Foolproof Hacks for Small Marketing Teams, Part 2
Aside from working an unsustainable 70-hour work week and hiring expensive contractors, there are few additional — somewhat more complex — things managers can do to get the work done, run an efficient department and foster a sane work environment for all. Here are five tips: (This is part two of a two-part series; here is part one.)
1. Implement a Marketing Technology Stack
To make you all the more efficient, accept that you’ll need to leverage the appropriate tools. Sometimes companies make the mistake of waiting too long to implement tools that, in the long run, would save time, help with lead acquisition, increase conversion rates, and provide a better understanding of your different programs. As soon as you can, start implementing modern marketing solutions such as automation tools, collaboration software and customer relationship management. First, you’ll need to figure out what tools are right for you, but the sooner you can start implementing some of that infrastructure, the easier your life will be in the long run.
When you take over a small team, look at the historical efficacy of the technology tools that are already in place. Since product improvements and features change quickly, take time to evaluate each tool’s cost and how it’s being used. Take a look at how you can improve a tool’s efficacy or get rid of it altogether and find something more useful for the same cost or less.
And don’t be afraid to plan for a miracle. In my experience, whenever there’s extra budget at the end of a fiscal year, you have about five minutes to decide what to do with it, otherwise it’s gone. To prevent impulsive decisions based on panic, keep a prioritized wish list of solutions you would implement if you had the budget, such as bringing in a contractor to handle PR, automating workflows, using an A/B testing program, or outsourcing a big web development project. Have a business case about what each of these would cost and what it would help you accomplish so you’re list is realistic and your recommendation is taken seriously.
2. Develop Regular Maintenance Processes
Maintenance isn’t the most glamorous job in the world, but there will always be basic things that you need to cross off the proverbial list every day or week. The more you can turn those tasks into processed, automatic to-dos, the more time you’ll have for moments of creativity, strategic planning, crisis management or inevitable ad hoc projects. When your goals and plans are in place and your workflows are predictable, introducing process can help you find some much needed breathing space in your schedule.
3. Test, Test, A/B/C/D/E Test
Be proactive by creating a regular practice of A/B testing. Test everything from messages, images, concepts, forms, etc. This will help you more easily introduce innovation and problem solving to a small team. When you’re a small team, sometimes you’re just trying to get through the day and innovation falls by the wayside. A/B testing your messaging on a regular basis will help you become more proactive vs. reactive. It will help you get to a message that resonates with your audience faster, and it will actually make your team look larger than it really is.
A/B testing can be pretty simple. Whether it’s comparing the subject line of an email or the titles of webinars or articles, there are several cost-effective, easy ways to test. In the long run, if you can hone your message and learn what really works for which audiences, you’ll save your team lots of time and money.
Decide what you want to measure, why and how you will use the information to improve programs. This can be a bit more complicated than it sounds. Oftentimes, folks want look at the number of leads I brought in. But if the leads themselves aren’t going to sales until they’re sales qualified, then is that metric really helping? Are you looking at the conversion rate vs. the number? Do you care if they’re MQL and then SQL? Clearly there are many different ways to measure.
First, figure out what number is going to help you prove the impact that your marketing programs are having. Then collaborate with the sales and executive management teams to understand what they’re looking at and for. And if you can handle being brutally honest, figure out what measurement is going to justify your existence and budget as a marketing team.
5. Put Your Measurements Into Action
Once you come up with reports, frequencies and levels of detail, it makes sense to put everyone on the same page. The goal is to understand the impact your programs are having so that they can be modified, left alone or enhanced with more budget.
It’s a pretty common scenario — marketing managers think their reports are just phenomenal (and they are), but then they don’t do anything with that information. I recommend using those measurements to help you define and inform your next set of programs, or determine the next partnership that you’re going pursue, or guide your next messaging campaign. Use your measurements to leverage resources to then continue planning. When you look at the measurements and are able to start incorporating some of the findings into your future programs, you should start seeing impact on a monthly basis.
How do you know if these advanced hacks are working for you? From an external standpoint, when your brand or company is perceived as larger than it is, you’ll know you’ve done a phenomenal job. And when your partners and customers assume that your business is more established and experienced than it is, you’ll know you’re on the right track.
Christina Del Villar is the head of marketing and partnerships at Webgility Inc. She has more than 20 years of experience building and working with marketing teams at Fortune 100 companies and startups.