In my last blog I explored the negative impact amateur marketing can have on your organisation. If you feel that leaving marketers to amateurs (even if that is yourself) is costing your business too much, then there are four key ways to address this:

1. Improve your own marketing skills
2. Improve the marketing skills of a relevant team member
3. Employ a marketer
4. Use marketing freelancers.

However, which option should you choose and how can you make sure it’s the right one?

To help you select the best option, or combination of them, I’d encourage you to take the five steps below.

a. Do you need to improve your Strategic Marketing or Tactical Marketing skills?
A common mistake that many SMEs make is that they take an approach which improves their company’s Tactical Marketing skills, thinking that this will also help them set the strategic direction and set plans.

Make sure you know the difference between Strategic Marketing and Tactical Marketing, so you can decide which needs the most improvement.

If you need a reminder about what they are, contact us to request our free factsheet, Top Tips for Creating a Marketing Plan.

b. Which skills and experience do you already have access to?
Assess your own and your team’s skills. Do you have a person working for you who is great at seeing the bigger picture when it comes to marketing? Or perhaps you are great at executing social media campaigns but unsure how to design one and get results from it.

We’d recommend you look at whether you have people who can:
– Create a Strategic Marketing Plan in line with the company Business plan
– Ensure the Strategic Marketing sets the direction for the Tactical Marketing
– Ensure that the Strategic Marketing goals are met
– Design a 12-month Tactical Marketing Plan, which meets your Strategic Marketing goals
– Manage the implementation of the 12-month Tactical Marketing Plan
– Implement all aspects of the Tactical Marketing Plan.

Do look at all these areas and not just tactical marketing implementation (e.g. marketing activities such as designing adverts, direct mail, social media updates, tele-marketing etc).

c. Which level are these skills at and is it sufficient for your organisation’s needs?
It might be that you have enough knowledge and experience in-house to do what needs to be done. There is no point spending time and money learning how to make a Ferrari engine when your business is happy driving along at Fiesta speeds. However, if you are ambitious and wanting to grow faster, than yes, something needs to change.

d. Asses your financial and time resources
How much can you afford to pay and how much time can you spare? Read my previous blog, “The real price you’re paying for your marketing“, to help you determine how much resource you could spend on addressing a skills’ gap. When looking at resources, remember to take into account the on-going cost and time of developing and maintaining those marketing skills.

e. Combine it all to assess which option works for your company
Bring together the analysis of what you need to improve, which skills and experience you already have access to and the resource you can spend to plug those gaps.

Often, companies find they do a combination of the four options available to move away from amateur marketing. For example:

The Owner / Director will improve their knowledge about Strategic Marketing, ensure they have a good working understanding of what needs to go in a Tactical Marketing Plan, then employ a tactical marketer to design and implement the Tactical Marketing. The tactical marketer might bring in specialist tactical marketing freelancers for specific campaigns eg a digital freelancer to set up and run a digital marketing campaign.

My key message before you take steps to move away from amateur, ineffective marketing is: Stop. Assess what you need, what you already have, what your organisation needs, and what you can afford to do. Then choose the best combination of options that works.

If you want external, objective help in doing this assessment and choosing your options, then do contact me and I’ll help you ensure you make the choice that’s right for you.

By Kara Stanford, Strategic Marketing Consultant, KMS Marketing.
Kara’s next blog, will be  “Read this before you hire a marketer” so do read it if you need to hire someone.


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