4 Low-Cost Marketing Strategies

Every Business Should Know

Let’s be real. Marketing can get expensive. With such a strong emphasis on digital marketing, it can seem like the only way to be successful is through buying ads or paying for SEO. While both of those are very popular and useful ways to market a business, there are also many marketing strategies that come at a low cost, if not for free. These four low cost marketing strategies create organic traffic and exposure for your business, and they all place an emphasis on the most important factor of marketing: the people you’re targeting.

1. Network

Networking is one of the most effective marketing strategies that everyone has access to, and there are plenty of ways to do it. First and foremost, LinkedIn is a platform entirely devoted to networking. As a rule of thumb, you should be adding everyone you shake hands with or speak with, including customers, similar business, and more. In building a personal brand through LinkedIn, you can promote your business brand. To make networking even easier, you can make a group page for your business, or join a local business group and participate with the existing members and audience to boost the exposure of your business.

LinkedIn is far from being the only way to network. Networking is a mindset and an approach that prioritizes people rather than positions and businesses. In putting people first, you can determine who matters most that you need to get to know and what you can do for them. Then you can market your business to a broader audience in a less obvious, more effective manner. The best part about networking is that you can essentially do this anywhere, at any time, with anyone. Is there a local business association that holds meetings? Join it. A chapter of a marketing association in your city? Join that, too. Start utilizing any and every opportunity that brings you in contact with new people.

2.Build a partnership.

Ever heard the saying “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine”? That’s exactly how a partnership works.  Let’s say you own a car dealership and there’s an auto detailer and repair shop down the road. If you partner with the auto shop, you can refer people there for maintenance and keep their business cards or flyers in your dealership. In return, the auto detailer can refer people to your dealership when they need to buy, sell, or trade their vehicle and they can also keep business cards or flyers in their shop. Maybe there’s even a discount if they mention that the partnering business referred them.

Building a partnership can market your business to the customer base of another business, and vice versa. This works especially well for local businesses, as it fosters a sense of unity and support within the community. People are exceptionally receptive to recommendations that come from businesses they already trust and have had positive experiences with, and you can use that to your advantage through a partnership. It’s cost-effective, marketing-savvy, and will build your reputation.

3.Ask for reviews.

The only things people pay attention to more than what it says about your company on Google are the reviews that previous customers have left you. I once found a rental property I was interested in, and upon searching for reviews of the real estate agency I found an entire Facebook page dedicated to very passionately written bad reviews about the company (and that was in addition to a low Yelp score). I was horrified after reading all the negative experiences other customers had with the agency, and have since warned many friends to avoid renting or buying any properties from them solely based on those reviews.

What your customers have to say about you is the clearest indication of the kind of experiences future customers will have with you. By asking customers who have had positive experiences to write a quick review on Facebook or Yelp, you can accumulate endorsements and vouchers. Plus, if someone is willing to take the time to write a review, it’s likely that they’ll recommend your business to their friends and family for future needs. All of this comes at little to no cost and lets your customers to do the marketing for you.

According to Carlos Fearn, a Marketing Consultant at Rankology, “Consumers trust online reviews nearly as much as if it were a recommendation from a friend. It is imperative in today’s online society that a business encourages their customers to leave reviews on the major social networks and portals to show their satisfaction with your company.”

4. Blog.

Helping people before they actually need anything from you is a marketing tactic that A) might not even be a “real” marketing tactic and B) has great returns. An easy way to do this is by adding a blogging component to your company’s website where you can offer useful tips and insights about things related to your business. The only thing it will cost you is time, and by blogging about the topics you’re already knowledgeable about, you can market a friendly credibility that’s in the interest of the customer.

For example, if you’re a bakery, share some easy recipes around the holidays, or offer tips on baking for people with food allergies. By providing a real utility to the kind of customers who have use for the information you’re providing, you create a relationship that establishes your business as a helpful authority. People tend to value helpful over pushy and if someone has used tips or recipes from your bakery’s website, you’ll probably be their first thought when they need a sweet treat on their lunch break.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/273560

6 Reasons Your Strategy Isn’t Working

Nearly every organization is grappling with huge strategic challenges, often with a need to reimagine its very purpose, identity, strategy, business model, and structure. Most of these efforts to transform will fail. And, in most cases, they will miss the mark not because the new strategy is flawed, but because the organization can’t carry it out.

