Working at a tech startup is appealing for many people, and for good reason. You get to be part of an exciting company culture, you have more opportunities for growth and improvement, and you get to sit across the boardroom table from the innovative entrepreneurs that are leading the charge.
Needless to say, the desire to be involved with a tech startup is completely understandable – even if you aren’t an engineer. Luckily, as you’re already aware, these ventures don’t just need tech-savvy employees. These startups also offer non-tech positions that run the gamut, including marketing startup jobs, business development jobs, sales jobs, operations jobs and account executive jobs, to name a few.
Is There Space for Non-Tech Positions in the Tech Startup Industry?
There’s somewhat of a stigma in the tech world – whether it’s in Silicon Valley or London’s Silicon Roundabout – that the people who wind up in these positions are those who just weren’t smart enough to cut it as an engineer. That’s simply not true.
These non-tech jobs contribute greatly to startups, even if they aren’t actually technical in nature. For example, 6/10 of all London startup jobs listed on Angel.co are for non-tech positions (marketing startup jobs mainly). When we dive deeper into London’s tech startups existing workforce the stats speak for themselves; in startups with 500+ employees, 74% hold non-tech positions, while startups that have <100 to 500 employees report that an average of 73% are non-tech.
As John Lilly, former CEO of Mozilla, explains in this article, tech startup teams can be divided into two categories:
- Team One dedicates their time, attention, and expertise to the product, engineering, design, and growth.
- In contrast, Team Two really exists to defend and support Team One. These support functions include everything from legal and operations to sales and customer service and are necessary to build out the organization as a whole.
With that in mind, here are three things these marketing startup jobs bring to the table.
The Critical Functions of Marketing Roles
1. Traction and Growth
Engineers and developers should be great at what they do. But, if you put them in charge of spreading the word about the business? Well, you probably shouldn’t anticipate stellar results.
Marketing activities – be they digital, growth or content, as well as PR – are crucial for increasing awareness of a brand and business, and that increased recognition brings in more customers and investors; always good news for a startup. If you’re in a marketing or communications role, you’re tasked with the challenge of getting the product in front of as many eyeballs as you can, as well as keeping those eyeballs there. While it may fall to the ‘techies’ to create the product, it will be sitting dormant and unknown until the marketing and communications team introduce it to the world, and all the new customers that come with it.
2. Revenue & Retention
Yes, a successful tech startup needs a product. However we all know that the business world doesn’t subscribe to a “build it and they will come” type of philosophy. You need someone to market and sell that product in order to grow profits and scale the business. And you also need someone to interact with customers in order to keep them happy, and in turn attract new ones, which increases revenue even further.
As has been said before, if a tech startup was only filled with tech roles, they’d have a product… and that’s it. Quite simply, with nobody getting that product to market, there’d be no revenue. And that’s a pretty crucial component of a successful business.
3. Business Support and Data Analysis
Keeping customers happy is crucial for a startup. Since it’s a relatively new business, satisfying and retaining customers isn’t just nice, it’s necessary. But, while tech-savvy team members are responsible for building the product, they have very little interaction with the end users.
This is where the marketing startup jobs come in. They provide top-notch support to both customers and their very own team members. Their conversations and interactions with users arms them with insider knowledge that they can share with the development team in order to constantly tweak and improve the product. Their support of the organization as a whole helps to foster the infamous startup work culture you hear so much about.
Not only this, but your marketing startup jobs should play a large part in deciding what should be built – based on market research and analysis – before the ‘techies’ start creating anything at all.
The Tech Startup Ecosystem is a Non-Tech World!
Even though the word “tech” is in the name, there’s no doubt that it takes all kinds of employees to make a tech startup function. No piece of the puzzle is more important than the other. Instead, they all fit together in order to create one thriving whole.
Don’t let anybody treat you as if you’re inferior or unimportant because of your non-tech job. You’re contributing to the actual success of your tech startup—even if you know nothing about code.
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