Recently, The Financial Brand posted survey results that shared some interesting data regarding the anatomy of marketing departments among banks and credit unions. While this survey was given to financial institutions throughout the U.S., I believe that many marketing teams from various industries can relate to several of the stats shared. For example, 70% of the survey respondents chose “lack of people in department” as their biggest marketing challenge in the next year.
The fact that most marketing departments are understaffed does not surprise me. I’ve experienced this myself in the past, and it seems that nearly all marketers and business owners that I speak to vent the same frustration: there’s too much to do and not enough people. It can be aggregating to say the least. Many marketers are expected to do more with fewer people on their team than they had five years ago – and sometimes with less of a budget, as well. And, since quality is just as important as quantity, the demands on short-staffed marketing teams are made even higher. While I admit that these scenarios can present big challenges, experience has taught me that there are ways to increase productivity (and quality) with an understaffed marketing department.
Accomplish more without overworking your staff or exceeding budget.
Yes, there are times when late days and long hours are required to get the job done; however, I firmly believe that marketing departments that lack people can accomplish more without giving up their work/life balance or going over budget.
Review and update job descriptions before filling an open position.
This may seem like a given, but time after time, I have seen it happen. A gap is formed from the departure of an employee and management immediately begins recruiting for the open position without giving much thought to the original job description. This is a mistake. Ideally, you should use this opportunity to review the skillsets, workload and job demands of the entire team. At a minimum, evaluate the role of the employee that just left. Organizations grow and evolve. The way you reach your audience compared to how you did a few years ago, may have also changed. When you take the time to review the role and job description, you’ll often find that the skillsets and responsibilities needed are not same as when the role was first created. This is your opportunity to adjust and modify the position so that your new hire will help meet the demands of your department in the best way possible.
Hire a marketing consultant/strategist.
Contrary to popular belief, the primary role of a marketing consultant is not to tell you what you’re doing wrong or even to replace existing staff. A good marketing consultant or strategist will be able to save your team time and money, and has the expertise and skillset to either be used as an advisor that guides your team, a consultant that provides solutions to challenges or a collaborator that helps complete projects. Essentially, this person should become an extension of your marketing team - think of this individual as a partner vs. an employee or even a typical vendor. You’ll receive the benefit of gaining new, fresh ideas from someone that is able to consider strategies from a different perspective, while you’ll have the flexibility of using that person whenever and for however long is necessary.
Many marketing consultants also have a network of other creative professionals that they work with, which can further help fill in the gaps (and save money) for other areas within your department that may also need support. While there are some outsourced costs associated with a marketing consultant, it’s typically less expensive than using a full-service agency or hiring someone (no additional expenses from benefits or taxes). A marketing consultant also provides more cost-savings and high-level expertise than going through a temp agency.
Ultimately, the primary benefits of hiring a marketing consultant/strategist is that your team will be able to accomplish more, complete projects faster and improve quality from the increased focus and efficiencies that the outside help provides.
Automate, but choose your system wisely.
In order to stay ahead of the game and be efficient, automation is needed more than ever. If you have your team do everything manually (emails, social media, tracking, analytics, etc.), you’re going to significantly slow down productivity and make low quality from errors more likely. Luckily, there are several types of marketing automation systems available that automate nearly all of this for you, which vary in capabilities and costs.
If your marketing team has been given a budget that allows you to select one of the platforms with all the “bells and whistles”, be certain that your team is ready to execute the majority of features into its marketing before bringing the system in-house. While it can be tempting to move forward with the most elaborate marketing automation platform, you’ll be wasting money if you don’t use the majority its features. Also, make sure that your team has the manpower and skillset to effectively operate the system. If it does not, consider partnering with an outside marketing agency that can help train your staff and manage that area of your marketing for you.
More power to be an effective and efficient marketer.
Having an understaffed marketing department can seem overwhelming at times, but it also comes with greater flexibility than what a full-staffed marketing team can offer. By using the strategies listed above, you’ll be given greater power to be a more effective and efficient marketer – increasing productivity (and quality).
For more information on how your understaffed marketing team can increase productivity and quality, contact Break Ice Marketing.