If you’re a part of a small marketing team, it may feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day for all the work you need to do. In this digital age, the responsibilities of marketing teams have been expanded to include so many new fronts. With managing social platforms, maximizing SEO, in addition to the traditional marketing projects like strategy and content creation, it can be a lot to manage. And if you need to do all of those things on a tight budget, it can make you feel like you’re constantly pushing a boulder up a hill. So how do you get control of it all? Where do you start?
It might be time to evaluate your execution strategy.
An execution strategy is just a fancy way of saying “how we get stuff done.” It’s the plan or system that helps us reach our goals. However, with all marketing teams have to accomplish, the execution plan can get complicated very quickly. If you already have a process in place, start by going through your execution strategy and identify places where bottlenecks occur or balls get dropped. You may already know where the plan needs tweaking or where your team needs assistance. Remember time is your greatest resource especially on a small team. Think about your priorities and long term goals and ask these questions:
- What are the projects that never seem to be done or done to the level you really need and expect?
- Are you putting unrealistic goals on your team?
Be brutally honest. When small teams have a lot to get done in a short amount of time or with constrained resources, this process or execution strategy becomes even more important. Let’s take a look at some specific areas that are common trouble spots.
Content Development and Delivery:
For most, content development is where the magic happens. This is really where we want to spend our time – creating the content and developing the strategy. It’s what is most personally important to us and this is where marketing gets to shine. So you’re probably not going to outsource this part. And that’s great. But…
Now that you have invested all this time, energy and resources into creating your own content, how are you managing it? How do you make sure that the sales teams are using it and using it to their fullest advantage? How are you not duplicating efforts or recreating the wheel every time there is a request for materials from your sales teams? How many times have you opened your inbox and seen the same request for a piece of collateral? Just eliminating email requests from your inbox could free up so much bandwidth and unnecessary frustration. Freeing up time and resources in the delivery part of the equation ensures that your focus can remain on developing the right messaging for every campaign you have.
This again, is where your execution strategy comes into play.
Evaluating the delivery portion of your strategy will most likely expose some places of inefficiencies. It’s the most common place where marketing teams get tripped up and the fastest place to get streamlined and see results. Once you’ve identified the places in your execution strategy that need some help, it’s time to find solutions. Now it would be great if we could just throw money at the problem and hire all the extra help we need. But, the reality is that’s probably not how your company is going to handle this. You can outsource some tasks to subcontractors. That’s a convenient and more economical way to offload some of the work without hiring full-time employees. It does come with it’s own challenges so be prepared to manage those subcontractors closely to ensure that the work is being done on brand and on time. Or perhaps it’s time to start looking at where you can use digital tools to help streamline your efforts?
This is where you need to find a tool that will do the work for you. There are a lot of tools, apps and companies out there who specialize in this. But again, make sure the investment is worth the price.
- Does the tool cater to small companies who may not have the resources of a big agency?
- Is it flexible enough to handle the changing needs of the team?
- What features do you get?
- Am I getting the biggest bang for my buck or am I going to have to use multiple tools to accomplish my goals?
Utilizing Digital Tools:
Let’s take a look at some features you will want your solution to have. Ideally, all of your approved, branded content should be in one place and easily accessible by your sales teams. And that means, accessible without you having to email the materials to them as needed. Some companies utilize cloud storage systems, but it’s not exactly easy or user friendly. So you may be pushing the bottleneck down the line if you ask your sales teams to do the work of sorting through folders to find the right material. A better solution will make it easier and more efficient for marketing and sales to work together. Part of the delivery success you’re looking for is that your reps will use the materials you’ve worked so hard to create. And they will be able to access them without unnecessary calls or emails to you.
Does the tool or solution allow for the most flexibility? Can you update your materials anytime you want? No one wants to get locked into outdated content. Remember the days of having outdated print materials? Today there’s really no excuse for not having the most up-to-date content ready for your potential customers. So it’s imperative you have the ability to provide your team with the most current branded content. Your tool should give you access to update content whenever you need to and then push out the right materials to your team. This could be changing the wording on something to satisfy the legal team or updating the digital brochure to reflect the latest model of the product you’re selling. Whatever your needs, make sure the tool gives you the flexibility to update content. Waiting for someone else to do it, or costly change orders do not help make your execution strategy streamlined and efficient.
The final component to delivery success is that you’ll be able to see and quantify the impact. If you aren’t using some sort of analytics for tracking the success of your content, you need to. And this goes beyond which emails people are opening. Seeing which content is being used by your sales team and which materials are effective at converting leads into customers is vital to the success of your campaigns.
Not only will this help you better develop effective messaging, it helps track the success of the sales teams at using the content.
Does your solution have an analytics tool that lets you see which content is being used? This is an extremely important step and one that is often overlooked. Being able to analyze how your content is being used in the field will give you valuable insight. It will help you create better, more functional content each step of the way. Your strategies will be more laser focused and have more success. In turn, this will help you cut down on unnecessary work for your team and move you closer to being bottleneck free!
So if you’re like a lot of small marketing teams who feel overwhelmed and overworked with all the campaigns you’re trying to juggle, evaluate your execution strategy and find ways to utilize digital tools. Tools like Command App can help you manage your content and deliver it to your reps effectively and efficiently. With the added bonus of being able to use analytics to see how well your content is being used, you’ll be able to streamline all of your marketing efforts. The key is to find a tool that understands the demands on a smaller marketing team and leverages multiple features to help you achieve your goals and free up your time and resources. Remember, time is your most valuable resource and you want to spend yours on developing the strategy and content, not on figuring out the ins and outs of delivery and performance. The right digital platforms and apps can make your team feel like that boulder is rolling up the hill all on its own. And that is a win for your small but mighty marketing team.
For help managing your marketing teams, small or big, click here.