The Covid-19 pandemic undoubtedly presents the biggest challenge institutions of all types have faced in over a century. Leaders will have to reimagine their strategy and values in the context of the “new normal” we are entering, requiring organizations to fundamentally transform their systems of organizing, managing, and leading to enable effective execution of the new direction — and do it quickly. In this crisis speed is essential.

My experience in working and studying corporate transformations points to the six common interrelated reasons for failures — I call these hidden barriers. Leaders often don’t know — and sometimes do not want to know — about hidden barriers that stand in the way of their institution’s transformation. People do not speak up about these barriers, fearing career derailment and even firing (think Boeing, Wells Fargo, Volkswagen, and many others). That in turn makes it impossible for senior teams to learn about barriers and change them.

To survive this pandemic, leaders must confront the reality of their competitive environment and the hidden barriers that make their organization ineffective. Let’s look at the six barriers:

Hidden barrier #1: Unclear values and conflicting priorities

Often, the underlying problem is not this or that strategy, but rather the process by which the strategy was formed — or the lack of any such process. In these cases, strategy is often developed by the leader along with the chief strategy or marketing executive and only then communicated to the rest of the senior team for discussion. If the whole team is not involved clarity and commitment are not possible.

Your organization is suffering from this barrier if you notice any of these signs:

  • Lack of clearly defined and articulated direction — strategy and values — to guide organizational behavior.
  • Conflicting priorities, conflicts over resources, and poor execution of strategy, due to functions and businesses each championing their own priorities.
  • People feeling overloaded, due to everything being labeled a priority.

Hidden barrier #2: An ineffective senior team

Top-team ineffectiveness was reported by lower levels in almost all the organizations we studied. Most of the time, this ineffectiveness comes from the top team not speaking with a common voice about strategy and value. The organization-wide consequences of this were low trust, low commitment to strategic decisions, and different and sometimes conflicting understandings of what the strategy even was. In all these cases, the leaders and their senior teams had not solved the fundamental problem of getting everyone on the senior team in the room to talk about the right things in the right way — honestly and constructively.

Your organization is suffering from this barrier if you notice any of these signs among the senior team:

  • Most of the time spent in meetings is spent on information sharing and updates on short-term operational details — sometimes known as “death by PowerPoint” — rather than on confronting and resolving tough strategic and organizational issues.
  • There is little constructive conflict in meetings. The real decisions get made outside the room.
  • Members of the senior team don’t speak with a common voice about strategy and priorities.

Hidden barrier #3: Ineffective leadership styles

When it comes to individual leadership, there are two ineffective styles: a top-down approach that does not involve team members sufficiently and a laissez-faire, nonconfrontational style. We’ve found you can attribute either style to the leader’s personal aversion to conflict or to the lack of a clearly defined process for opening a constructive debate and carrying it through to a decision (in other words, a decision-making process). As a result, the leader doesn’t learn about what members of the senior team or lower levels really think about what’s not working and why.

Your organization is suffering from this barrier if you notice any of these signs:

  • The leader tends to get lost in the operational details and works “one level below their pay grade.”
  • The leader is not visible. They spend relatively little time on communicating overall strategy or direction or on forcing constructive debate in order to resolve contesting views.
  • The leader does not confront issues or people directly to resolve festering conflicts.

Hidden barrier #4: Poor coordination

Coordination across silos — functions and business units or geographic regions at the corporate level critical to effective execution of strategy  — is always a challenge. Ineffective senior teams whose members defend their fiefdoms are unable to agree on how to reorganize and reshape the culture to overcome naturally occurring obstacles to coordination and collaboration. If there’s friction, then the cross-boundary team structure for integrating value-creating activities either does not exist or is flawed and the lack of honest, collective, and public conversation prevents the organization from recognizing and correcting those flaws.

