Generic is no longer enough. The skill sets of marketing directors, managers, execs and assistants must be honed to specific areas of the marketing mix. Yes, it’s great to have an all-rounder, great to have someone who can try their hand at many different tasks but it’s a lot less valuable than having a dedicated specialists for specific marketing disciplines.
In my opinion, in-house is often better than agency. It’s usually cheaper and enables a quicker turnaround from people who understand your business. But what are the areas required to ensure we are maximising our budgets and upping our efficiencies? I appreciate the following will differ for each organisation, based on their marketing needs but here are a few ‘marketing specialists’ most companies need in their organisation.
Web development has changed tremendously over the past few years. With the exponential growth of open source platforms such as WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, building websites with limited HTML experience is now more possible than ever. I have dabbled with HTML and am an experienced user of the Adobe Creative suite. With these skills I have just built a new website for ONI – Take a look at it here on the dev server – http://onidev.co.uk – I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. The site was built in 2 weeks and cost not a penny more than my time. How much do you think and agency would charge for a site like this? Web doesn’t end there, we need to understand how SEO works; even if we outsource the work we need an understanding of what we are paying for, the same applied to PPC. If you’re outsourcing this sort of work currently, do you really know what the agency is doing for the time they are billing?
If you ignore social media, I predict your business will be dead in 5-7 years. Quicker for some organisations, based on their industry sector. Social is growing at such a rate that it simply cannot be ignored. Our customers are social, we are social, but many of our businesses are not. Invest in a ‘Social Specialist’. Someone capable of building online communities. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and the many hundreds of social networks readily available offer a cheap (free) method of mass communication – utilise it or recruit someone who understands it.
It’s not until you understand the capabilities of CRM that you can really harness its potential. We have adopted SalesForce.com this year and I have been astounded at its flexibility. It’s nothing more than a development platform that offers infinite configuration and a community of developers building apps to further enhance its benefits. Recruit someone who understands CRM. It is not just about tracking sales opportunities, it’s about shaping your entire marketing (and business) strategy. If that’s not worth investment, then I don’t know what is.
It’s important to have someone in the team that understands design. All companies need design skills, whether it’s web graphics, e-mail templates, direct mail or company stationery. I would highly recommend having a member of the team well versed in Adobe’s Create Suite. It will save time and in the long-term, budget.
Last but not least you need a member of the team with Vision. Ideally all of your team members will have vision and share their ideas and concepts. The marketing world moves quickly. We must be agile and up to speed with the latest tools available. Apple has just launched iBooks 2 and iBooks Author, aimed at the education sector to help people design digital, interactive textbooks. How many of you have considered using this for your business collateral? (more on this coming soon). There are so many resources available that provide insight into emerging trends and tools so get researching…
I am looking forward to your comments on these observations and any experiences you may have had…