As an agency that has provided outsourced marketing services for 15 years, we’ve seen a variety of marketing team structures within organizations. Sometimes a company has a small—maybe even one-person—team tasked with handling all the marketing. Or one marketing coordinator manages execution of programs that are driven by the business owner or a VP/Director of Sales and Marketing. We also still see business owners attempting to market their firms themselves during those fleeting moments in time when they’re not selling, servicing, hiring, or managing finances.
When we talk to business owners or leaders who have hired a marketing director, we often hear frustration. They wonder why, if they have made this investment, their marketing still does not seem to be moving forward as fast as they’d like. “What is taking so long?” they ask.
The marketing directors, however, have their own frustrations. They don’t understand how their bosses can expect them to do it all – “Don’t they know I’m only one person?” Even with the support of some individual freelancers, they struggle to keep up.
Both parties have valid cases. When you invest in marketing, you should expect results. And when you are one person responsible for marketing an entire company, it really is impossible to do it all.
The skills required to market an organization have multiplied exponentially in recent years. It used to be that if you advertised to build awareness and then did a good job delivering your product or service, you’d be a marketing success.
Today, things just don’t work that way.
Marketing has changed dramatically in the past 20 years, and 76% of digital marketers in a recent study say it’s evolved more in the past two years than it has in the past 50 years.
Here are just some of the things that have transpired:
Explosion of Marketing Automation
Marketing automation tools and analytics platforms have made it easier than ever for marketers to take data that was formerly understood only by the techies and to use it see trends, make marketing recommendations and pivot their directions when needed. Things are simply moving faster as businesses adopt these technologies at a rapid pace, and while the technology does a lot, you still need people to feed it and distill what it’s saying.
Content Marketing Moves to the C-Suite
The growth of content marketing has led organizations to see the value of content to drive their brands and their businesses. While in the past, content was driven by marketers exclusively, today the C-Suite is participating in the creation of content strategy and programs, and more content than ever is getting created. The key to success amidst all the noise is having consistent, high-quality content. Producing, distributing and promoting topnotch pieces takes time and talent.
Inbound Programs Put Power in Buyer’s Hands
Inbound marketing has moved purchasing power into the customer’s hands more than ever before. Companies that learn to provide the right information at the right stage of the buyer’s journey will engage more prospects who are doing research and evaluating vendors in their space. Doing this right requires deep understanding of buyer personas, clear strategies for the desired conversion paths, and excellent execution. And while there is a lot of technology available to aid the process, you will still need brain power and people to implement.
Sales Alignment More Critical Than Ever
When asked about their top marketing priority in the coming year, 70% of companies that responded to HubSpot’s State of Inbound survey said “converting leads to customers.” Marketing’s role has extended into the sales side of businesses as buyers respond to strategic lead nurturing that demonstrates an understanding of their needs, outlines competitive comparisons and offers social proof. Companies that align marketing and sales are seeing greater success than those who maintain silos and simply pass leads to sales. Strategic alignment requires strong marketing talent to work with sales teams.
Growth of Available Tactics Continues to Astonish
There has been an explosion in tactics that are available to marketing teams – paid search and social programs, mobile marketing, video marketing, and social media marketing, to name a few. Simply keeping up with all of the tools can be exhausting. And if you decide to go a certain route – like incorporating video into your marketing strategy, which you should, by the way! – you’ll need resources to create and execute your program.
So how do you even begin to staff your marketing team for success?
The good news is you have options. It rarely will make financial sense for a small to midsized business to hire a full-time specialist in every marketing area. Given that reality, every structure is likely to include an outsourced marketing component.
Here are some choices:
- Name a full-time Director/VP of Marketing whose job it is to make sure your firm’s marketing aligns with your business goals and that it gets executed. This person will need resources, so you can decide which people you’d like to have on staff and which you are willing to outsource.
- Have a full-time Marketing Coordinator in house who serves as the company’s conduit between outsourced resources and the company and who executes marketing that aligns with his or her skills. For example, your coordinator may be a great writer, so that could be the execution focus.
- Outsource completely. This option works only if a C-Suite individual is willing and able to be or to assign a main point of contact with the outsourced resources. These resources may include a group of individual freelancers in specialty areas, an outsourced hub like Upwork, or one outsourced marketing agency who can deliver talents and skills as they are needed. Outsourcing completely tends to work well up to a certain level, but once a company gets to a certain size, we have found that it typically will need either a full-time director or coordinator.
If you are feeling frustrated by the pace of your firm’s marketing efforts or feeling overwhelmed by all the marketing your team is managing, it may be time to rethink your structure.