Do you really need a full time marketing manager?
If you’re one of New Zealand’s many SME business owners, you may have been asking yourself recently, “do I really need a full time marketing manager?”
Of course you want your business to grow, but with all the marketing automation tools now available, it’s quite likely that these days you may only need just a few hours of specialist marketing resource per week.
Because once you’re set up with the latest, cost effective marketing automation tools, for many SME businesses the time required to effectively market their business can drop quite dramatically.
These tools include (but aren’t limited to) powerful features such as:
· Behavioural-based email automation
· Sophisticated campaign tracking
· Blog builders
· Dynamic landing pages & form builders
· Sales & CRM automation
· Powerful reporting and analytics
Back in the day, these kinds of marketing tools were really only affordable for large corporates, but the internet and SaaS has now made these incredibly powerful tools available (and affordable) for SME’s.
Combine the use of these tools with the expertise of a senior marketing resource (acting as your own marketing department) for a few hours a week and you have a powerful, cost effective recipe for growth.
Done right, with just a few hours a week creating content and campaigns your customers are interested in, marketing automation tools can help you create reliable inbound leads and optimise conversion. Sounds great, right?
The more things change the more they stay the same
Well, yes and no, you still have to get the basics right. Which means it all starts with the customer and understanding your customers so you can engage them with excellent creative, or content that makes your business stand out and delivers value as well as a meaningful brand experience. All the marketing automation in the world won’t help your business if you aren’t helping your customers solve a problem with a meaningful value proposition and relevant offers.
What to get right BEFORE you start any marketing automation project
Start with a plan
Once you understand who your customers are (current and potential) and what services or products they want, you’re ready to ask three very simple but powerful questions:
1. Where do you want to get to? Your answers to this question will define the marketing objectives for your business.
2. How are you going to get there? Your answers to this question describe your marketing strategy and will usually have a 2-3 year – or possibly longer – horizon. Defining your marketing strategy requires you to make strategic choices. Your business could decide to focus on particular customer or product segments, to launch a new brand, diversify into new products or services, or to partner with certain distributors or customers.
3. What do you need to do? Decide on the tactics or action steps you will need to take within a specific timeframe (usually one year) and how you will measure performance. Your tactics are ‘bite-sized’ actions or pieces of work that drive your strategy forward and help you reach your marketing and business objectives.
For example, if one of your strategic choices was to sell products online, then one of your tactics will likely be developing your website to make it SUPER-easy for your customers to transact online. That way, your website (a tactic) aligns and supports the marketing strategies and goals of the business defined in question/step 2.
Understand your brand promise
Some business owners may say, “I’ve got a logo – that’s my branding sorted”, but branding is about so much more than a logo – essentially it represents the experience your customers have when they interact with you and your products, or services and conveys your ‘promise’ to them of what to expect when they transact with you.
Once you have decided on the qualities (or values and attributes) that are most important to your target customers then you must encompass these qualities in everything you do. It’s not only your look and feel and marketing communications – but right through your entire operation, so that your brand permeates the whole customer experience – from advertising, to sales, billing and after sales service.
And, because your brand promise informs all your communications with customers, it also allows the creation of that content and advertising to be more compelling, consistent and authentic.
You’re ready for marketing automation
If you understand, live and breathe your brand promise, know exactly who your customers are and know clearly where you want your business to go, you’re ready to implement a marketing automation solution.
Once your marketing programme is ticking along using the latest marketing automation tools, you may well find the time required to effectively market your business no longer requires an expensive full time marketing resource.
Instead, you might find that all you need is a few hours a week. That’s where VOLOM can help you by providing you with a dedicated senior marketer for your business. VOLOM becomes your marketing department only for the number of hours you actually need.
Of course, from time to time, a big marketing project will present itself. Maybe you need help developing your marketing or brand strategy, or maybe you’re actually ready to implement a marketing automation solution for your business. Well, no drama, just contract your VOLOM marketer for the hours required to complete the tasks on a project by project basis. No wastage, no expensive overheads.
Still think you need that full time marketing resource….?
Cam is a high-achieving marketing and communications practitioner with over 15 years’ professional experience gained across a number of industries, both locally and internationally. He has worked successfully in large, complex organisations such as Shell and Heinz, as well as small, innovative New Zealand owned businesses. Cam has a broad skill-base, matched with a collaborative approach and thoroughly enjoys working at both a strategic and operational level (use password: Cam).
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