How to do a marketing interview

How to do a marketing interview

Technical skills, work ethic, company culture

As a long time tech CMO, I am asked often how to do a marketing interview at tech and SaaS companies.

Over time I learned to ask careful questions that focus on:

  • can they do the job?
  • will they do the job?
  • will they fit in with my company’s culture?

Today’s challenge with how to do a marketing interview

The marketing industry has done a disservice to many B2B companies.

A troubling reality is that almost anyone can call themselves a marketer. Our profession is full of folks who over-advertise themselves.

The requirements for being a high performing B2B marketing director, vice president or CMO have grown dramatically in the past few years.

Knowledge and efficient use of multiple technologies is now the baseline entry ticket. Add data analytics, AI, machine learning and metrics for a growing number of marketers.

More than a few B2B marketing candidates today are lacking in technical and technology skills needed to grow a brand, create effective strategy, or engage and deliver in-market sales qualified leads.

Of those, even fewer can work comfortably with the CEO and sales team to develop a shared marketing language and unified market strategy.

Marketing job interview with handshake.

All the interviewers need to learn how to do a marketing interview

As the interviewer, it’s your job to discover whether a candidate’s skillsets and capabilities are a true fit for your company’s culture, marketplace challenges and goals for growth.

If you know how to do a marketing interview, you can sort through candidates quickly.

Make the right hire and you will help your company’s market performance tremendously.

Make a wrong choice and the consequences will be frustrating, time-consuming and expensive.

Can they do the job?

It’s always easier and faster to use web video or the phone to discern a candidate’s technical and technology skills. There’s no point in bringing them on-site until you are satisfied that next steps are in order.

For marketers, technical skills include:

  1. Strategic thinking
  2. Creative thinkingCommunication skills
  3. Analytical skills
  4. Technology

Remember to take careful notes and refer to them when making decisions about next steps

The best opener for marketing interview questions

“Tell me how you became interested in marketing and how you got started…”

This is an easy question to help the candidate get comfortable with interviewing. Also, I like to know whether the candidate’s training is formal or informal.  I look for candidates who pursued an education in business, economics, marketing or similar and/or began in an entry level position in product management, sales, branding, advertising or product marketing.

Why? Early interest in sales and marketing can be a good indicator for motivation and career enthusiasm.

Remember, formal education isn’t everything. On-the-job training can also be valuable so it’s wise not to discount a candidate too early in the process.

25 Questions and Suggested Answers for Interviewers

I created a detailed guide on how to do a marketing interview. It’s an excellent tool for those who are not subject matter experts, and a great refresher for senior level marketers.

Top 25 marketing interview questions and answers for 2023

Available For Purchase

B2B go-to-market strategy

B2B go-to-market strategy

Enterprise software company wins big with B2B go-to-market strategy

sales presentation best practices

Logo DataFrameworks


How do you choose the right B2B go to market strategy?

DataFrameworks, a Silicon Valley company had a unique solution for file management in enterprise data storage environments.

Additionally, they used an often overlooked go t0 market strategy.

A year after beginning work with Harris CMO Partners, they were acquired by DellEMC.

Here’s the story.

Founders recognized a trend

The founders recognized a growing trend in the data storage space. Rich content (sound, video and images used at the same time and place) was overwhelming enterprise IT departments with petabytes of unstructured technical data and rich media content. There was no dedicated solution for allowing end users to access and retrieve massive rich content files from storage environments.

Consequently, IT departments were overwhelmed with requests from end users to find and deliver rich content files. Besides, this increased the costs of storage management dramatically in companies that are heavy users of rich media files. Affected industries included media and entertainment, software development, life sciences and more.

The trend was forecasted to keep growing for years.

Image of tall data servers in the clouds.

Where’s my data file?

The challenge…

Like most early stage B2B companies, DataFrameworks had a limited budget. Correspondingly, they decided to forgo marketing except for a website, focusing on B2B go to market strategy instead. Also, they minimized direct sales and focused on partnering with large OEMs in their market space. These included HGST, Quantum, DellEMC and others.

Instead, they used a small sales team to call on the OEMs. And they chose us to do the partner marketing. Selling their solution to thousands of OEM salespeople would be a lot of specialized work. DataFrameworks needed a variety of support materials created to get their new, expanded OEM sales teams up and running.

The solution…B2B go-to-market strategy

Harris CMO Partners was hired to help. Working closely with the founders, sales and technical teams, we created architecture diagrams, solution briefs, business cases, sales presentations, sales kits, press releases, event marketing and more.

The great thing about this client was that they knew precisely the business value of their solution. “Bringing business and IT together to unlock the value of data trapped in silos.” With that, and a couple of white papers they had created early on, we went to work.

Shortly after we started working with DataFrameworks, they partnered with DellEMC. It was a perfect fit with Dell’s Isilon product line, a family of scale-out network-attached storage systems, designed for demanding enterprise file workloads.

Isilon’s sales team already had relationships with the companies DataFramework wanted to target. Now, all DataFrameworks needed to do was educate and coach the DellEMC team.

Their B2B go to market strategy was working well.

The first customers…

We decided to focus on large OEMs (like DellEMC) serving data intensive industries including media and entertainment, life sciences, oil and gas, EDA, software development, automotive and others with complex workflows.

In their first phase of sales, they focused on acquiring a handful of marquee clients. These included Disney, ESPN, Quantum, IBM, NetApp, illumina, Sony Pictures and many more.

B2B go-to-market strategy success

I worked closely with both DataFrameworks and DellEMC to execute successfully the B2B go to market strategy.

I created the sales and marketing story, sales training and plenty of intriguing content.

Once DellEMC had the new solution firmly established as a partner offering with its existing customer base, sales materialized quickly.

The tech giant saw distinct value in acquiring DataFrameworks and completed a succesful acquisition.

DataFrameworks’ solution is currently featured in DellEMC’s Enterprise and Midmarket IT Transformation solutions.

More on strategy

Market strategy is hugely critical to your success.

You might like this article on how Steve Jobs outfoxed the major competition in his time.

How Apple Competes…And Wins