We’re living in the digital age where business need not be bound by geographical limitations. This allows us to burden the cost, but spread it amongst several clients. You’re receiving the same level of commitment, experience and skill for a quarter of the price. The difference between an in-house employee and virtual director is staggering. That money can either be kept within the business or reinvested into marketing spend,” Barron continues.


The decision on whether to hire a virtual marketing director versus an in-house employee is heavily dependent on your business circumstances, available budget and willingness to adopt new work practices. Hopefully this article has provided some further insight and helped you with your decision.