Hire a German Shepherd

Seth Godin thinks you’re better off getting bitten by a dog than hiring a chief marketing officer. I kid you not. He really said that. In a recent interview with Inc. Magazine, he was asked what he might say to an entrepreneur looking to hire a chief marketing officer. Here’s his answer.

“I would say they should go to a shelter and get a German shepherd. And any time they are going to get on the phone to hire a chief marketing officer, the German shepherd should bite them. Because with a chief marketing officer you are saying, “Please use marketing tools to solve our problems.” There are no marketing tools that will solve your problems. If you are willing to let the chief marketing officer be in charge of product development, customer service, and all the rest of it, then she can probably accomplish something. But you know what we call the person who does all that? We call that person the president or the CEO. If you are an entrepreneur, then it is your job to market your vision to your employees and your prospects. It is the hardest job you have.


And y’know what? He’s right.

But there’s a difference between outsourcing your entire marketing strategy and getting some help, and Seth Godin knows it. The simple truth is that most entrepreneurs don’t have time to learn web design, graphics design, photography, video production, social media, SEO, and marketing analytics.

Even if somehow they could manage to acquire proficiency in all those skills, finding time to do the work would take them away from the tasks they really need to be focused on.

Marketing today isn’t what it used to be. The industry has been turned on its head. Gone are the days of men in suits pitching campaigns on an easel in a board room. The primary driver of change has been the rise of the internet, which has significantly closed the gap between the CEO and the end customer.

Successful entrepreneurs of the future will know how to balance their responsibilities, maintaining ownership of their leadership platform without getting overwhelmed by the work marketing requires.

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