The air is turning cooler, the leaves are beginning to fall (in some places) and now your thoughts may be turning to...PLANNING! Can you believe it? Now that we are deep into Q4, your mind may be looking forward to 2015, and you are hopefully starting your strategic planning process. Before you dive in to your annual and marketing planning, let's address a big topic - your new marketing department. Yes, I said new.
No matter your current structure, bandwidth, or results, your marketing department needs to make some adjustments. In order to develop a department that can handle the ever-changing market landscape and continually adjust to client demands, your new marketing department must take on a new form and certainly a new role in your company. Simply having a good web or social media person is not going to produce the results you need to survive and thrive. When you look at your goals for 2015, and then assess your marketing, there are some basic functions that should be supporting your growth:
- Marketing plan development
- Marketing plan ongoing updates and review
- Maintaining the relationship between marketing and sales
- Buyer persona development
- Blog writing, posting and promotion
- Email marketing
- Newsletter development and sending
- Premium content creation, along with proper inbound strategy
- Social media publishing, promotion and montoring
- Lead nurturing
- Automation and technology management
- Website maintenance
- Workflow development
- Event management, promotion and follow-up
- Finally, monitoring and measuring
The above is no small task, yet most organizations leave this list to one person or a small group. You can see why it's time to rethink your structure. Below are some items you need to consider as you evaluate and build your new marketing department.
Your internal leadership team needs to be conscious of the comany's overall strategic plan, and ensure all marketing activity is pushing the company in the same direction. Your strategic plan and marketing plan have to be in alignment. Just because it seems like a cool idea doesn’t mean it will help you hit your goals.
The other reason for having an internal leadership team is because nobody knows your business as well as you do. Outside experts can help you look at your business in a different way, but you must be involved in the marketing process to ensure success. Some of the greatest CEO’s that I know are very involved. Sure, they are busy like the rest of us, but they take active leadership roles throughout their organization's initiatives. They are great examples of leading by example. They ‘walk the walk’ and have built a tremendous team around them. This allows for everyone to work inside of their unique abilities.
Once your plan and leadership team are set, it’s now time to do a gap analysis. You most likely have some desired skills and expertise you'll need to hire. Some skills your new marketing department should have include:
- Marketing strategy
- Brand manager
- Web design & development
- Content creation
- Graphic design
- Social media
- Search engine optimization
- Tracking & analytics
WARNING: Outsourcing does not mean simply sending a check and hoping for the best. There have to be clear guidelines and expectations for both the internal team and the outsourced relationship. Our preference, and the best relationships we have when we do consulting, are companies with an extremely talented marketing manager or business development coordinator. This almost always results in a 2 + 2 = 5 scenario.
Ah technology...In 2002, Dan Tayor stated, “80% of how we will be doing business in the future hasn’t even been invented yet”. What an insightful and accurate statement! At the time of this quote, social media was in its infancy, Google was only four years old, and HubSpot was just a dream for 2 MIT students.
Whether it’s a full-blown marketing automation platform, or something simple like a CRM, do something! Automation has to be a major player in your new marketing department. There have been so many exciting advancements in marketing automation in the last few years, and many of them are affordable (sometimes free) and they will make your life so much easier.
2015 and beyond are going to require small and mid-sized businesses to market in new and innovative ways. We are just scratching the surface on the techniques and tools to come. While this sees like a daunting task, it is doable with the right strategy and a commitment to the new marketing department platform.
If you are one of those companies that knows you should be doing more online, but don’t know what to do or where to start, then click here to request our free Marketing Grader Report. It will help identify your gaps and prioritize areas for action in the coming year.