Your organization is suffering from this barrier if you notice any of these signs:

  • It is painfully hard to execute on cross-functional, business, or geographic initiatives, often even despite good personal relationships.
  • Work on horizontal cross-boundary teams is seen as secondary to meeting the goals for one’s own unit (e.g., function, business, or region).
  • The roles, responsibilities, and decision rights of functions, business units, or regions are unclear.

Hidden barrier #5: Inadequate leadership development

Research has shown that leaders usually develop not through training, but by carrying out challenging new assignments. This requires managers to sacrifice for the larger good by giving up their high potential leaders to other parts of the organization for their development. When this doesn’t occur naturally and regularly it is tied to three hidden barriers already discussed: An ineffective senior team (#2) in a siloed organization with “fiefdoms” (#4) that does not have the perspective or capability to define collaborative organizational values and behaviors it expects of leaders (#1), nor to design a talent-management system that enables the cross-boundary developmental assignments required to develop general management ability.

Your organization is suffering from this barrier if you notice any of these signs:

  • It keeps coming down to the same usual suspects when something important needs to get done.
  • Too few opportunities are provided for leadership and management development.
  • The senior team does not review leadership talent regularly or offer career paths that enable the development of general management capabilities.

Hidden barrier #6: Inadequate vertical communication

Inadequate honest vertical communication is like a bad game of Telephone. The necessary information about an organization’s strategic direction and values does not circulate from the senior team to the lower levels and the necessary information about the barriers to that direction and those values is not recirculated from the lower levels to the senior team. Rather than productive conversation, there is increased confusion.

Your organization is suffering from this barrier if you notice any of these signs:

  • There are few forums for upward communication in which managers and associates can openly and publicly communicate with senior management in a low-risk environment.
  • Open, public discussion of difficult issues goes against the cultural grain.
  • Senior leaders rarely if ever ask lower levels to tell them about problems that stand in the way of the company’s effectiveness or how those problems can be improved.

The inability to confront the first five hidden barriers, and to foster an honest conversation about them between the top team and lower levels, makes it impossible to transform the hidden barriers into the strengths your organization needs to survive the Covid-19 crisis.

Start with an assessment. If you recognized your organization in each or most of the six hidden barriers described above, your organization is probably having a hard time transforming itself in some important way. If most of the items in any given hidden barrier category are true, that particular barrier is playing a strong role in undermining the effectiveness and agility of your organization.

Source: https://hbr.org/2020/06/6-reasons-your-strategy-isnt-working

What are the top SEO trends for 2020?

Graphics showing new SEO trends for 2020.

1. Snippets and On-SERP SEO

Rich and featured snippets have been around for a while now, and both have resulted in considerable changes to Google’s SERP (that’s Search Engine Results Page). In short, snippets are a type of Google search result that displays additional information about a page. When we refer to On-SERP SEO, it means providing content that is optimised for the changing layouts of a search engine’s results page. While a standard Google search result will only include a page title, a meta description, and a URL, rich snippets provide greater detail. For example, a rich snippet for a recipe might also include the calorie count and the cooking time; for music, it might include the genre and release date; and for products, it might include a price or star rating. Unlike rich snippets, which are simply search results with extra context, featured snippets appear at the top of the results page above the number one organic search result. Because of this, featured snippets are particularly useful for mobile users, who often need quick answers and aren’t always willing to scroll through results. They’re also the result that is most often relayed to voice searchers, with voice software usually providing just a single response to voice queries.
Google’s emphasis on snippets stems from its desire to provide searchers with what it calls ‘zero-click results’, which is when a user receives an immediate answer to their query rather than needing to click on a link. Given that featured snippets automatically take the top spot on Google’s SERP, they’re often highly competitive when it comes to rankings. Perhaps more pressingly for SEOs, however, the rise of featured snippets is pushing organic results further down the page. While not strictly part of SEO, pay-per-click advertising (or PPC) is another marketing technique that needs to be factored into On-SERP SEO. As with snippets, PPC results appear at the top of the page above organic search results. You can distinguish them from organic results by the small ‘Ad’ label that appears to the left of the page’s URL.

