Defining in-house marketing
If you are doing any marketing within your business, whether that is yourself as the business owner or asking one or more people to do marketing tasks, that is ‘in-house marketing.’
Many companies do marketing work without labelling the work as ‘marketing.’ Social media, running an event, booking advertising, running a promotion, having input into the redesigning of a website, or meeting any marketing agency or supplier, are all marketing tasks. Unless you are employing an outside company to do these tasks for you, they are being done ‘in-house’ either by you or your paid employees.
Developing your in-house marketing capabilities
Sometimes you or your team will be fitting in their marketing tasks with ‘the main job’ which either has a close connection with marketing, (for example sales), or has nothing to do with marketing, (for example office administration and accounts). In other situations, you can create a role with a marketing title to work either some part, mainly, or only on marketing tasks.
As marketing is the driver of new leads to generate new customers and provides the guard rails to ensure a good customer experience to retain and develop those customers, developing your marketing capabilities is a key priority for many businesses, regardless of size.
The quality of work and therefore, the effectiveness of the output can vary dramatically depending on your business’s core competencies and capabilities and the people involved.
The importance of speed
There is a cost to the business of running marketing activities. Whilst your initial motivation may be to save money by not using agencies for everything, the reality is that marketing costs money. Therefore the quicker you can accelerate your in-house marketing capabilities through the development of people, processes and technology in a sustainable way, the faster you can prove that your marketing efforts are creating profit for your business instead of being seen as a cost to the business.
Focus on what matters
Knowing what is working and focusing on what matters is essential to build the confidence and respect required to get the support and cooperation of others, especially senior management and those within sales and customer-facing roles.
How you know you are on the right track
As with many types of change, expect some challenges and even some resistance in the early days as you introduce new methods as this is natural. However, providing the reasons for the changes makes business sense, and you have involved people in the process, and of course, you are doing the right things well, then gradually things start to change. Slowly perhaps at first, as you prove what you are doing is working, then you start to build momentum and to use a phrase which I think really expresses the excitement of what happens, “get some traction!”
Why is this exciting? Because everything changes.
Ad-hoc, chaos and trial and error is replaced with good planning, routines and proven processes. Where there had been scepticism, there is now belief. Where there had been resistance and apathy, there is now engagement and momentum.
The importance of strategy
Once you have those solid foundations, then it is all about continually reviewing your performance and strategy. This includes continuing the good work by developing and maintaining the right culture and positive working environment where both people and their work are valued.
Almost certainly your existing people will have the ability to develop their marketing capabilities given the opportunity.
However, as your aspirations for your business grow, you can also consider bringing in new people.
Recruitment can introduce people with the skills, knowledge and personal attributes that you don’t currently have to make a massive difference to your business.
However, it is essential to recruit well to attract the right people if you are going to recruit.
Good people, of course, have choices as to where they want to work, so you need to offer a desirable place to work. That means being an employer that can add value to people’s careers.
Nowadays it’s not just about money. Ambitious candidates want to add value to their careers by having the opportunity to develop their capabilities.
The culture in different companies can vary from the highly negative and toxic, to the incredibly positive and vibrant, almost to the point of it being tangible. Good people don’t want to stick around, working in a negative culture for too long. Good people don’t need to be motivated; they already are. They want to work with people who are like them. Collaborative people who are willing to share with and learn from and inspire each other. Great values can drive the behaviours, which can propel your business forward.
Being able to offer a ‘values-driven culture ‘can help you to attract career-focused high-quality job candidates.
Such people with the right mix of personal attributes, experience, knowledge and skills help create a welcoming, confident, energetic and productive marketing function. This, in turn, resonates with both leadership and good quality salespeople who appreciate how marketing can add value to their own efforts.
Successful marketing is process-driven marketing. This equates to using a proven process defined by a series of stages and a series of steps within each stage. For example, a typical marketing methodology would have perhaps six stages and seven steps within each stage. Experienced professional marketing people follow these stages and steps in the same way that other professional people do the same for their jobs. In the armed forces, it’s called ‘doing things by the book.’
Many small and medium-sized businesses struggle with the process. Often, there is no expertise within the business to know what ‘the book’ or process is. However, in many other cases, the rush to ‘get some marketing out there’ results in many steps of the process being ignored and missed out completely. Developing good marketing capabilities is not about taking shortcuts. It is about learning and following best practices.
Using the right technology can enable your people to embrace the marketing processes. There are various types of technology, many of which you may have already which you can use, others you may not have free, and some paid options.
Technology can transform marketing performance, provided it is the right technology for the right job at the right time.
Business growth comes in two forms: unsustainable and sustainable.
Unsustainable business growth is where the money is thrown into the project at a rate which cannot be sustained in the long term. Sometimes there are reasons for this which can be justified, as in dealing with an urgent problem or setting up the business strategically for the future. However, chasing business growth without measures and controls, or to use a phrase ‘burning money,’ is usually as bad as it sounds.
It is usually far better to grow a business sustainably by following a sound strategy that is measured and reviewed regularly.
Step by step – Enjoy the journey…!
Your journey starts from where you are now.
Whether you want to create a one-person sales and marketing function, delegate marketing tasks to your existing staff, re-organise your existing organisation, or recruit, train and develop new people, we can guide you step by step through your various stages of development.
Contact us to arrange a discussion without obligation.
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