Marketing your business is not hard. I believe it is the ‘people’ who make it difficult. And with people comes the needs for succinct as well as clear communication.
This communication needs to include:
- Goals. What are you trying to achieve and by when?
- Tactics. What do you need to do to achieve your goals?
- Vision. What is the bigger picture here?
- Resources. What kind of support do you need to hit your goals?
From there, find a centralized place to document your processes, your execution schedule, the tools you’re using, and make sure people know what they’re responsible for.
Getting organized can feel overwhelming, but if you start with that, you’ll find that your ability to execute will come a lot easier.
So what makes marketing hard again?
I think this will resonate with a lot of marketers, but I remember working with a client who stepped in as Head of Marketing for his startup and he sarcastically said, “The problem with marketing is that everyone thinks they’re a marketer.”
I laughed and agreed. It’s true. When I was working full-time in the corporate world, I seldom encountered a company that didn’t think they were all marketers and knew best in terms of the copy, creatives, and landing pages that would convert best.
So once again, people make marketing hard.
It doesn’t have to be.
The solution: If you’re not in marketing, stop being a bottleneck. Have an open mind. Give marketing programs time to run and collect data. Everyone can sit around and be in a think tank but until you execute, you won’t know what’s working.
Unless you’re a psychic and can accurately predict what’s to come, let the data tell the story, then pivot accordingly.
There is already so much to do when it comes to running a business and more importantly, running a successful business that is driving great topline revenue with a healthy margin to work off of.
Create a clear plan
In all of my 10 plus years of doing marketing, I’ve encountered countless professionals who are hired to run marketing and don’t know how to put a marketing plan together.
When you don’t have a clear strategy in place, you then have an even harder time getting the budget you need, you don’t have a way of showing the rest of the company what you’re working towards, and more importantly, no one sees how marketing is going to contribute to growth.
Here are key elements you need to have:
- Goals with clear deadlines
- A framework to track and measure your progress (think OKRs, SMART goals, BSC, etc.)
- A deep understanding of the buyer’s journey
- The marketing mix
- The MarTech stack
- A financial model on what you predict your marketing programs will do for the business
Marketing deserves its own sales cycle too
I’ve worked with clients who have had their leadership team completely stop their marketing programs after only 1-2 months of running because they weren’t seeing a massive ROI.
Let me put this into perspective. In the B2B world of enterprise marketing and sales, we all know that sales is given at least a 6-24 month cycle to nurture and close new business.
Yet, on the other hand, marketing is given weeks to months to yield results that clearly show an ROI.
And if this doesn’t happen within a short period of time, marketing programs get cut.
This is like running a marathon and then quitting before you hit the finish line.
You know the goal. You know what you’re trying to achieve. But then 20 miles in, you decide that it’s just not working for you anymore.
“Unlimited” is not a real marketing budget
I wish I was joking, but listen folks, I have experienced certain things that I believe are worth sharing because I think it’s safe to assume that other people have encountered the same experiences too.
When marketing isn’t given a definitive budget to work with and the number is something vague like “unlimited” or “we aren’t sure” then it’s clear that the mindset walking in is also, “We don’t really believe in marketing or see how it’ll bring in revenue.”
For marketers and anyone in the C-Suite, please work to define a clear budget. You know how much you want to spend towards new hires, towards technology, towards office space, etc. so figure out marketing spend.
Marketing is an investment NOT an expense
And here we are.
How many of you have felt that marketing isn’t valued and therefore, seen as an expense?
I get it, it is necessary to cut wasteful spending, but to completely NOT invest at all in marketing the way that you need to in order to grow your business likely means you won’t be growing much at all.
The perspective that sales fixes morale and all company revenue problems is outdated and not true.
This is a short-term solution and it is also expensive because you’re hiring tons of overhead.
Just as GaryVee once said, “Sales is just bad marketing.” Listen, he’s built a $250M agency among other successful businesses off of eating his own dog food: push marketing at scale.
I think he’s onto something, and right that the companies who have been around for a long time and those who will continue to thrive are those who invest in their marketing initiatives.
Marketing isn’t this OR that, it’s this and that
If you’re active on LinkedIn especially in the marketer arena, you’ll find a ton of people fighting over demand generation being way better than lead generation.
That debate has been ongoing.
My thoughts around that? Balance. Break out your initiatives – 70% demand gen AND 30% lead gen.
What’s holding you back could be that you get too polarized about the approach to hitting the marketing goals and benchmarks against business objectives.
Instead, be flexible with your approach and stay stubborn about your goals.
Let’s wrap it up
Whether you run an entire marketing department or you are tactically executing on one initiative, know this: you don’t need to be an expert in all things marketing.
You do, however, need to make sure that you are not a bottleneck to progress.
Progress can be defined in so many different ways, but in business it’s pretty straightforward.
You know what the revenue goals are, you know where the challenges are internally and in the marketplace, so make sure that you make a strong case for your marketing efforts.
Being prepared and staying knowledgeable about your executions will help you keep inching ahead.