Every one is talking about it. This is our time, the golden age of marketing is almost here, and sooner than you think if you decide to step up and take it. There is huge opportunity for marketers to engage with broader areas of their businesses, and be THE change benefiting their function and the company as a whole, but on a much larger scale than normal. The focus is finally back on the customer, which is surely where we come in, but unfortunately there are still some significant hurdles to overcome.
Two hurdles marketers need to overcome:
Marketers are overworked and underpaid
It is a fact, marketers have a lot on at the moment, and a huge number of marketers feel underpaid. Whether they are underpaid or not is difficult to quantify, but it is this “feeling” which is critical. If a marketer feels undervalued, morale, initiative and enthusiasm will all be in decline. Why should they go to great lengths to source and develop a client base for a business by which they do not feel justly rewarded? Feeling underpaid can also amount to feeling that your function is not “understood” internally, adding to friction between teams.
Marketers aren’t great at marketing themselves
Marketing is often seen as a cost rather than a necessary asset and sadly it’s possible that marketers are to blame for this misconception. Despite having access to hefty budgets they are not always trusted to make vital commercial decisions, and they don’t always make the case for these in a way that financial heads and company bosses will get on board with.
An insider tip for marketers in this situation: You need to step up!
If you want to take the golden age of marketing by the horns, this is what you need to do.
Company bosses do not say that to the marketer (they don’t want to hurt their feelings) but they will say that to other people in the business and outside of it.
One particular boss said to me once: “My marketers are being paid fairly, and yes I acknowledge that they might be “a bit busier than normal, lately”.
Another one said: “I think they are great at getting what needs to get done, and get the campaigns out, but they don’t think strategically and commercially enough”.
I know how frustrating and unfair this can be, as I have been there many times while I was a client side marketer. Unfortunately it is a catch 22 and let’s be honest, change happens from within not from without.
Now, here is how you can tackle this scenario if you really want to get paid more, loads more, and have all people in the business raving about the marketing team.
Accept that you need help
Do you think there is something you could be doing better, but you don’t have the time to improve on it? Or is there a new initiative you simply don’t have the resources to try, but you know could work wonders for your company? Build the business case for filling these gaps and making the necessary efficiencies, which would likely be solved with the addition of an extra employee or an external agency. Demonstrate how either will help you to drive new initiatives, and where and when the ROI will be observed.
Get stuck in
Get involved in your CEO’s pet project, and show that you’re willing to dedicate your time (more likely your extra time) to something that may not benefit you directly. If you come across as a team player and show an interest in other areas of the business, you should be able to get your colleagues’ and superiors’ buy-in when it’s your turn to ask for help.
Dive in deep
You will need to get your hands dirty to truly make an impact on your marketing function, and show what a well-oiled machine it can be. Get an in-depth understanding of CRM systems, and how they will interact with the other areas of the business. You could single-handedly transform the way your company is run with this powerful knowledge.
Don’t clock off early
To truly change perceptions of the marketing team, you may have to put in some serious hours. In addition to your day job, you should read around industry trends, developments and news stories, and be prepared to stay behind after hours to get new systems up and running.
I know, I know… you might be thinking “as if marketers ever leave early from work!!”. I know this is not the case but you need to be prepared to add additional hours or become more efficient at not wasting time on jobs that really do not add value.
Meet your new best friend – data
Data and statistics will strengthen any argument you have about acquiring new resources, developing new strategies, or purchasing new and much-needed software (Marketing Automation, CRM etc). If you have the facts to back up your position, those above you (and in the finance department) will have far more confidence than if you simply tell them that it’s a good idea, or that you think you need it.
Agree to disagree with your boss
Yes, you don’t always have to say yes to everything your boss says, simply because he/she is your boss. If you don’t feel completely satisfied with the status quo, then say so. But don’t simply disagree and sulk, show how things can be done better or faster, or both!
In the meantime, make peace with any frustrations you may have with your superior, and work with them to find solutions to both of your problems – don’t think that just because you’re not happy with something that you’re on your own. I guarantee that your boss will respect you for it. And if they don’t like it, then probably you will not have a chance to make a mark in that company anyway.
Tackle that project you’ve been putting off
In most cases (from experience) this will be your database. Either it’s a messy, non-uniform mass of figures and fields, or it doesn’t interact with your CRM system, creating a whole lot of extra work for you. Rectifying either issue may seem like a mammoth task, but the rewards you’ll reap for tackling it head on will more than outweigh the seemingly enormous effort it will take. This is a project which may well be suited to an external agency, freeing up your time to look at the next thing coming down the track.
Trash the to-do list
Checking off minor, somewhat insignificant tasks on a daily basis can lull you into falsely thinking that you’re getting lots done. The reality is that you’re unlikely to put anything on a to-do list that will take more than a few days to complete, let alone months. Instead, set objectives of things you’d like to achieve, and accept that these won’t be quick fixes and will take some time and thought.
Make it your golden age
Hearing that a new golden age of marketing is about to dawn can be somewhat meaningless on an individual level, so why not make it a personal development, and use it as fuel for your own trajectory. Stop thinking small, and realise what you can achieve with your company’s support. Do what you need to, to get their buy-in, whether it’s digging deep into the ROI of an initiative and number crunching, or simply committing to seeing a project through to completion.
Once you tackle your demons and escape the “usual marketing team” samsara, you will have entered the golden age of marketing where you will be respected as a revenue driving agent and as a result of that you will be paid whatever YOU think is fair, on your terms.