I’ve spent my career marketing IT services, and I have the unique advantage to see both sides of the coin: to work with service vendors, be it external or my own consultant peers, to execute digital projects that are necessary to maintain our brand and messaging. While my sales team is selling projects and creating statements of work, I’m consistently working with service vendors to define requirements, execute on timelines and deliver projects.
When launching, relaunching or refreshing a website or deploying an interactive project of some sort, it’s key that you, as the project owner, go into the project with a keen understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish, why you’re doing it and in what timeline you want to achieve it to ensure that you stay within budget and create a final product that will deliver the return on investment that you’ve planned.
What are you trying to accomplish?
You know what you’re looking to achieve…right? If you don’t, STOP – back it up and take it to the mattresses. Are you looking to mature your brand, launch a brand or to refresh your look and messaging to resonate with your target buyer? If you don’t know what you want, then you won’t be able to clearly define your requirements and you can kiss that timeline and budget goodbye. Before you start reviewing vendors or communicating internally with your own team, you need to have a clear understanding of your objectives and what you anticipate will achieve them.
- What do I want to achieve?
- When do I want to achieve it?
- What is my target and goal ROI? If you can’t measure success – you can’t have happy hour with the CFO
One of my favorite Dilbert comics presents marketing as a department of liquor and guessing. While that’s not entirely true (I promise Boss) there is some validity to that. If it’s not working, then you need to change it. To know if it’s not working, you need to measure it.
This takes me to my next point….
Don’t Work in a Vacuum
I have been a department of one for two years. Two years living on the island, foraging for marketing content food, starting fires with flint and ingenuity has made my island visitors not only someone to talk to but, they are key to making sure that what I’m doing resonates with the business. Just because you are charged with marketing the business does not mean you should do it alone. Let’s be honest, if you knew all the answers and how to market everything, you’d be the most desirable consultant in the business. It’s not reasonable to think that you will have or should have all of these details. You need and want input from your executive leadership, your sales team… etc… so you can effectively market your business. Maybe you are working with a large marketing org (lucky) or maybe you are part of a small team (still lucky) but either way, don’t create your work in a vacuum without input. While it may seem in your current state that you should be able to “simply create” in doing so you could very well be changing the direction from a GTM standpoint of the brand that you are tasked to market. It’s key that you understand the initiatives, goals, targets of what you’re marketing in order to achieve expected outcomes. It’s not just your job to get website hits but to make the gains that the organization has hired you to achieve.
Content Is King
Without content, your website is nothing more than “Hey, we do stuff….call us.” And let’s be honest, we know how well that works. It’s the age of page views, clicks, open rates, conversion etc…
- This blog post was optimized for SEO/ note the addition of keywords – Big Data, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Search…. Oh, you didn’t notice them before? I just tossed them in….like just now.
- Leverage the smarty pants that you have on staff both from a technical and soft skills perspective
- Once you start delivering content, you CAN’T stop. You stop, you’re dead. That’s it. If you’re going to start, you can’t stop. We all know the metrics, 6 touches for services, 12 touches for a product. If you expect to keep up with this you can’t just can’t haphazardly push out content. This is easier said than done. Let’s be honest, I’m pushing out content right now, and let me throw out my terms again (Big Data, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Search) *many apologies if I just popped your marketing bubble
Don’t Expect Your Developer To Read Your Mind
I have the privilege of working with SummitXD and the most amazing development team that I’ve worked with. That being said, Sharon supports my execution, she is my consigliere but, she is not my idea maker. When you find a vendor, go into it with what you want, what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it. If Sharon or, your vendor can answer those questions for you then go back to “Don’t Work in a Vacuum” and talk to your team. Your developer should be your partner and help you execute but should not generate the ideas that you are trying to convey but rather provide you with best practices to make the most of your efforts.
Your Budget and Timeline and How to Stick to it
Raise your hand if you have a CFO….okay okay, half the room. Raise your hand if you have a Controller….. I see you… right side of the room waving your hands. Raise your hands if you have an accounting department??? Wow, the whole room…Yerp, we’re all here.
You’re working on a budget…AS YOU SHOULD BE. But here’s the trick, if you’re reading this blog, you’re likely a smaller team and you’re trying to prove your worth. A couple quick black and white tips….CFO style
- Measure what you do as best you can/ Emily… Marketing is an umbrella function…it’s hard to measure. I HEAR YOU! And I deal with this daily. The best advice I can give is to keep your ears and eyes open to any wins that tie back to marketing. If you’re using marketing automation, which you should be, make sure you’re set up to track interactions be in relational or digital to track incoming leads, opportunities, and sales.
- Make your CFO your bestie bestie bestier
Communicate Communicate Communicate
Something isn’t working…..tell them. A post doesn’t resonate…tell them. You need more budget…tell them. Need Ice Cube to write a marketing focused rap…tell him.
I’m pleased to say that I’m about to double my team of one to two and add some serious tooling. The preparedness that I’ve mentioned here is going to allow this department to deliver a conservative 4x results. I will be back soon to review my best practices for deploying a marketing automation system as well as the good, the bad and the ugly to successful product launch from a services marketing org. Hold onto your pants!