You want to hire a marketing manager and someone suggests you go to a headhunter or a Web site. You get inundated with résumés from those with degrees in marketing or backgrounds at major corporations. Unfortunately, most of these people can't fill the job.

A marketing manager in the home improvement business has the responsibility of keeping the lead pipeline full. The most appropriate applicant has usually worked for a company with “in home” salespeople. They have a feel for what will pull leads in various advertising media. They understand the kind and quality of leads the company needs, as well as the styles of the salespeople who will be issued the lead.

The ideal marketing manager will have to understand budget limitations, lead issuance, control factors, and, above all, that leads are a precious commodity. Most leads are expensive to obtain and once acquired remain viable until your company or a competitor sells the product to the prospect.

Your marketing manager has to understand database management, confirmation and rehash scripting, and how to negotiate with the media, as well as event sources and SFI relationships with big box and other similar “brand” sources. If a call center is involved, the ability to hire, train, and supervise others is a necessity.

You won't find a “diamond” without the experience I've just defined. However, prepare yourself for training and control in the early stages, because marketing managers in home improvement organizations are still an enigma.

And be sure to write the job description before you hire. Detail such issues as expected performance, size of budget (including the cost of the marketing manager), and territory and product limitations. Compensate with a base salary and incentives for meeting budget requirements. Finally, evaluate these three considerations regarding applicants: Can they do the job? Will they do the job? Do they fit? —Dave Yoho ( is president of the oldest and largest consulting group serving the home improvement industry. He will present seminars on “New Effective Lead Getting,” “Creating Your Price Formula,” and “How to Sell Value vs. Price” at the Remodeling Show on Oct. 6 and 7, 2004.