Bryony Thomas

As businesses grow, there comes a point when marketing needs to be brought into a business as a core skill. Doing this consciously is something we often support clients with. Accredited Consultant, Kara Stanford, shares her experience to the sequence of roles needed to build into an effective marketing team. ~ Bryony Thomas

Ambitious SMEs typically begin with one of their founding Directors “doing” marketing. If this Director is good at it, then the company grows.

However, this approach to marketing can only take most companies so far. For a person to be a successful Managing Director of a growing company, they have to take a step back and focus on growing the business.

But who then does the marketing?

This is a crucial crunch point for most businesses. The answer is: they need to put in place a marketing team.

I’m going to explore who needs to be on that team and how you can realistically make it happen in your growing business.

Your marketing team

An effective marketing team needs to operate ideally at three levels:

  1. Marketing Director: sets the strategic growth plans and direction of marketing;
  2. Marketing Manager: makes the marketing plan happen and “does” the marketing;
  3. Marketing Assistant: does a lot of everyday tactical marketing tasks and reports to the Marketing Manager.

However, few ambitious businesses have the budget to suddenly create a full marketing team, so, where do you start?

Assess your current marketing capabilities and capacity

Realistically assess who is doing what marketing in your organisation already and how good they are at it. Measure them against what a professional would do – you need your company to step-up a level, so measure against where you want to be not where you should be.

Typically, the Managing Director is doing the strategic marketing to varying levels of understanding depending on their background and “on the side” as they are normally focusing on other areas of the business. If they are to make the business grow, they need to be freed up.

There is often a part-time marketing person, who may or may not be working to a marketing plan and may or may not actually be a marketer; they’re normally a very able person who can do some elements of marketing well but aren’t trained and broad enough to create a marketing plan. Even worse, they have other responsibilities in the organisation and “doing” marketing is something they do on the side when they can.

Dig the foundations for your team

Whatever variants you have of the different marketing in your organisation, to create an effective marketing team, first, you must set your strategic marketing direction. This needs to be done by at Marketing Director Level.

Once you have your strategic direction set, a Tactical Marketing Plan can be developed. This plan needs to be delivered by a Marketing Manager, ideally with a Marketing Assistant.

How can you do this on a limited budget? And which role do you start with? The answer is one role at a time.

Build your marketing team – one role at a time

Role 1. Interim Marketing Director.

First, bring in a Strategic Marketing Consultant. They should work with you, the Managing Director, to set out the marketing growth strategies. They can then set the Tactical Marketing Plan, so you know exactly what marketing needs to be done and when.

Retain them for six to twelve months as an Interim Marketing Director. Their remit is to embed the marketing plans into your organisation, oversee the delivery of the Tactical Marketing Plan, help you recruit the Marketing Manager and mentor existing team members. Their final task is to recruit for their replacement: the permanent Marketing Director.

This role frees up the Managing Director’s time and energy.

Role 2. The Marketing Manager

Next, tackle the Marketing Manager role. Either, invest in the person in your organisation who is doing this already or hire someone.

If you invest in an existing team member, then you need to check that they want to be a Marketing Manager. This must also be their only role in your organisation. Train them up, possibly even help them get a professional marketing qualification.

If you need to hire someone, then this is part of the Interim Marketing Director’s responsibility. You are looking for a Marketing Manager who has experience of working in an organisation of your size, is willing to get their hands “dirty” and “do” marketing, and who has shown they have the aptitude to develop tactical marketing plans (not just campaign plans).

Role 3. The Marketing Assistant

If you recruit at the right level for a Marketing Manager, then they will be able to do a lot of the marketing tasks that a Marketing Assistant can do. However, if you want to keep your Marketing Manager engaged and move them “up” a level in their thinking, consider hiring a part-time marketing assistant or outsourcing some of the marketing tasks.

These tasks could include:

  • Writing and scheduling social media updates
  • SEO and website updates
  • Press and social media monitoring.

These are the stand alone tasks that need to be done to keep marketing going but which could be easily outsourced.

And avoid this common mistake…

You should not recruit for the Marketing Manager role unless you have a Marketing Director in place. This is the biggest mistake I see SMEs make and it costs them.

Why is it a mistake?

It’s a mistake because they think that by plumping for the “middle” role they will get the person they need.

What they often get is either someone who is good at “doing” marketing but lacks the skills to develop a plan and certainly can’t develop a Strategic Marketing Plan. This means that the Managing Director’s time is not freed up. Which does not allow growth to happen.

It’s a mistake because if they get someone who can develop a Strategic Marketing Plan, then this person will get bored and frustrated at having to “do” all the marketing. If you are capable of working at Marketing Director level, then there are only so many 140 word tweets you can write before you go nuts. It costs you because this person will leave quite quickly to move to a more strategic role or just stop “doing” marketing because it is boring them.

Build your team, one role at a time

If you are serious about growing your business, then you need to create a marketing team; do this one role at time and within 12 months you’ll have the marketing team in place your business needs.

© Watertight Marketing Ltd

Kara Stanford

Kara Stanford

Watertight Marketing Accredited Consultant

Kara is a strategic marketing consultant based in Hampsire. She works with ambitious business who aren’t satisfied with being ‘good enough’.

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