We spoke last time about setting yourself achievable marketing goals and the importance of setting SMART objectives. By now you will have done this and it’s time to get the ball rolling with your marketing tasks.
Do you have the right resources?
But before you go ahead, you’ll need to do a stocktake of the resources at your disposal to implement your goals. You also need to determine how you will be able to cope with any growth that your marketing generates.
Do you have enough staff to deal with an increase in growth? Do your existing staff have the right skills? All it takes is for an unexpected element to thwart your business in a second. If you don’t have the right people working for you, it doesn’t matter how many new leads you get, you won’t be able to service them.
You need to have a plan in place around what you’ll do when you start experiencing growth. This might mean you need to recruit staff – full-time, permanent or casual depending on your business. Or perhaps you might look to outsource to another company. Being prepared now, rather than being caught on the hop, can make a world of difference.
Not only do you need to plan how you’ll resource your new growth, but the marketing activity itself needs to be resourced properly. You need the right people to deliver, manage and report on your activities so you know where to invest and where to pull back, where the leads are coming from, what’s working and what isn’t.
Again, if you don’t have people on staff already with these skills you might need to recruit or outsource.
Do some analysis
Before you go spending money that you might not have on extra staff or outsourcing, make sure you properly evaluate the resources that are already at your disposal.
Do you have anyone internally who has the time and skills to manage all or some of your marketing activities? Perhaps you may need to reshuffle roles to achieve this. You should always capitalise on the strengths of your staff, so if you have a natural, savvy marketer working in a different role, perhaps you should look at allocating them new work.
Don’t forget to look externally, too. Do you have existing business relationships with any suppliers who could assist your marketing in any way? This could include anything from graphic design services through to working in strategic partnerships, to market both of your businesses in a mutually beneficial way. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box here.
Now that you’ve mapped all this out, take a look at where the gaps are. How can you fill them? Will you need to train staff up? Will you need to recruit new staff? Or will you need to outsource to a marketing agency?
Don’t overload someone’s already full plate
It’s extremely important that you don’t just allocate marketing to someone’s to-do list who already has a lot of work to do. Time and time again, I see marketing activities allocated to staff as an extra thing to do when they don’t have the time, the skills (or both) to do it.
Marketing is such an important core element of your business, you shouldn’t treat it as an afterthought. It needs to be given the credit and resources it deserves, or you’ll get average results, at best. Or no results at all, at worst.
If you’re going to have someone in-house do your marketing it’s essential that they have the time allocated to do it. If they work in another area of the business, or if they are a part-timer or a casual, you need to amend their work schedule accordingly. Allocate their other work elsewhere or increase their hours.
Great marketing takes time and effort. You need to acknowledge this.
It’s also important that the person responsible for marketing has the right skills. I see a lot of examples where marketing is just given to someone who is younger in a workplace because the assumption by management is that anyone under 25 understands managing brands online. It doesn’t! Brand management is an important element of your business, and if you have someone inexperienced and immature at the helm, you could very well be headed for social media disaster.
The person in charge of your marketing also needs to be passionate about it. While we can’t all love what we do, someone who has no interest in marketing isn’t going to get you the same results as someone who is enthusiastic about it.
If you’ve decided to go the outsourcing route, there are some important points to consider before you take on a supplier or contractor.
Do they have the skills to deliver your marketing project to a high level? Do they have previous clients you can actually talk to (not just a testimonials page on their website) who can vouch for them and support this?
Do they have the capacity to provide a high level of service? If you’ve decided to outsource because you don’t have staff with the time to dedicate to marketing, the last thing you want is to outsource to someone who has spread themselves too thinly and cannot actually allocate your time needed to do an outstanding job.
Do they communicate well? Your marketing projects will run more smoothly if they are easy to work with.
Determine who will be doing the work for you. Will it be the consultant you are dealing with, or do they have employees? Or will they outsource the work to a third party? It’s vital that you know exactly who will be doing your work.
Finally, once you know what your resources are, you need to have a budget. Your budget needs to be realistic and you need to allocate money for peoples’ time, even yours.
A lot of small to medium businesses fail because they don’t get their marketing right and don’t budget for it. Do you have money that is being allocated to another non-critical area of your business that you could divert to marketing instead?
You need to be realistic about what you can do with your budget. If you don’t have the money to run an expensive advertising campaign, don’t expect the same results from a cheaper one, for example.
It’s actually better to funnel your financial resources into marketing well in a few specific areas than spreading your funds around thinly trying to do everything. There are many ways you can do savvy marketing on a budget and get some bang for your buck, but again, you need to have the right people working for you who know exactly what they are doing.