Businesses have traditionally operated on a strategy model that focuses more on sales than marketing. And, this may have worked for you in the past. But now you’re feeling that something might be wrong, and that notion is backed by a stagnation in sales.
This causes frustration and the desperate feeling to employ a laundry list of marketing tactics to stop the wheels from spinning. In doing so, business owners often struggle with common questions regarding blogging, social media curation, content marketing, email campaigns, and website design, among other tactics.
Common Marketing Questions Businesses Struggle to Answer
- Should we be blogging? If so, how often and what should we blog about?
- What should we be communicating on our website?
- Which SEO terms should we be targeting?
- How do we grow a following on social media?
- How many emails should we be sending out? Should they be personalized? How do we automate this process?
- How does content marketing really work?
- What information should we be capturing from visitors to our site?
- What should our calls-to-action include?
- How do we best reach our contacts for upcoming events?
Rather than simply starting by answering each question as they appear, try starting with a marketing strategy to guide decisions along the way.
This approach requires restructuring the old model. To generate leads and sales in today’s online environment, businesses need to allocate more time and resources into developing a marketing strategy that is aligned with sales. The days of merely supporting sales with separate tactics are outdated.
This is difficult for a small or medium-size business that has someone “kinda” doing the marketing, or for companies with an owner who has taken on the marketing responsibilities above and beyond their primary role.
When business owners find that marketing tactics are driving strategy for their business, not the other way around, there are two paths to follow: (1) hire a marketing manager or (2) hire an agency to develop a strategy.
1. Hire an In-House Marketing Manager
Should you decide to hire a marketing manager, be sure that the individual has the necessary background and skill set to develop and align a marketing and sales strategy and possess the applicable skills to implement the tactics involved. Finding one person with this combination of theory and practice is challenging, to say the least.
If you do, hold onto this person and stay out of their way. This individual needs the support of upper management and the authority to implement a strategy from concept through delivery.
2. Hire a Marketing Agency
If you choose to hire a marketing agency to develop a strategy, be aware that the process to provide an approach typically ranges from 6-10 weeks. While you’re left with a strategy, you need to have a plan to implement the tactics involved.
This leaves you with another decision. Does your team have the bandwidth and expertise to take the strategy and run with it? Or, would you be better off with hiring the agency to facilitate the strategy on an ongoing basis?
Determining whether to build your marketing department internally or to contract out your marketing is not an easy decision. Each business has its own unique situation – number of employees, technology expertise, available budget, growth rate, and so much more. Regardless of the route you choose, you may benefit from focusing your efforts on marketing strategy to generate leads and sales. Keep in mind, however, that the end-goal for any marketing strategy should be to achieve sales.