With PPC results and featured snippets often appearing together above organic search, it’s clear that position one on Google isn’t necessarily as valuable as it used to be. After all, it’s possible that you could achieve position one only for your website to still appear over halfway down Google’s SERP. While one way to combat this is to begin your own PPC campaign, this is by no means the only route towards sustaining high ranking positions. Luckily, SEO still has an important role to play! When fine-tuning for the SEO trends of 2020, you’ll need to optimise content for snippets alongside using more traditional strategies to attract organic traffic. One way of doing this is by creating content that focuses less on including keyword phrases and more on answering a user’s queries. Try using a tool like AnswerThePublic to identify question-related keywords to target in headings and subheadings. By producing content that offers concise answers to common questions, you’ll have a chance of taking those coveted featured snippet positions and gaining a significant number of clicks.

2. Mobile-First Indexing

Mobile optimisation has been an important Google search trend for years, but it’s now reached the stage where it’s an absolute necessity. Earlier this year, Google announced that all pages will be indexed using its ‘Mobile-First Index’, which means that it will access the mobile version of a page first when determining rankings. Gone are the days when a mobile version was considered as a secondary alternative to a primary desktop page. To put it simply, Google is deprioritising desktop sites and considering mobile versions as the main pages of websites. Because of this, it’s vital that mobile sites contain the same or equivalent content as their desktop counterparts. In the past, mobile sites sometimes contained reduced content to eliminate material that wasn’t optimised for mobile. With the advent of Mobile-First Indexing, omitting content is no longer the way to go.

A web designer optimising a site's layout for mobile.

If you don’t have a mobile site or if your mobile site is broken or incomplete, the desktop version will likely receive a ranking penalty. By the same token, if your mobile version is fully functional and engaging for users, your desktop version may receive a rankings push! There are a few basic rules of thumb for mobile optimisation. For mobile-ready content, remember to limit paragraphs to two or three sentences, organise content with headings and subheadings, and use bullet points or lists where appropriate. For a mobile-ready user experience, creating clear navigation and ensuring rapid loading speeds are key. If you’re already optimising for mobile, there’s a good chance that mobile-first indexing won’t have a significant effect on your SEO strategy. Nevertheless, it’s always worth using Google’s  free checker  to determine whether your site is optimised for mobile.

Previously considered an emerging technology, visual search has come on leaps and bounds in recent years. Within one year of launch, Pinterest Lens was already receiving more than 600 million visual search requests every month. By September 2019, Lens was able to identify more than 2.5 billion objects within the fashion and home industries.

It’s not just Pinterest that have got on board; services such as Google Lens and Bing Visual Search also allow users to upload an image to a search engine and receive a page of results.

By extending searches beyond the limitations of the written or spoken word, visual search opens up new possibilities for searchers. For example, a user could upload a photo of an item of clothing to receive styling tips, or a photo of an ingredient to explore recipe ideas. Most commonly, visual search is a way of allowing customers to find similar products based on something they already like. This makes it particularly useful for users searching for a very specific item, eliminating the difficulties of describing a unique version of a product using conventional text-based search.

An image-based approach to search creates new challenges and opportunities for SEOs. To make your site accessible to visual searchers, you need to take great care with your image SEO. Be sure to use descriptive, keyword-focused filenames, alt-text, captions, and tags, since SEO-friendly metadata will ensure Google can crawl your images successfully.

As well as including SEO-friendly metadata, it’s important to make effective use of images themselves. Always use relevant images that help contextualise your content, which is key to creating an engaging user experience. Aside from this, using unique images rather than stock photos will always give you an edge. Finally, there’s an important balancing act to consider in terms of image quality. Images need to be of sufficiently high quality to be read by visual search AI, but not so large as to impact on your site’s load times (using an image compressor is key!).

Visual search looks set to be one of the biggest SEO trends for 2020. By optimising your content with an eye for visual search, you’ll help your website gain a share of this new and rapidly expanding source of clicks.

