NOTE: This blog post was originally written for an appeared on the NEXT Marketing Agency’s website, which is no longer in use. I am posting it here to showcase a reference to my portfolio. This post explains the writing I did for this marketing agency: Being a marketing writer / ghost blogger for a marketing agency
Being the person who got hired as the ‘one-man-show’ to do all marketing for a company can be tough. We get it. That person will likely be faced with organizational disorganization, management that puts stalls on things and not to mention limited budgets with high expectations. But the pay off can be great too. As a one person marketing department, a business could end up with less decision-making time and more marketing-execution time (granted management gives the right level of autonomy to that person). But how effective your in-house, lone-star marketer is going to be will depend on the strategies put in place and the internal organizational culture of the business. Below we’ve outlined some important principles for making the most out of a marketing position, which of course, involve both the marketer and management:
Set reasonable budgets and ‘make me proud’ goals, not ‘reach for the moon’ goals:
No one should feel pressured to turn straw into gold as part of his or her day job. Keep in mind that your company needs to give the marketer a reasonable budget to work with. This doesn’t have to be an unlimited budget, and there is no one number we can give you for what’s a good amount. It will depend on your goals.
When we say to set ‘make me proud’ goals and not ‘reach for the moon’ goals we mean this:
Figure out what is attainable and realistic for one person to accomplish in your industry and with your company’s history. Really break this down to the micro level together with your marketer (don’t decide this at a management level and then dump it on an employee). Do you want to attract five new clients this quarter? Great! What can your marketer do to achieve this for you? Go to a tradeshow? Buy some print ads? Invest in SEO? Write blog articles for your company? Re-do the Web site? Don’t forget, all of this requires mullah to actually achieve.
If your marketer has the right budget, they will have a much better chance of reaching their goals, and they will make you proud, which will make them want to do this all over again. The pat on the shoulder goes a long way, and you want to instigate that as much as possible by setting attainable goals.
If instead you say to the marketer, “I need 5 new clients by next week, here is $50, make it happen,” (excuse our exaggeration, we’re making a point) well, now that’s ‘reaching for the moon’ and expecting someone to land among the stars. Let’s face it; no one wants to land among the stars – who settles for that?
BUT on the marketer’s side, it’s important to use budgets wisely and to analyze and project and dig into the numbers. Think: ‘how will spending my boss’s money make him or her more money?’ That’s the only way to get the pat on the shoulder. Even if the goals aren’t achieved, at least everyone knows best efforts were made.
Know what your marketer is good at, what they should outsource and where to invest in training
Not everyone is going to be good at everything, so both boss and marketer need to know where the boundaries are going to be in this one person marketing department. If the marketer wants to learn something it’s ok to invest in training that person, or to let them try to figure it out. But if it’s really not a skill or area they are going to be strong in because they are just left-brained or right-brained, or cringe at the sight of computer code, or Photoshop just doesn’t ‘listen’ to them – whatever it may be – chose to outsource it.
Yes that’s right, we’re saying that even though you are paying an in-house person who is supposed to take care of all of this stuff for you, don’t expect them to be good at everything; no one is. You will save time and money by outsourcing some things to a marketing agency; the same way your administrative assistant may be ok with bookkeeping, but will not be your tax accountant, and you have to outsource that part of your business once a year.
Stop whatever you’re doing and get organized!
The most frustrating thing about being a marketing mind working with a team of non-marketers is that you can often feel isolated in your beliefs and opinions because no one will agree with you, despite your training and expertise. Marketing is a discipline and requires as much training as the computer scientist or accountant – it’s not all creative wonders and pondering thoughts. Yet, marketing is one of those areas where, in smaller companies, every ol’ Joe sitting at his desk feels he should have input. Whether it’s an argument about colour hues, the decision of what tradeshows to attend, where to find the right talent to outsource to (see above), or even what printer to use – the one person marketing department is always going to face struggles and glass walls in an organization.
The reason we titled this section around being organized and not about just letting your marketer do whatever they want, is because this comes down to processes. If you let decision-making happen by committee you will get nowhere slower. It’s ok to have input from other employees or management at the company, because they experience facets of the company that the marketer will never have the opportunity to experience (tech support anyone?).
One answer to this is to set up a project management system, or at least an agreement of how the decision-making process will be handled. Will step one be to go through management, or will step one be that the marketer should do research within the organization before coming up with a plan or project idea? Does the marketer act like management and have a veto over what other departments have to say? Should management avoid micromanaging at all costs and only be there to sign off on paperwork? Decide what works for you; there is no right or wrong answer. Once you’ve made your decision, stick to it. There is nothing more discouraging than backtracking and letting history repeat itself within your organization.
Give credit where credit is due
In addition to always giving the pat on the shoulder, consider also giving credit to your marketer for their work. Let them have authorship on your blog, tell your clients you couldn’t do it without them, and make them feel like they’re not invisible. The more they feel like they’re acknowledged, the more they will be invested in your business, because they will get to ‘own’ their work – meaning their sense of pride in what they produce will be just as ambitious as your own. You always want a team member who wants your business to succeed as much as you do.
While there may not be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer to many of the above points, the important thing is to keep your options flexible. Tweak until you find out what works best in your organization. Also consider that many of the above points come down to personality, meaning that if your marketer quits and is replaced by someone else, they may prefer another method, or you may find different strengths and weaknesses that will adjust where you outsource, how you make decisions with other departments, and so on. Always be adaptable!