Maximizing Your Marketing Investment
As you plan for the success of your marketing efforts, the selection of qualified personnel is obviously critical. A marketing department for a small to mid-sized firm can take many shapes. Here are three options:
Some firms can afford to hire an in-house marketing person(s). There are numerous variants of this form, including:
- A highly qualified Chief Marketing Officer/Marketing Director with an array of staff and outside experts
- A moderately-qualified Marketing Manager with minimal staff support and substantial outside assistance
- A Marketing Coordinator, implementing tasks as directed by the Marketing Committee and an outside marketing consultant
By far the majority of the small- to mid-size firms do not have the resources or need to hire a full staff of in-house marketing professionals. These firms either (a) do not have a formal marketing function, (b) utilize a staff person who is not a marketing professional to implement their marketing functions, or (c) outsource the marketing efforts to a qualified marketing professional.
Staff as Marketing Personnel
Administrative staff are sometimes selected when the firm does not wish to commit much in the way of financial or human resources to marketing. If these staff have considerable unbillable/free time to devote to marketing, especially on a consistent basis, the firm may be able to accomplish selected marketing goals. Obviously, the person must have the skills and the appropriate amount of training/education for the given tasks. Since this person does not have marketing expertise, he/she should be directed in terms of strategies and selection of specific tasks by a knowledgeable marketing professional. If the firm relies upon a partner to direct such staff, keep in mind that this a use of valuable billable time. Further, since the partner is not a marketing expert it will take a considerable amount of time spent in research and day-to-day management (vs. management by a true marketing professional).
At the other end of the spectrum is utilization of an outside marketing professional. A highly qualified marketing consultant, with education and experience in a broad range of marketing components, can make a tremendous impact on a firm’s marketing success. The major advantages to this approach include:
- A “virtual marketing department” at your disposal. Some consulting firms bring with them the ability to service virtually all of a firm’s marketing needs, including strategic planning, advertising, public relations, coaching, client relations, and business development programs.
- Availability of a high-level professional that a smaller firm could not otherwise afford or fully utilize as an in-house person.
- Substantial cost-effectiveness, based upon the individual’s ability to avoid wasteful activities and quickly implement appropriate programs (“low learning curve”).
Expert direction and implementation of marketing programs.
- Flexibility in increasing or decreasing marketing efforts, which would result in regular hiring/firing of internal personnel if the same fluctuating approach was utilized with an internal marketing department.
You may want a consultant to help guide your strategic planning. Or you may want a more complete “marketing management” firm that can handle all aspects of your marketing needs, including strategic planning, client relations, digital marketing, advertising, public relations, marketing materials, marketing research, coaching/training and targeted sales programs. Either way, your firm will benefit from consultants who specialize in designing and implementing marketing services tailored to your firm’s specific needs. Watch out for any firm that tells you “only (fill in the blank) works in marketing.” Such a statement is an immediate red-flag that points out such individuals’ lack of knowledge and expertise – avoid them at all costs.
Is it Time to OUTSOURCE Your Firm’s Marketing Department?
Kevin Brown Marketing & Consulting helps clients in outsourcing for your marketing needs (one-time projects or regular assistance) and in hiring and training internal personnel. Contact us to see how we can help you.