2019 Marketing Strategy: Ensuring Your Marketing Team has the Marketing Skills to Succeed
If you’ve followed our Marketing Strategy series over the past few months, then congratulations! You’re now an elite, badass marketing superhero who has learned how to best define core marketing messages, target audiences through research and set goals. You’ve also learned successful marketing strategies for tradeshows and paid media, as well as some simple tips for planning and steps for how to launch your marketing plan. All set, right?
Well, not exactly. There’s a critical, missing ingredient: your marketing team.
Stan Lee, one of the greatest creators of the past century, had a motto: “Excelsior.” The word means ‘upward and onward to greater glory.’ As great a mind as Lee was, he couldn’t bring his ideas to life without a team of people around him. After all, a plan is just a plan until the right team comes together to bring it to life.
Hey, what if the Avengers just sat around talking about saving the universe, but didn’t actually do anything about it? Well, I think we all know the answer. So, like any team, the Avengers need to look at themselves and honestly assess their capability, capacity, communication, and coordination needs.
Capabilities & Marketing Skills
In order for a team to execute a plan, one must ensure that the team possesses the entire range of marketing skills needed to bring it to life. For instance, if your marketing plan places a heavy emphasis on paid media, then the team should have a strong understanding of the advertising landscape, tools and techniques, how to negotiate rates for placements, and the material requirements for insertion. Conversely, a team of great content writers or talented graphic designers would not be well-matched to executing such a plan.
Therefore, once the plan is set, assign roles to the internal team based on both strengths and weaknesses. Then look for experience and expertise gaps. Can these gaps be solved through training? Or maybe additional capabilities can be added through contracting a freelance resource or consultants? Hey, the Avengers didn’t have a Hulk until they recruited The Hulk.
Assessing Marketing Team Capacity
So, now we know that the team and any additional supporting recruits are in place, and the marketing plan is approved and ready to go. However, any great plan will be somewhat aspirational, but may have too lofty of goals. As part of the plan, a true time estimate must be created in parallel to assess how big an effort is on the horizon. Say you suddenly realize that the five tradeshows, three product launches, and executive roadshow all scheduled concurrently in April may require more than your team can give. What then?
Well, pushing forward without considering the marketing team’s capacity is a fast track to falling short of goals and burning out the team that will be needed throughout the year. So, either compromises must be made in the scope of the plan (i.e., spread out the milestones) or more bandwidth must be found to smooth out the peaks. Dare I say, you might even need to hire a marketing agency or communications firm to round out the group that will help you realize your marketing goals and dreams by “owning” a tradeshow or mini-campaign.
Integration & Coordination
The larger marketing team comprises a number of smaller, more focused specialized teams that must integrate. Integration doesn’t mean that everyone is doing everything together at all times. It means that a large plan and timeline tells everyone when and where they overlap, and how coordination and handoffs of materials, relationships and thinking should occur.
For example, an advertisement may include copy that will find its way into digital marketing campaigns, public relations content, and marketing materials. These activities must sync and, in some cases, be sequential in their development and approval so all tactics can benefit from coordinated thinking, creative control, and copywriting.
You can’t take out Thanos if everyone goes rogue and does their own thing.
Communication Amongst The Core Team
The most important aspect of communication within the marketing team is to ensure that the goals, supporting objectives, and all aspects of the communications plan are clearly understood by the team and any partners. Everyone needs to know where they are going together, or they risk splitting up or ending up in different places. When a team fractures over different goals, they will face internal conflict or even a superhero civil war or two.
A unified team will thrive with clearly stated and understood goals, supported by a series of regular meetings to mark and monitor progress. Additionally, the team needs a decision tree that enables program-wide and project-based decision-making along the way so that items, materials, and approaches can be reviewed and approved rapidly.
Regardless of what form your marketing plan takes for the year ahead, if you’ve recruited and formed a great core team, partnered with the right agency partners, and organized roles and responsibilities correctly, you greatly increase your chances of realizing your goals. Wouldn’t that be MARVELous?
Trying to build your marketing team superheroes? Let’s talk. Contact us.