Smart Marketing Leaders Know When to Say When

Social scientists at Johns Hopkins University recently published a study that’s grabbing the attention of marketers throughout the country.

In it, researchers observed and interviewed marketing leaders who run small internal teams (1-5 people). According to the data, these marketers — regardless of industry, regardless of whether they have a B2C or B2C focus — share a lot of the same pain points.

In fact, more than 90% of respondents reported the following:

  • Lack of focus
  • Details “slipping through the cracks”
  • Loss of sleep due to work-related stress
  • Difficulty developing long-view strategies
  • Difficulty executing against long-view strategies

Even more interesting is that … well, we made that whole thing up. There is no such Johns Hopkins study. (Sorry.) But, if you run a small marketing team, that bulleted list probably feels spot-on to you.

Whether you’re a “marketing team of one,” or you run a team whose members can be counted on one hand, you have three main functions at the end of the day:

(1) Develop strategies to support your marketing goals
(2) Execute against those strategies
(3) Handle all the other day-to-day marketing operations

And the harsh truth is, no single human being can realistically do all three.

That doesn’t stop most small-team marketers from running around like headless chickens, putting out fires and mixing metaphors. But if you can stop for a moment and accept that harsh truth, you’re already part way to the solution. And the solution comes on the heels of making one Big Decision, which is:

Would you rather focus your time and effort on Function #1 or Function #2? (There’s no getting away from Function #3; that’s yours whether you like it or not.)

Because if you can make that choice — what’s most important to you as a marketing leader, what you’re going to spend the bulk of your time working on each day — then you can delegate the rest … and find the balance you need, as well as the key to next-level success.

Consider the following examples:

Picture a team of four, who, together, handle all digital marketing tasks for a 1,000+ person tech company. The team member in charge of social media (along with seventeen other odd jobs) was curating content as needed and/or uploading posts on behalf of the Sales team. There was no strategy to speak of … which resulted in their key competitors crushing them on every meaningful metric. So, they brought us in.

> We created a thoroughly researched Social Media Marketing Strategy (SMMS), which showed them their best channel mix, ideal content types (by format & topic), optimal frequency & cadence, key opportunities, and more — delivered as a playbook that could guide their daily activities.

Conversely …

Picture a medical devices organization with a marketing team of one. In this case, our client spent ample time developing a social media strategy before she even started the job. But once in the hot seat, she barely had time to check her voice mail, let alone spearhead her well-crafted social media plan. So, she brought us in.

> We took her strategy and leveraged it to develop highly engaging content (copy, design, video); post, monitor and measure activity on all channels; boost the highest-performers; engage one-on-one with “best fit” audiences; and conduct monthly analyses/reports that detail follower and engagement growth, and identify opportunities to optimize performance going forward.

In the first example, our client outsourced Function #1. In the second example, our client outsourced Function #2. In both cases, the results were similar: social media campaigns that put the spotlight on their brands — and away from the competition — while making measurable strides toward supporting actual sales and business goals.

And, in both cases, it started with making a choice.

Are you ready to make yours?

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