Salaries · Incentives

How much to compensate a former VP of Marketing?

Helen Adeosun

April 24th, 2014

Hey folks!

I am very familiar with the grunt fund, but I am very eager to build a strong team since I have been working on my startup on my own for a while. We've started to generate revenue, and I would like someone who knows how to scale and grow my company with an eye towards marketing, strategy, and targeting the parents and businesses that would be great partners.

Recently met a former VP of marketing who is brilliant and did this for a company that recently closed but scaled amazingly well. In  founder dating terms I'm feeling like the nerdy guy dating the model.

BUT...at the same time he sees the potential and I am at an early phase where he can have an impact. The goal is to build to have him on the team and get to a place in the next few months where we are a real live automated business. 

My question is what compensation structure ensures that a very experienced person is able to help build a business early on that is fair for both the entrepreneur and the employee and hopefully incentivizes the employee to stay on? Anyone with experience with this and what are your thoughts?

Rob G

April 24th, 2014

once size won't fit all. At the exec level especially, compensation will depend a lot on this person's experience and prior comp. Experience would cover things like prior markets/industries, size of company (prior employers). this also gets into size of company.  For example, if they only have F500 experience do they have the 'GSD' (get s*$% done) in-the-trenches habits to function in a startup? Can you provide some additional background in this area?  For example, a former VP of marketing for Chris' CupCake Factory, a local 5 store chain of cupcake cafe's will have a different skill set and comp requirements than a former EVP of marketing for Amazon or AT&T, or ?   Not that one is better in your situation than the other, but their comp expectations will be dramatically different.  Also, the description in your post brings up the question; "are you sure it is marketing skills that you need"?  You mentioned "real live automated business" which hints at B2C which tends toward true marketing automation, SEO, social media skills, etc. yet you also mention "targeting parents and businesses that would be great partners "which hints at business development and/or sales.  Who is your target prospect(s)? and is your model B2C, B2B or B2B2C? The answers don't necessarily affect compensation as much as they do making sure you are targeting the right skill set - hiring an experienced VP of marketing and expecting them to perform biz dev and/or sales at any comp level is likely to cause problems. 

Kate Hiscox

April 24th, 2014

Why wouldn't the grunt fund work in this case? It sounds ideal for this?

Helen Adeosun

April 24th, 2014

@Rob yes this is a very specific situation the GSD is my biggest concern because other than some awesome dedicated nannies he's going to sweat!

He brings a lot to the table and has been vetted by another investor who thinks he has the chops to help me scale strategically get some of the technology in place, and build and grew the previous companies' SEO and conversion from 5-7k  to 40k monthly visitors.

We've started as a B2C but rapidly realizing the impact our company can have is doable and desirable on a B2B B2G(overnment) scale.

I feel good about sales and probably more comfortable in that realm but it's making sure that the company can turn out a product that scales beautifully and meets the demands of our customers and students as he's done this at other companies- marketing is just one facet. I think it's making clear that this is a whole different beast and it means grunting harder than he has before without a team built exclusively around him.

Scary but I promised that this year would mean a hard push and he may be part of it.

Alright so I will report how this goes in the next 3-4 months. Any other thoughts would be appreciated!

Thank you,
Helen Adeosun