By Hayley Goff, CEO
If the answer to the above question is a yes (or even a maybe) you’re most likely a CEO or business leader laser focused on creating stability and driving growth. You know the value of marketing and communications in building your business – from boosting your brand awareness to supporting your sales team – but do you have the right support in place?
If you’re still reading, then I’m guessing the answer is no. That’s okay. We hear a lot of feedback from our clients and prospects when it comes to properly resourcing the marketing function. There are myriad factors that come into play here, from the struggle to recruit the right level of seniority to lacking the right expertise in the right place at the right time, to not being able to trust recommendations being made because of a lack of confidence in the marketing function. Linked to that, of course, is the challenge of not getting the (right) leads or traction in the market that you were expecting, or being pulled into tactical discussions which takes away from that laser focus.
In many companies (particularly those with a start-up mentality) employees are required to wear many hats – including the CEO. While that’s expected for a period, it’s not a long-term solution and can cause even more issues as time goes on.
It’s not all doom and gloom, and this blog is certainly not just a rant. I wanted to provide some insights and suggestions around those challenges, because they are not insurmountable.
Align to business objectives – marketing needs to be in the loop when it comes to the overall business goals so that they can ensure all of their plans are created with reaching those goals in mind.
Focus on your role – it’s easy to fall into the trap of getting involved in tactical discussions (I’ve done it!) but you need to maintain focus on building your business. Rather, ensure the marketing team is clear on their roles and responsibilities, and is held accountable or measured against their plan.
Be clear on your brand purpose – brands need to move away from the hard sell approaches that have characterised the B2B space for the last decades. Rather, create authentic and consistent narratives that articulate your brand’s purpose and address the needs of your audiences. These help cultivate trust and in turn create positive perceptions and change behaviours. This doesn’t need to be tackled alone – an agency can support and take on the heavy lifting of articulating your brand purpose.
Think about PR – as a PR professional, I believe it has a key role to play within the marketing function. It’s about creating positive perceptions of your brand amongst your target audiences with the ultimate goal of driving behaviour change. Leading with an earned strategy, for example, again helps create trust and has the potential to reach a much wider audience than marketing alone. Yes, sometimes it’s seen as a dark art, but if you use an agency, be clear on the KPIs they are working to.
Don’t skimp on measurement – marketing needs to be measuring performance across campaigns and reporting back against the agreed objectives. This is how success becomes standard; learn from failures and don’t keep doing the same things if they aren’t working.
Work with a partner – there will always be gaps in your marketing skill set. You can’t know everything about everything. That’s a fact. But working with an agency partner can have a quick and positive impact. Thinking about an agency like Whiteoaks, there’s speed of delivery, access to senior strategic consultancy, and specialists across different disciplines. Again, make sure you’re getting clarity on what you’re getting and what you’re measuring them against.