Marketing executives in every industry face similar challenges. Sometimes it's downsizing or rightsizing as some will call it, and other times it's budget cuts and workflow adjustments. Either way, your job moving forward as a marketing team will be challenging to say the least. What's a marketing executive to do when their team is less than full strength, the budget is not robust enough to support the marketing plan and the workflow is just not functioning the way you think it should? This is a common dilemma believe it or not. Here are 6 tips to help you figure out how to navigate around this challenging situation.
1. Determine what team member skills are absolute must-haves
Are there skills you just can't live without? Can your team learn new skills that will be suffice until the budget/staff limitations turn back around? These are questions you must ask and think about quickly. Most like you have someone on your staff that can wear several hats and is willing to do that. Action Step: Make a list of the top 5-10 skills that your marketing department must have. Then start to divide and concur with the resources you have left.
2. How can your team accomplish some of the same tasks with different tools that will take less time?
I must admit, as a long-time agency guy, I did not instantly gravitate to some of the online creative tools when I first saw them. But now I am convinced they can save tons of time and in most cases can save time and money for everyone on your marketing team. Here are just a few tools I absolutely love and you will too once you get to see how they can help you accomplish what you want quickly. Pexels, Canva, Piktochart, fiverr, Slate and themeforest.
3. What tasks or services are you involved in can be removed that will minimally effect the sales pipeline?
Okay, let's face it, every company and department has something that just isn't needed any longer. You know, those things that are nice to have but not really imperative. For instance, my department was paying for some online training for a few years. It was great, but not necessary. Naturally, it got the axe when we needed to tighten the belt. Yes, it was nice to use, when we had time, but it's time to make adjustments.
4. Are there agency-level tasks your team can learn so that hard costs can be reduced?
If you are part of a marketing department and also using an outside agency to help you accomplish some things that you just can't do, that totally normal. However, when this is happening, take the time to learn from that agency to see how they are doing their job. Ask lots of questions and do some research on your own. Pretty soon you will see that what they're doing probably doesn't take a brain surgeon to understand. Sometimes marketing teams are threatened by agencies coming in and doing some of the necessary work. Here's a tip: Look at this situation as a one-on-one training from an expert. Your time with them will provide your team with valuable skills.
5. Take a look at your existing digital tools and determine which ones can be maximized even more
Maybe you can ditch a SAAS annual fee and accomplish some of the same tasks with an existing toolset your team already owns? For instance, if your team is using a marketing automation tool but you are also using WordPress for your website. Take advantage of the WordPress features and plug-ins and soon you will realize that you may come close to accomplishing similar tasks without spending top dollar for automation. Or, instead of going across the country for training, try hopping on LinkedIn, Slideshare and YouTube. There is a great deal of helpful marketing content there that will sharpen your team's skills.
6. Re-imagine your marketing plan
With fewer resources, your marketing plan will have a hard time functioning properly. Okay, now that we have that ugly thought out of the way, what do we do now? The problem is, your sales team may not get the qualified leads they need. It's time to think about ways to remove expensive services and add new ways to accomplish the same end result. This is not an easy job, however, I have experienced this many times and with today's digital tools, both free and paid, there are lots of choices. You just may be surprised at how much time and money you can save with just a few tweaks of your marketing plan. This also works well for staff and their workflow. Old-school ways of producing marketing are going bye-bye and new ways to design, publish, shoot/edit video and produce both traditional and digital content has become much easier. Take advantage of the tools you have to work with and save both time and money. This does appear to be the new norm for today's marketing teams.