Is your small marketing department staffed to handle all of your business' needs? If you answered yes then you're probably not marketing as efficiently as you think. Here's why.
Generally speaking, your marketing department needs to do two things extremely well:
Create - Come up with stories, special offers, information sessions or other types of content to get your product or service on the radar of your target customers.
Promote - Make sure that the content you create actually gets seen by the people who need to see it. Not just branded content (things you create that live on channels you own like your website), but paid content as well. Content you pay to have seen is very important in an age where there is no shortage of content. Promoting content means coming up with tactics in places where your target market already is like guest-blogging on blogs they follow, offers in relevant publications or speaking engagements at events they'll be at. The ability to pay-to-play in the marketing world is quickly becoming the divide separating the kids from the grown-ups.
Your small marketing department's ability to do those two things well is what brings in business. So... just how streamlined is your department's marketing operations? You know, you're ability to create and promote content efficiently as well as support other departments and management? Do designers, developers, editors and coordinators really help you with creating and promoting content? Just because you can have people that can do those things or the ability to hire them internally doesn't mean you should. There's a good chance you have bottlenecks hurting your marketing operations and slowing down your ability to actually do marketing.
Computan serves as the back-end marketing support team for many short-handed marketing departments and marketing agencies. We've seen the good, bad and ugly when it comes to marketing operations. Here's what we notice in the best short-handed marketing departments and agencies:
They run like startup software companies - If you've ever got an app built or worked with a software company you know how quickly they work. Sure, there is a blueprint document outlining requirements, but often times that document gets totally deviated from or changed based on new requirements or a new approach to solving the problem. This is called agile software development. Successful marketing departments do 'agile marketing' extremely well. They are quick to test a concept or campaign and quick to change it if it doesn't do what's needed. Agile marketing teams fail often in order to succeed often. It's not uncommon to see a marketing team promote the same ebook two different ways and to two different markets to see which one captures more leads. Or, run the same event to two different demographics and evaluate which one gets more traction. Building software and building marketing campaigns nowadays are very similar - there is no finish line and construction is fluid. It's not like building a house where every part of the project is documented to the letter and deviations result in change orders. Great marketing departments get that. This ebook outlines the agile marketing process and how you can use it to streamline your marketing operations.
Hire Properly - The best marketing departments hire people that create content and know where/how to promote it. Great departments are staffed with industry experts in whatever business they are working in. That's how they know what stories to create and where to promote. The VP of marketing for a chain of steakhouses won't need a cross-country tour to 'connect with the demographic' of their target customer and probably won't pitch PETA for a guest-blog opportunity either. These people are hired for their vision and intimate knowledge of the business and where it fits in their market. They also know where they stand against their competitors.
Agencies know that they need to be as good, fast and cheap as possible. It's not uncommon to see great, modern agencies look for talent in remote areas and allow their people to telecommute entirely. This helps them avoid paying heavy wages. Plus, their customers benefit from support in multiple time zones. Are all the best graphic designers in New York? Best programmers in San Francisco? Not entirely. There are lots of brilliant people all over the world that agencies can rely on to keep their own marketing operations efficient and costs down. Two things their customers demand from them.
Blend Talent - The best marketing structure involves a partnership between a small internal department and an agency. The internal department focuses entirely on creating and promoting while the agency is leveraged to streamline marketing operations. Just because the internal department has certain capabilities (design, web development, programming, film editing etc;) doesn't mean it should bear the burden to do it. Those are back-end, labor-intensive processes that will take departmental time away from marketing. They also aren't directly in-line with a business' overall goals from its marketing department.
Just because your marketing department has the resources and budget to hire everything you need in house doesn't mean you should. After all, with great marketing power needs to come great marketing responsibility.
About the Author
Sajeel Qureshi is the Vice President of Operations at Computan. Computan helps short-handed marketing departments, businesses and marketing agencies streamline marketing operations by providing back-end support. He has a degree in business administration from St. Bonaventure University, and an MBA from Eastern Illinois University.