Once upon a time, a marketing leader was hired to boost sales for a company. The company paid this person well. However, they did not supply the marketer with any of the digital tools needed to succeed, or the necessary support team across development, design, and support, since they invested all their budget in the marketer’s salary. While this marketing leader was a great team-builder and organizer, like most marketers, he wasn’t an expert in every niche of marketing strategy or implementation.
Because his leaders did not understand his role or allow his knowledge to have any influence on company decisions, he (and his bosses) were frustrated at his lack of success. Like most companies, they poured the majority of their resources into engineering and development with little to none dedicated to marketing to obtain the necessary tools. They made a common mistaken assumption: they believed that simply hiring a marketing person to “do the marketing” was all that was required.
The Current State of Marketing
The marketing landscape resembles the mythological shapeshifter, constantly evolving, changing, and becoming more complex as consumers rely on a multitude of devices to consume media from various sources (mobile, social, billboards, TV, radio, web, email, news, etc.). Marketing professionals who desire to be successful will find it necessary to master a panorama of tactics, skills, and tools. It will literally require a new way of thinking.
Consider an example: During the 1950’s, the construction of the interstate highway system virtually changed the face of America. Travel patterns changed. McDonald’s saw this coming and still today there are golden arches off most interstate exits. The Internet is the modern “highway” consumers travel.
Instead of paved ribbons connecting homes and businesses, we now have search engines that show the quickest route to digital companies. Those who become masters of SEO practices get their products and services before everyone who digitally drives by.
Instead of asphalt roadways that take us to our favorite local movie theater, we now navigate to YouTube in our pajamas. Marketers who realize the huge appeal of YouTube can showcase their products in numerous ways.
Instead of skipping down the street to our friend’s house, we socialize over Facebook. Wise marketers have learned how to insert their own agenda into the conversation in ways both subtle and overt.
Fostering community relations along this new media highway is even more important than the community relationships found in the neighborhoods of a bygone era. More than just corporate window dressing, commitment to the local and global community is now viewed as an integral part of core business strategy. Companies who embody this relational aspect attract and retain top employees and also gain a positive standing among consumers. Positive connections to the community mean a boost in the bottom line.
Just as the modern interstate highway contributed to modernization and automation in automobiles, the Internet has made possible a wide variety of tools to automate many marketing tasks. HubSpot, MailChimp, Google Analytics, Mixpanel, WordPress, Asana, Trello, Eloqua, Infusionsoft, and Marketo all provide the capacity to better share with, collaborate for, analyze, inform, and educate target audiences. The right tools for the right tasks save your company hundreds of man-hours in time and resources.
What is the Root Cause for the Lack of Resources Given to Marketing Departments?
The absolute root cause for failure is a gross lack of understanding of the needs demanded by today’s marketing environment. Consequently, marketing takes a back seat to other company departments such as IT, sales, or engineering. It is now impossible to hire a “marketing person” that can do it all and expect them to succeed. And yet, this practice continues.
This lack of understanding breeds impatience and criticism from the executive team of the company. The only budget available is for the marketing leader’s salary, with nothing left for tools or a team. There is no tracking, no lead analysis, no data available to begin such vital functions. Sales are not climbing in the first months after the marketing leader comes on board, so the leadership becomes disgruntled. The CEO who fancies himself/herself a marketing expert, although never having done the job, fails to realize that modern marketing is a long term investment. And because the CEO and others without marketing knowledge are in control of plotting the company’s business strategy, with little or no input allowed from the marketing leader, marketing problems only grow worse.
How Can Companies Solve This Problem?
When your company realizes a comprehensive marketing mix of strategies and professionals is integral to its survival, it’s time to take a deep breath and reevaluate resource allocation, personnel, and processes. Here are some suggestions:
Before you ever bring on a marketing leader, solidify your marketing goals. What does your company wish to achieve through its marketing strategy? Research what a client is worth to your company and work backward on metrics you need to see.
Establish a budget that fits within the dollar amounts you realistically can achieve. Look at your processes and staff and see if you have the right apps and tools your marketer needs to be successful. If not, can you afford to get them these tools?
Perhaps the most cost-effective solution for your company is to contract a third party agency to provide niched marketing solutions to solve the daily problems of your marketing department. For more about this, read how we view the marketing department of the future.
Marketing’s core mission is to connect with key customers where they are and deliver targeted messages about products and services that are relevant, timely and compelling. However, as technology advances and customers are browsing the web, interacting on social media, viewing videos on small screens and relying on technology to enhance their lives, marketing needs to be there, too. For most mid- and small-sized businesses, staying current and relevant in an industry is enough of a challenge. Responding to additional changes in marketing can overwhelm even the most tightly run organizations. It’s time to borrow a concept from IT and use Managed Marketing as a Service (MMaaS) to stay agile and adapt to the latest marketing trends.
New marketing solutions follow the IT model
A managed IT service delivers a collection of benefits to its clients. An outsourced solution ends the break-fix model of calling in an IT service to bring a system or functionality back online. You’ve likely worked in an office that outsourced its IT – where systems and equipment were maintained externally and system issues were monitored to prevent costly repairs and downtime. Agile businesses rely on this model to keep their technology up and running and to update their equipment and functionality. Outsourcing this work allows the business to have access to a team of experts when their business’s budget and size wouldn’t allow them to have these experts on the full-time payroll.
Marketing has become a multi-niched industry and thus can follow this same modeled approach.
The Value of MMaaS
This is a boon for small- and mid-sized businesses, who can benefit by taking advantage of this outsourcing model called MMaaS. Like its IT cousin, MMaaS gives businesses access to a highly skilled team without the expense of these experts’ annual salaries.
The benefits of an MMaaS service are:
Brands may still complete some marketing efforts in-house, but time-consuming projects or those that require specialist training or sky high software expenses can be outsourced, freeing up business leaders to explore methods, platforms, venues and audiences to gauge a project’s long-term effectiveness. The flexibility MMaaS provides ensures profitability, while reaching customers in new ways.
Effective Marketing Outsourcing to Accommodate Businesses’ Needs
Many teams hold a misconception that outsourcing is a sign of weakness or even laziness. On the contrary — marketing team diversity provides a competitive edge over organizations who hire one or two people to perform all marketing functions. Consider your current limitations like your team’s access to workflow software. Are you satisfied with the tools your company uses for campaign management, marketing automation, web analytics and standard CRM? Pricing for Salesforce Marketing Cloud starts at $400 per month for email, mobile, and web marketing and Social Studio is even more at $1,000 per month.
I’m an advocate for MMaaS as a turn-key solution that frees up a brand’s time and capital to focus on the core mission: providing their customers with high-quality goods and services.
Picking a Marketing Agency
Just as your business evaluates purchases and new hires, so too should your business have a process for selecting MMaaS for outsourced work. Check the agency’s references with a call to previous clients. Ask them about their experiences, how easy it was to work with the agency and how committed the agency is to timely delivery.
Ask your agency contact about their processes. Verify that their workflows are intuitive and that they fit well with how your business operates. Request the agency provide you with samples of their work. View their blog to see if the agency blogs regularly with engaging, useful posts.
Ask yourself these questions: Does the agency understand what you want, are they capable of the work and are they a good fit for your company culture? Answer yes to these questions and you can feel good about contracting with them for your outsourced marketing work.
Build Your Business with Managed Marketing Solutions
As you continue to grow your business, your focus should be on continuously improving your product or service; as well as hiring the right people. The time you spend outside your brand’s core mission takes away from your core mission, making it a wise decision to leverage the power and flexibility of MMaaS.
Want to learn more about how your organization can leverage MMaaS or Marketing Solutions? Contact us here