By Lauren Hong
Last week, I came upon a job posting from a company looking to hire a “marketing associate.” This person would be tasked with developing a big picture marketing strategy, managing day-to-day marketing tasks, answering the phone, and manning the front desk -- not to mention that they expected them to be qualified in working within Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) regulations.
Now, color me cynical, but I’m quite certain this person doesn’t exist. Because here’s the thing: if you’re a strong strategist experienced with FINRA, you’re overqualified to answer the phone and man the front desk. Likewise, if you’re a skilled people person who’s used to answering the phone and greeting people at the door, you’re most likely not enthralled with the idea of running the company’s overall marketing strategy.
See where I’m going? Yet it comes down to this: so often, a small business’ marketing gets lumped in with other tasks, taking the focus off the marketing that’s going to generate leads, nurture relationships, and bring traffic in the door.
Unfortunately for you, business owner, it means your marketing dollars are likely being massively misspent.
The myth of the one-man marketing team
Similarly, many-a-small business will also find themselves delegating all marketing tasks -- from the big picture strategy to the graphic for that tweet -- to one person. Again, you’re risking a misspend of marketing dollars, as your marketing expert most likely isn’t well-versed in graphic design, video editing, or website development. So, what’s a business owner to do?
Build the perfect marketing team
Like many startups aim to launch a minimum viable product, let’s look at what your minimum viable marketing team might look like:
- Strategist: the big picture thinker who gets buy-in from other key players in the business to craft a multi-year strategy that supports overall business goals (revenue increases, lead generation, community growth, etc.)
- Creative director: oversees the creative roles on the team, working largely in a project management role that ties the roles below together.
- Graphic designer: understands the brand and can articulate it through different design pieces, from direct mail to digital elements.
- Copywriter: understands the brand and can articulate it through copy on ads, websites, email campaigns, blog posts, and more.
- Web developer: takes the brand vision and brings it to life online with a fine understanding of user navigation and functionality.
- Multimedia manager: directs all digital assets such as videos, podcasting, and more.
- Social media strategist/Community manager: crafts content and manages the online community around the brand’s social channels.
There’s a reason lawyers and doctors have specialties: you don’t want the same lawyer drawing up your real estate contract as the one defending you in a personal injury suit, just like you don’t want the podiatrist performing brain surgery. The same goes for your marketing staff: the same person shouldn’t be answering the phones while writing the code and copy that power your lead generation form on your website.
Overwhelmed? Don’t be. Even if you don’t have the financial bandwidth to bring these specialties in-house, you have a very fine alternative option: hire an outsourced marketing team.
Outsource your marketing
Outsourcing isn’t a cop-out: it’s a strategic business move that’ll put the focus back on making your marketing work. So, when you find yourself in any of the following situations, consider looking outside your office walls for talent:
- Your marketing just isn’t getting done. The best marketing is consistent marketing, and consistency requires discipline and time. Sometimes you have the skills, but you simply don’t have the time.
- You don’t have the skills in house. On the flip side, sometimes it’s the skills that are lacking. You might very well know that blog posts with images get 94% more views than those without, but if you don’t have a graphic designer on the team that can source or create the best images for you, it simply won’t be as effective.
- Your lead generation is non-existent. “We have too many leads!” -- said no business owner, ever. But what we’ve found with many owners who come to us looking for marketing support is that lead generation has come to a halt or was never really a successful endeavor in the first place.
- You don’t have the money to hire a full, in-house team. Finally, you might very well understand marketing and what it takes to get it done right, but you just don’t have the budget to hire specialists to build even that minimum viable team.
If any of the above resonate with you, it’s time to consider hiring the marketing team that can make it better.
Benefits of an outsourced marketing team
Outsourcing your marketing will do a couple key things for you: it’ll give you access to the specialists you need to get the job done right, it’ll allow you to expand your company without taking on additional full-time employees, and it’ll give your marketing new life. Let’s explore that last one a bit:
Much like a writer needs a second set of eyes, the marketing organization often needs a fresh perspective. While you and your employees know your company best, those outside the organization can often lend new ideas on how to position a story, what will make your brand more cohesive, and what will generate leads. Yes, this comes with the expertise you’ll gain by outsourcing, but it also comes from opening your minds to new ideas from those just getting to know your brand.
Outsourced marketing done right
At Out & About, we’ve had the pleasure of lending our specialists to organizations as their outsourced marketing function for years. Here are just a few of those success stories:
1. We helped a local outpatient treatment center go from working in a coffee shop with no name to 300% growth, expanding their team and their offerings. We did this by working with them on website design and development, brand management, graphic design for a new logo and collateral, award submission, event planning, and other ongoing support.
2. We acted as the outsourced design and development team for an e-commerce site, building a new site that saw a record-breaking launch in both page views and sales.
3. We got our PR specialists working for a financial services firm, securing five media opportunities within one month of us doing media outreach. In addition, we now oversee their overall marketing strategy, joining their former siloes so all their efforts work toward the same goal and achieve a higher ROI.
4. We helped a digital agency swamped by internal work to get out from behind the computer and in front of the community through print and online publications, a guest blogger program, and six awards in one year.
When you outsource your marketing, results are the rules, more than the exceptions.
Get your marketing back in action
As a business owner, it’s time to stop wishing your marketing was more effective when you’re not blessed with the time, skills, or budget for it to be so. Make it happen by outsourcing it to pros who will get to know your brand and take your business to the next level. (And take the stress off that all-star employee who can go back to focus on what they were hired for!