Firstly, let’s address the elephant in the room. The pandemic has taken a toll on the nation’s mental health. Marketing has, in particular, suffered from a decline in advertising spend to correspond with increasing demand for results. In today’s article, we discuss relieving the pressure and transforming marketing for a healthy team.
This is the fourth and final part of our series of articles in support of UK National Heart Month.
Transforming marketing matters
Yes, it’s true, transforming marketing matters. The need has never been greater and with good reason. In tough times, advertising and marketing budgets can be reduced but owners, boards and bosses still want results to prop up revenue and cash flow. This leads to a dichotomy between investment and return that is hard to square.
If markets, and indeed, marketing were perfect, would we see all marketing investment leading to ROI? Would we see marketing budgets hold firm? Unfortunately, not everything generates ROI and also to differing degrees. Lower economic activity does not justify the same level of advertising spend as there is less cash to capture.
So, it is natural to expect a reduction in budgets during lean times and areas with lower ROI stand up less to scrutiny. Furthermore, variations in industry, products, services, messaging, budgets, technology, talent and more determine the success of marketing effort. So, just because your marketing rocks, it isn’t realistic to assume you operate in a vacuum. In summary, there is little option but to focus on doing more with less in most cases.
Why not check out our related article on why effectiveness is a big theme for 2021.
Relieving the pressure on marketing
Doing more with less sometimes also means just doing more. We have observed this with many clients as a result of internal changes and pressures. So, how does it manifest itself?
- Fewer heads mean more work for me as the load is spread across less people.
- Less third party spend means more work is brought in-house that I either don’t have time for or I am not trained for.
- Lower engagement means I don’t feel motivated to do my best work and so many hours.
- More pressure to ‘wow’ and deliver results when there is so much for me to do.
Ultimately, nobody wants to feel overwhelmed at work, isolated and anxious. The result is often your best marketing talent taking flight. But, what can you do about it?
A healthy marketing team
The good news is that if you read this far, you are either feeling the pressure or you are managing a team that is stretched thin. This is a really important step to acknowledge first that something needs to change. Change can come from the bottom up or from top down.
For marketing co-ordinators through to marketing managers, you have the ability to raise awareness of pressures. Importantly, your business should have a forum or opportunity for you to highlight pressures and stresses. Think about raising this at your 1:1, in your employee engagement survey, on your weekly team call or to a trusted colleague.
For heads of marketing through to CMO, chances are that you either know that your team is under pressure or think they can handle it. If your role is also under the microscope, the pressure comes from a risk of lost talent or board-level showcasing of results. Either way, ignoring the pressure and plight of the team leads to a worsening employee engagement index (EEI), worse results and the headache of recruiting people that need time to get up to speed remotely.
Let’s look at some ways you can change things up.
Five ways to relieve the pressure by transforming marketing
Here are five ways, whatever your level, to transform marketing and relieve the pressure:
1. Stop the ‘spray and pray’
2. Look for lead generation hacks
3. Revisit your development
Many people had the time and space to focus on studies in 2020 but just as many failed to make the time so why not brush up on your knowledge.
4. Review what you have today
Although finding time may be difficult, reviewing your current capability and what it delivers can make the marketing function stronger.
5. Look to a marketing consultant
It seems counter-intuitive to invest but hiring a qualified consultant gives you the agility, objectivity and expertise to make long-lasting improvements.
Making the case for transforming
As always, the status quo is an easy case to make. It requires no additional effort or money to stay as you are, at least in the short to medium term. However, the long-term prognosis may not be so rosy, especially if the marketing team feels it has no support. The pressure from the owners or the board is also a risk if results don’t improve.
Corner-cutting only lasts so long before the consequences manifest themselves in one of several ways. Here are 10 ways that corner-cutting in marketing can make things worse:
- Competitors start taking market share
- Marketing assistants through to managers are copywriting, designing, posting and emailing
- Customers can see where you are cutting corners
- Websites are not fully ecommerce enabled or digital experiences lag behind
- Team members experience burnout and are not engaged
- Creative work suffers under time and cost pressure leading to fewer ‘wow’ moments
- Team members feel like the only way out is to move on
- Senior marketers run out of road when the board runs out of patience
- Innovation is stifled
- Marketing effort cannot scale without investment in tools
A one-stop solution for transforming the right way
We like to think of ourselves as a broad church that offers solutions for growth and effectiveness. As former leaders of teams and businesses, we know the pressures that can overwhelm a marketing team and we have solutions to help you navigate to a healthier place. None of our approaches are ‘sticking plasters’. In summary, we help you create lasting change for the benefit of your people and your results.
Additionally, you can contact us via our simple contact form for us to call you back when convenient for you. There is also our in-depth look at why hiring a marketing consultant benefits you.
Finally, why not look back at our other articles for UK National Heart Month in February.