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.