All Hail The Marketing Department Of One!

PropelGrowth Blog - Financial Services Marketing and Content Strategy

Are you a struggling marketing department of one? Here's encouragement and a song!

That first week back to work in 2016 was difficult to get through. I wasn’t alone. The many social media posts by others bemoaning how tired they were confirmed it. All that rest and food must have lulled us into a false sense of euphoria.

Now it’s time to make good on those New Year’s resolutions and strategic plans. It’s also time to face those deadlines and high expectations. While we can all agree that modern marketing is hard, there’s an unsung breed of marketer who stands alone…literally. It is to you, the one-person marketing department that I dedicate today’s blog post and this song:

The Marketing Department of One

This is for you, the brave soul facing high expectations and small budgets. One day, you may feel like you’re standing at the top of the world. Another day, you may want to crawl under your desk to assume the fetal position and suck your thumb. One hour you’re the technologist; the next hour you’re the planning committee. Whether you’re drowning in your to-do list or laying out next year’s strategy, one thing is certain — you’re the one left holding the bag. You’re the Marketing Department of One.

Sometimes it feels like you’re rolling a boulder up Mt. Everest with no one to cheer you on. You soldier through that task list without a word of encouragement. Yet, each morning you roll out of bed to gallantly face the day’s challenges. For all that you do, I salute you. In the effort to encourage, I’d like to share a few tips to help get you through your day. Take them as you need them.

Have a Plan

Develop a documented marketing strategy based on an in depth understanding of your customers and the company’s objectives. Get a sense of the executive team’s goals for the company. Build a close relationship with Sales since they’re on the front lines with customers. Then, create a plan.

Keep in mind that conditions change, so you won’t always have 100% certainty about your plan. However, having a plan is better than flitting from one random tactic to another. Be observant and agile and keep improving the plan.

Pick Your Battles

Realize that you can’t do everything at once. Check your priorities against The Plan. Sometimes, an internal “crisis” will supersede The Plan (hey, you can’t fight the C-suite). Don’t sweat it. You’re getting stuff done. Get back to The Plan as soon as you can.

Bottom line: you have to ask yourself the question, “Does this serve the goals of the company and the needs of my customers?” Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome. For example, if your audience isn’t on that cool new social media platform, don’t waste your valuable time.

Perfect is the Enemy of Done

Michael J. Fox said it perfectly: “I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.” Until some rogue geneticist invents unicorns, they don’t exist — neither does perfection.

For the Marketing Department of One, the goal is to achieve excellence. Perfection is fantasy.

Be a Team Builder

Bring together outsourced experts (PR/web design/graphic design) and get them talking to one another so everyone can be on the same page. If any consultant prefers to remain in a silo, replace them with a team player. You need to maximize your resources. Value and leverage the unique perspectives of each member on your team and apply the best ideas to your plan.

Reach out to others in your organization as part of your marketing ecosystem. For example, internal subject matter experts can be a great source of insight. If they don’t have time to write content for you, interview them and record the interviews. Then create content from the recorded interviews. It gives your customers what they need and scores points with the subject matter experts (after all, you’re promoting their ideas).

Aggregate Your Assets (or Strut Your Stuff)

You serve a valuable function in your company. You know it. I know it. Other people in your company may not. Set KPI’s and track your progress. Then report on it. Put together a Powerpoint presentation of key projects, your reasons for them and outcomes. Use a screen capture program like Camtasia to record presentations. Collect examples of your work into a curation platform like Flipboard or Pinterest and share them.

Be Smart

Use every part of the buffalo. Leverage buyer persona research that feed valuable insights into content programs. Take that Monolithic White Paper and turn it into many, smaller parts of digestible content. Consolidate blog posts that cover a specific topic into an e-book. Take excerpts from your video content and cobble them into an audio podcast or SlideShare presentation.

Lively Up Yourself

Sometimes it’s difficult to stay motivated. When it’s Wednesday and you’ve “got a case of the Mondays” try these:

Until they create a Hallmark holiday for you, keep your head to the sky. All hail the Marketing Department of One!

Do you like the song? Download it and share it with someone you know who is a marketing department of one (or few). By the way, if you’re a marketing department of two or three, the song is about you as well. It’s really about those of us who struggle to get things done in our “resource-challenged” circumstances.

Many thanks to Dan Hubscher, Emilie Totten, Robin Emiliani and Amber Voght. Your input, feedback and encouragement helped to make this blog post and song possible.Y’all rock!

Phil Donaldson
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