Chances are, if you’re a one person marketing department, you feel a lot like this:
Why an octopus? Because you’re constantly juggling 101 things at a time. Yet those around you probably perceive you to be more like this:
Why? Because they don’t realize how much your your role entails, like:
- Establishing a marketing plan
- Creating and managing a marketing budget
- Acting as CMO, creative director and project manager
- Ordering pens
- Overseeing strategy, messaging, branding, content, design, SEO, and web development
- Lead generation and lead nurturing
- Website maintenance
- Reordering pens
- PR and events
- Making the sales team and CEO happy
- Ordering marketing materials, and of course, more pens…
They just don’t get it, do they?
They only see the the fruits of your labor, not the complex process of planting, watering, fertilizing, weeding and pruning the tree that created that fruit. And they wonder why it takes so long to arrive.
What’s a lonely, one person marketing department to do?
Here are some strategies that helped me when I was in a similar role:
Establish marketing’s most important 3-5 KPIs.
With input from your leadership and sales team, hone in on the most important KPIs for which you are responsible. It’s easy for others around you to get caught up in marketing tactics and lose sight of the bigger picture, wanting to jump on the latest marketing fad.
The buy-in from your organization on your goals will serve as an anchor you can reference over and over again when new requests come in.
Create your marketing plan, budget, and strategies with only those KPIs in mind.
Again, you’ll want to get input and buy-in from your team here. Just make sure that every strategy, tactic and line item in your marketing plan somehow ties into your KPIs.
This seems obvious, but with new platforms, apps, and tactics popping up every day, not to mention a sales team requesting 10 new pieces of collateral a month or to sponsor X event, you can easily get lost in the tactics.
Use your KPIs as your anchor, and ask the question every time a new idea arises, “How will this help us achieve our goals?” and “What can we eliminate to make room for this new thing?”
Establish regular two-way communication with your sales team.
The more connected you are with your sales team, the more effective you’ll be. Here are some ideas to accomplish this:
- Regularly attend sales meetings and provide updates on what marketing is doing.
- Provide monthly reports that will be meaningful to the sales team.
- Meet one-on-one with sales reps to get feedback and help them better implement marketing programs / materials.
- Create a “wish list” or request document that the sales team can fill out when they have ideas. Just make sure to set the expectation that these will be entertained and prioritized with other projects in progress.
- Send a weekly marketing tip to your sales team.
- Establish regular trainings with your team to cover things like social media, email marketing, etc.
- Review KPIs and suggestions for improvements on a quarterly basis.
Communicate wins to your organization.
Did your website generate a lead that turned into a big opportunity? Did the press cover your event or quote your CEO? Did your new case study help a prospect turn into a customer? Shout it loud and clear for all to hear.
So much of your job is educating people on the value of marketing, and a lot of the negative perception comes from not understanding how marketing works. So when it does work, shine a big spotlight on it.
Create a list of projects, prioritize it, and share it with everyone.
This way, everyone can see what marketing you’re working on and the order of priority for each project. Perhaps you have a project management tool for the company, or if not, a simple spreadsheet will do. Having this document will keep you organized and also help manage the expectations of everyone around you.
Establish clear, realistic expectations with leadership and your sales team.
When that request for a flyer update comes in, pull up the list above and ask where it fits in. Communicate how long things will take, and build in some buffer so that you make sure to hit the deadline.
I’ve seen some toxic relationships build up between sales and marketing departments in the past, and it can get ugly. This is destructive to your effectiveness as a marketer as well as the company morale.
Remember, the sales team is your customer. Let’s say that again. The sales team is marketing’s customer. So while they may not get or appreciate all that you do, your goal is to help them be more effective and drive revenue for the company.
This advice doesn’t apply solely to the sales team either. As a one person marketing department, it will be to your benefit to have as many allies as possible across all departments.
Build a reliable team of helpers.
No one can or should do it all. For marketing to work well, a vast range of skill sets are needed. Acknowledge your strengths and set aside budget to outsource the other things to trusted contractors, agencies or other partners.
It will make your life so much easier and you’ll be able to accomplish more in less time, which makes you look like a rock star to your team.
I’ve found Upwork to be a great resource for talented contractors of all types. It’s nice because you can see reviews, portfolios and rates of each contractor to get a sense of their past work.
You can also check out your local chapter of the American Marketing Association. And of course, finding an agency that can be an extension of your team and fill in the gaps for you is a great strategy once you reach a certain size.
Embrace the One Person Marketing Department ‘Octopus’
The truth is, as a one person marketing department you really are an octopus and always will be. More than any other department in the company, marketing is responsible for such a wide variety of strategies and tactics, and the pace will never slow down.
The good news is, with careful planning and lots of communication within your organization, you can help those around you better understand, appreciate and even contribute to your efforts. And that means more success for everyone.
And as always, we are here to help marketing leaders just like you!