The Secrets to Finding World-Class Solutions for Your Marketing Overload Quickly
In business today, even under the best of circumstances, C-suite executives, business-development teams, as well as communications, marketing and media-relations professionals can find themselves too busy to tackle critical growth initiatives. When this happens, you or your team are likely on overload. And something needs to change…fast.
Signs and symptoms
Here are three signs that your team has too much on its plate:
Lack of a marketing plan. It’s well into the fiscal or calendar year, and you still don’t have a marketing plan written and approved. This is a danger sign. Like many of the experts say, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
Incomplete marketing plan. You have a plan and it’s been approved, but budget hasn’t been allocated, responsibilities and assignments aren’t clear, and there’s no method for monitoring progress toward goals. If this is the case, it might be due to a shortage of personnel, lack of organization, and underdeveloped processes.
The plan isn’t working. You have a plan and it’s been approved. Budget has been allocated and team members are busy implementing the plan…but it’s not delivering the expected results. The question is: “Why?” Does the plan include the right strategies, including frequency of contact, appropriate messaging, and the use of the right marketing channels?
In addition to those signs and symptoms, there are other issues that can produce marketing overload. Each one needs to be addressed. For example, do you have the right people performing the right tasks? Some organizations rely on salespeople or customer-support personnel to serve in a marketing capacity. That’s a mistake. While those individuals should be part of the process and provide their input, success requires an in-depth knowledge of the 4 P’s of marketing: product, price, place and promotion. Second, is your team spread too thin due to staff shortages? Sometimes when department staffers get promotions or make other lateral moves within the company, it creates a void. Or there might be temporary absences due to vacations, maternity or sick leaves or other personal situations. Third, the marketplace is simply changing too fast. As a result, priorities shift, new information becomes available, action needs to be immediate, competition escalates and all of a sudden, the marketing team is sinking, not knowing what to tackle first.
There are steps every company can take to alleviate these problems and get back on track. Regrouping is one approach. Take a look around to see who is available with the interest, skills and the willingness to contribute to the marketing team’s effort. Remember, it is the marketing team’s job to make the sales job easier. In the end, “the sales activity of a company is the only activity that brings in the dollars,” according to Roy Chitwood, former president of Max Sacks International. A different tactic is to review and revise the marketing plan to take into account shortages of resources (time, money, personnel). Create short-term goals and agree to revisit the plan in 90 days. In addition, companies can seek outside help from marketing companies that provide services such as writing, communications, promotions and packaging, website design, media outreach, SEO, data analytics, customer service management and a variety of other marketing support services. The key is to do your homework. Check references and be very clear about what your needs, interests and expectations are.
With an endless supply of marketing tools, technologies and channels available, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. But with proper planning and attention to details, you can keep things from falling through the cracks, and put your department on a path to success.