There is one thing that most people in successful businesses agree on, and that is that marketing is critical to growth. But apart from this, you’ll find that people don’t agree on much when it comes to marketing!
Traditional marketing—print, TV, billboards etc.—continues to power some businesses while digital marketing—websites, content, social media etc.—works for others. What’s certain is there’s a bewildering number of variables and no one-size fits all.
The Problem With DIY Marketing
If you’re running a small or medium-sized business and you don’t have the funds for an experienced, full-time marketing manager, then you’ll struggle to know which communication tactics to adopt. You might end up focusing on one thing and then switching to another when you find that the first thing doesn’t work. Or you might find that you’re running several different activities that don’t support one another well, as a result of which nothing really seems to give you the results you want.
The Myth of the Silver Bullet
You might wonder exactly how a person/business is supposed to get a decent return from marketing. It’s tempting to think there’s a magic solution, a ‘silver bullet’ that will give you the kind of results you want, isn’t it? You just need to find it.
This is a marketing myth i.e., that if you create a funny video or involve a celebrity in your social media, then you’ll go “viral” and all your marketing problems will be solved.
This is not how marketing works. In reality, marketing is complex, with myriad options, each of which need to work together, be adapted for your use and continuously tested and then optimised in practice. This needs real skill and persistent focus.
Insourcing vs. Outsourcing
Good marketing planning and campaign execution is an applied skill. You’ll need a marketing professional who really understands your business needs to come up with the right marketing plan for you.
But what if you can’t afford to hire a marketing manager who has all the necessary experience? Not all small or even medium-sized businesses can afford to do that.
The other option is usually to outsource to a marketing agency. The problem there is you won’t get the level of focus and accountability as having your own in-house marketing person who sits at the executive table and lives the ins and outs of your company like you do.
Insourcing and Outsourcing
Fortunately, there is a third option— a part-time marketing manager with the requisite skill and seniority without costing as much as a full-time hire. Impossible to find such a person? Don’t worry, that’s what InsideOut Group provides!
We secure great marketing people and make them accessible to SMEs by spreading their cost across a couple of clients. The we insert them into your team on a contract basis so they work right alongside you, guiding and advising continuously.
Based on their wealth of experience, garnered by working with a number of different types of businesses in the past, your part-time marketing manager will know, right off the bat, what kind of strategy and tactics are going to be worth looking at. Then it’s a process of refinement.
Tailoring the Marketing Strategy to Your Business
To be effective, your marketing plan has to be tailored to your business needs.
Good strategic marketing planning needs to emanate from your business plan and reflect its goals. Be very clear: a strategic plan won’t be found on a spreadsheet of monthly activity. That would be a tactical communications plan and is just a small part of the marketing plan.
Are you in a growth, consolidation or defensive phase? Are you wanting to sell more to your existing market or open up new markets? What is your market looking for, what media do they consume, what are their triggers to respond? What’s right for an essential product may not necessarily be right for a luxury product and vice versa.
Of course, everyone wants to have more customers—that is the final aim of any business. But you might also want to improve your online reputation, get more awareness through social media, create more “buzz” about a new product, make some changes to your brand, reach out to a different demographic etc.
Your part-time marketing manager’s first step will be to objectively evaluate your company’s needs. This involves deep-diving into your products/services, the market that exists for that product/service, what they need and how they can be activated, the competitive context, and the available data about what works in your sector.
From there, we have a process to develop the strategic plan in partnership with you and your team. You’ll be surprised what a stimulating, challenging and ultimately unifying process this is. Coming out of it, everyone will know exactly where you’re heading and will all be pulling in that same direction. It’s an energising experience.
Where there’s a lack of skills there tends to be a gap between theory and practice. It’s not enough to have a marketing strategy. You also need someone with the necessary skills to implement this strategy with the minimum of time and expense. For this, you need disciplined, effective, efficient process.
A skilled marketing person can not only develop exactly what will work for you, they’ll also build those processes inside your business to make marketing a sustainably efficient feature of your business activity – so you benefit even after they’re gone.
Is it time you thought about things differently?
If you’re interested in this innovative combination of insourcing and outsourcing, we’ll happily talk you through the options and explain how to get better marketing even with a small budget.