Let’s get real. It’s brutal out there. With enterprise deals stalled, financings deferred, and revenue projections readjusted, the tech industry is undergoing massive layoffs. As of publishing this post, there are more than 20 million people unemployed in the US and once lauded companies like Uber, Lyft and AirBnB have made massive cuts. There are even aggregated lists of laid off candidates including this one with 11k+ tech candidates, and this one featuring Black and LatinX technologists. As you review these lists, you’ll realize that many candidates have extensive marketing and community experience.
It’s not surprising that the travel and restaurant industries are taking a beating. But as with every major downturn, it’s often marketing and community roles that get cut. Some of the most affected roles at this time include those related to events and field marketing, evangelism and public speaking, brand awareness and social media, and content.
So how do marketers and community leaders retain their roles? They not only have to drive leads and ROI, but they need to report these efforts regularly to product, sales, and exec teams. That said, this is a global pandemic. In some organizations, widespread layoffs were completely unavoidable. So what’s next for marketers and community leaders?
Why Dev Startups Might Be Right for You
LinkedIn has a page of companies who are currently hiring and among them are online grocers, delivery startups, ecommerce retailers, and of course dev tool/infrastructure companies like Atlassian, HashiCorp, Okta, New Relic, and Stripe. While every industry is certainly going to be affected by any economic downturn, the reason enterprise software and developer companies have been somewhat insulated, is that they’re intended to make developers more productive.
At a time when most companies are cutting or reassessing headcount, software can alleviate some of the burden on remaining team members. While it may seem counterintuitive to join an early developer startup at this time, here are some reasons you might consider it.
- AUTONOMY:Early-stage startup companies often offer a great sense of autonomy. You design your own role, goals, and eventually, your own department. As long as you stay plugged into the product’s positioning and messaging, and stay within a reasonable budget, most founders will let you experiment towards defining the most effective marketing and community channels. As you bring visibility to an otherwise early and unknown company, you’re also raising your own profile, solidifying strong processes, and contributing to the company’s culture.
- VARIETY: It’s unlikely in the early-stage that you’ll be hired for the single function of owning events, or owning display ads, or owning the company Twitter account. Early startups need you to identify the right tactics to meet goals regardless of your favorite activities. This means you’re automatically required to be a Swiss army knife to get your job done. The right candidates like variety, creativity, and can adapt to meet the needs of the org.
- OWNERSHIP: Great companies are acutely aware of their burn rate, operational expenses, and the contributions of each team member. When you’re working at an early-stage startup, you often have more visibility into how your work directly impacts company-wide goals. You’re not just a cog in a huge company machine. Instead, your successes and failures have a significant impact on the overall company.
- UPSKILLING & LEADERSHIP: The act of building and scaling a successful go-to-market engine from scratch is tough, but it’s also career-defining. The first marketer or community person designs their own path to leadership. If you take pride in owning projects from start to finish, you document your process well, and you’re a strong mentor to community ambassadors and junior staff, you might be a first marketer today, but a Director or VP tomorrow.
- DEVELOPER COMMUNITY: Developer communities are the best. While they aren’t easy to win over, when you do, you’ll meet some of the most loyal, helpful, and creative customers/contributors of all time. There are few communities like this. For example, loyal developer company customers also contribute countless hours to open source projects, feature requests and ideation, bug bounties and fixes, forum answers and how-to videos, podcasts and related news, and meetups and other online events. Great developer communities take on a life of their own.
Who is Hiring Developer Marketers and Community Managers? (as of May 2020)
A number of Heavybit’s companies are hiring marketers and community professionals to join their teams. Some of those open listings include:
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