So, you’ve grown your SME enough to bring in your own Marketing Executive. Congrats! Running a business while wrestling with ever-changing SEO, arguing with the latest Facebook algorithm and tinkering with Google Analytics isn’t an ideal use of your time.
But just pause a second.
There are some things your shiny new marketer will be too polite to tell you. But we’re going to say them here. Because we can.
Think of it as a ‘Second Edition’ revision to whatever Haynes manual for management of a marketing specialist you have in your head.
Ready? Here goes…
1, Play to Their Strengths
We need to talk about ‘Swiss Army Knife’ marketers. Again.
If you think you’ve discovered someone who is a talented writer, an amazing designer, a video editor who’d put Thelma Shoonmaker to shame AND someone who can close at a trade show…congratulations. You’ve somehow discovered a new breed of human being. You might want to contact a scientist.
Back in the real world, your Marketing Executive will have strengths. Figure out which one or two you need most, then recruit for this. We’ve seen some garbled recruitment adverts for Swiss Army super-beings in our time (if you need to keep re-advertising, that’s a clue your reputation is tanking in the job market as a result).
Then, consider bringing in outside help for your new colleague’s inevitable weaknesses. Yes, you can do it in-house. But it is the best use of their time?
2, Don’t Tell Them How to do Their Job
Phew. We might need to a bit of straight-talkin’ here.
This one’s for you Mr, Mrs, Miss or Mx ‘Rising Star’. If you’ve employed a Marketing Executive who has studied their profession and lives and breathes their job, don’t land in with some bit of out-of-context marketing advice you heard at a networking lunch or read on Facebook then a demand they make it so. That advice is absolute rubbish much, much more often that you’d think because it'll tend to be tactical ahead of strategic and definitely not tailored to your business. Always frame it as a question for their views. Trust us on this.
Oh, and one huge, huge thing: if you employ someone who’s main talent is – say – design, don’t tell them how to be a designer unless you want them to be eyeing up the job ads. You can question a design, yes, without questioning HOW to design. The difference is worth learning and it applies to everyone from dealing with writers to data-nut marketers. A talent isn’t a just a skill, very often it is a lifelong identity. Respect that.
And, sure, while we’re making friends and influencing people let’s double down: if you don’t want to be interviewing again in 12 months you might want to pay your Marketing Executive properly too. The going rate being low doesn’t mean you’ll win any staff retention by making it a race to the bottom.
To be even more blunt, if you’re repeatedly advertising for a content-writing designer with a passion for SEO, video and Instagram filters “in a fast-paced office with free Fanta machine…£16,000” it’s time for a time-out to think again. If you don’t put much value on marketing then your decision to employ a Marketing Executive isn’t going to fix this fatal error at the very core of your company.
TLDR: marketers compare employers just as quickly as you compare candidates. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
3, Look Again at Your Structure
We’ll be blunt (who, us?!): your Marketing Executive’s time spent with ‘the brass’ should generally be spent in YOUR office. Not in the Sales Director’s office.
You need to input, collaborate and feedback to your Marketing Executive. All the time. And you need to do this with a focus on short, medium and long-term goals.
Show us a Sales Director and we’ll show you someone who wants – probably - their results sooner, not later, and isn’t a fan of windy reasons why they have to wait. Not a criticism, just a highly-recommended consideration. We’ve been doing this for 20 years.
Think about it. If you have one eye on the future, you need your Marketing Executive on-board and rowing too.
Oh, and you might want to have a think about your culture too. Want creative output from someone? Making them feel chained to a desk in a noisy office for exactly seven hours a day doesn’t mean you’ll end up with seven hours of ideas and output. If the work is good, let them work however and wherever they like as much as is possible. Someone who takes pride in what they do can manage their own working style and environment to produce the best possible results for the business.
4, Listen, Listen, Listen
Your marketing executive is going to tell you things you might not want to hear: no that social post isn’t going to ‘drive sales’ because you need a landing page and a proper customer journey, no it wouldn’t look OK if we just took a crack at it ourselves on Canva. And so forth.
You’re going to hear that the thing you want is going to take more time and money than you’d expected. Listen to what your Marketing Executive is saying. They are out to win results too.
Most of all, don’t balance their view against random things said by your mates from the golf club or the industry awards dinner. Again, context is everything. Their company is not your company.
Ps – Why Are We Telling You This?
We’re an unusually straight-talking, business growth-focused creative and marketing agency. We believe in uncompromising commercial focus, strategy first and tactics second with lots of web, brand, content and data know-how along the way.
We aren’t in-house Marketing Executives, but some of our team have lived that life.
We simply want to help, and when your company develops enough to need outside help with big picture marketing strategy and execution we’ll be happy to talk.
But most of all, we’re passionate about marketing and really love writing blogs full of brutally honest stuff other people can’t say.
Thanks for reading.