Who here loves office politics?

<sarcasm>What? No one? Crazy. How can that be?</sarcasm>

So imagine this scenario: you’re a hard working marketer churning the sales & marketing machine. You put in 60 hour work week, not because you care about the company’s product or vision per se, but you really deeply care about what you do and pride in your work. Your efforts result in 7 figure sales but you’re pushed aside when it comes time for promotion.

So, that story is actually mine.

I happened to work for a mid size company that had tons of sales & marketing people, yet did close to zero online marketing. I came in and literally boosted their online sales lead generation by a factor of few thousand %.

In fact, it became their #1 sales channel when I left. Their inside sales team members even tag teamed me to try and persuade me to not quit because they had such easy time closing the leads I was sending them.

Why did I leave?

Because when it was time for “career assessment”, apparently I didn’t fit the bill as their VP of marketing position. My first gut reaction, “oh, it’s cuz I don’t look like YOU people!” (It was predominantly white people there.)

They hired some old marketing MBA dude who told me TV and news ads were critical to any company’s success. He looked & smelled like he sold cheap perfume at a mall.

But more importantly, the dude went to the same church as the CEO’s wife.

Whatever the reason may be, I left. I am a big believer in “eat what you kill”. I didn’t kill… i slaughtered for them, but they wanted me to eat peanuts. So I left. Few months later, I checked their website and the roster shrank. Was it because I left? But who knows.. market conditions, change in management…. but I’d like to think it’s because I left.

So why on earth do people still hire dumb marketers who think the only way to make more money is to spend more money?

Simple: HiPPos.

No.. not a “hippo”. Highest Paid Person in the Organization.

They make the decisions, regardless of how little he/she knows the subject… regardless of what the right decision is.. regardless of what their people them..

Now, are you a HiPPo / person in charge of hiring? Forget MBAs. Remember, you can surround yourself with people who know & do nothing and suck your business dry… or you can build a team that wins.

Here’s where your next VP of marketing should come from:
1) Direct response marketer

Hello? This is 2014 not 1914. Offline media is about as alive as Michael Jackson.

Hire someone who’s had experience in direct response marketing – an affiliate, a lead generator, a performance marketer, etc. Someone who’s had experience using his/her own money to run their own campaigns is even a plus.

Every marketer, in my opinion, needs to tell you how much, down to dollars and cents – what the cost per X is.


2) Growth hacker

I don’t know why on earth silicon valley people coin these ridiculous terms.. but a growth hacker is someone who does both online marketing & coding.

For example, incentivizing people to share your link on the thank you page (for example)… or using your users as your marketers (like affiliates), like how DropBox & Groupon did.

In fact, I wrote a growth hacking tool that taps into email & social that’s beginning to get some market traction.

How? I code AND do online marketing. It’s not just “two birds, one stone” idea… (no you’re not going to ask him/her to code AND do online marketing). It’s a synergy that comes only when you can understand both.


3) Self-taught entrepreneurs

The BEST hires I’ve had were self taught dropouts. Programmers, marketers, sales people… the ones who were the strongest were almost always the hugriest too.

Rand Fishkin from Moz said, “attitude determines altitude”.

I once hired a phd graduate from USC who couldn’t even code 1/2 as well a San Jose State University dropout, who I paid FRACTION for.

Books can only teach you so much as life does.

OH and trust me.. losing money is about the greatest teacher anyone can have.

It doesn’t matter if this self taught persons succeeded. Hire him for his passion, drive, and willingness to learn.

Shoemoney taught me to build a list with my own newsletter. (And yes, you should join my kick ass newletter where I write about growth hacking)

It made a huge difference to my business and that’s only because I was and still am moldable .

By Taewoo Kim

TaeWoo is an accomplished online marketer with 10+ years of experience in affiliate marketing, lead generation, SEM, PPC, and media buying. You can follow him on his blog at FreshSuperCool.com or on Twitter @TaeWooKim.

24 thoughts on “Why Do Companies Hire Douchebag Marketers”
  1. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been passed over when I truly deserved a promotion. It is so frustrating, makes me want to just throw in the towel sometimes.

    1. If the entrepeurial dream is knocking at your door, you must answer. Life is short. Take some risks.

  2. I used to work for a company selling phone book ads (yes still in the 2000s-crazy I know) and I kept telling them things were going digital. No one would listen for two years and then finally one day the woke up and it was almost too late. But they finally decided that I was worth hearing, I help implement the training and everything. And then of course with it being too late the layoffs started. Despite being part of what was helping them barely hold on, I was let go. Talk about total shit.

    1. Amen. Hehe.. j/k.

      I know plenty of Asian assholes too. Retardation is universal. It knows no color.

  3. You are SO much better off man. I’m glad you had the balls to walk away from a shitty situation. I’m in a position where I know I’m appreciated but there’s some much other shit going on I can’t decide if it is time to re-evaluate my career or not. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Dude Hippos are seriously evil. They kill a ton of people every year. So you’re analogy has more to it than you even know!

    1. Both hippos and HiPPos are very fat and ugly, and scare people off.

      Ok that was rude….

      … to the hippo. They’re fun.

  5. I’m lucky enough to work for a very small company (less than 10 people), but we STILL have office politics due to seniority and the HiPPos in the office. It doesn’t matter if there is a better or smarter way from the new person, if even one tenured person isn’t on board the idea just dies. I fear eventually that it’ll keep us from having the forward momentum to keep advancing the company or worse shut things down all together.

  6. My dad owns his own business and the way he does things is straight out of the dark ages. He’s been in business for 30+ years but JUST got a computer last year and still hardly uses it. I try to help him with marketing as he complains things are slowing down (I work in the marketing field). But be is just so hard to convince that things have changed and the old way of doing things just isn’t going to cut it.

    1. Yes, status quo. #1 reason why companies die. That’s why startups are constantly killing off established companies

  7. Awesome article.
    I can really relate to the working in an organization just like that.
    There’s nothing that comes close to being your own boss when I think back and compare now to the corporate years..
    It’s a tougher path to take to beat your own way and you’ll batter through the jungle with a machete for at least 2 years, maybe more, maybe less…
    But if you’re prepared to do that you’ll be laughing at those corporate fools that dared doubt you.

  8. I can definitely relate to everything you wrote. I know a few people that need a kick in the butt! I’ll be sharing this post with them.. Thanks.

  9. Very good to hear from someone who has experienced the moron syndrome! Some people and companies just don’t have the “vision” of openness of new ideas. They think they are protecting their insecure world.
    Great article teaching the lesson of “new ideas”!

    Tim Wayne

  10. I like blogging, too. However, I am still questioning why I cannot attract many audience after using many tips to improve my blog. Sometimes I was disappointed and wanted to close my blog.

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