4. Videos

Video marketing is an essential tool in any business’s arsenal.  Cisco estimate that video will account for 82% of all web traffic by 2022, and when used correctly, videos can be an effective way to spread brand awareness and drive conversions. With the increased pace of online browsing, some users don’t have time to consume lengthy blog posts. In this climate, incorporating video into your content is a great way to increase engagement. While the main benefit of video is an enhanced user experience, videos also provide a direct ranking boost by increasing the amount of time a user spends on your page. Given the culture of sharing videos online, creating informative or educational videos within your niche can also be a way to encourage natural backlinks; even with the wealth of changes to SEO, these remain an essential ranking factor.

A woman preparing an educational video for her business.

There are a few things to consider when optimising for video. Although Google’s AI can crawl a video file and extract data from its audio and video, it only gets a partial picture. This means that as with visual search, it’s important to optimise metadata using keyword-orientated titles and descriptions. Additionally, providing a transcription of a video will ensure you’re covering all the bases, allowing users to view content as traditional text if they prefer while guaranteeing content will be crawlable for search engines. Take a look at  Google’s Search Console  for more advice on best practice, SEO-ready video.

Our final SEO trend for 2020 is something that’s been discussed frequently over recent years: voice search. In 2016,  Google revealed that 20% of mobile search queries were made using voice search. Other estimates suggest that 50% of all searches will be voice-based by 2020. With technology like Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, and Siri increasingly a fixture in homes worldwide, talking now sits alongside typing as a viable way of conducting an online search.

Moving forward, voice search will become even more powerful because of its integration with things like snippets and mobile search. We talked above about optimising content for featured snippets by targeting common questions. Adapting for voice search is a key part of this, since voice searches are themselves predominantly question based. By targeting long tail keywords made up of natural phrases that closely correspond with our everyday speech patterns, you’ll ensure your content mirrors the kind of language that forms a voice search. More specifically, creating a detailed FAQs page that is structured around long tail questions is a great way to target voice search and featured snippets simultaneously. As the landscape continues to change, it’s likely that optimising for voice search will come to underpin every aspect of SEO strategy.

Source: https://www.bigfootdigital.co.uk/seo-trends-for-2020

10 ASPECTS OF MARKETING THAT WILL NEVER CHANGE

(Part 2)

6. Human-to-human communication

Marketing has gone through so many iterations. Indeed, the current obsession with measuring and tactics (as seen in the rise of the discipline of “growth hacking”) has forgotten one crucial, unchanging aspect of marketing: communication. As much as you want to focus on data, don’t forget the key to successful marketing is communicating thoughtfully to the human on the receiving end of that message. – Patrick Ward, Rootstrap

7. The use of psychology

Marketing relies on psychological concepts to make its strategies effective. FOMO, discounts, two-for-one, giveaways and many other marketing strategies are all based on influencing people’s feelings. This fundamental link between marketing and psychology will stay strong for good. What this means for leaders is that they would benefit from learning more about psychology. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

8. Measuring your ROI

One thing in marketing which will never and should never change is ensuring you are getting a return on investment for your marketing spend. A brand should always ensure they are not only branding, but are also growing their business with direct ROI at the same time. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

9. The human imagination

So much has been automated and made efficient over the past two decades of marketing innovation. We now have great tools to eliminate the need for routine strategies and tasks that sucked up our time and money. What will never be automated is the human imagination. What we need now and always are powerful ideas. Ideas drive the purpose and possibilities we need to thrive as a culture and industry. – Lana McGilvray, Purpose Worldwide

10. Authenticity

The one thing that will never change is being authentic to your brand. In the last few months, we have seen campaign messaging shift, but the creative executions that resonate with consumers are the ones that stay true to their brand message. Honing in on your message and mission will help brands develop stronger connections with consumers and stakeholders. – Cathy Oh, Samsung Ads

Source: https://adage.com/article/industry-insights/10-aspects-marketing-will-never-change/2261801

10 ASPECTS OF MARKETING THAT WILL NEVER CHANGE

(Part 1)
As media, technology and customer needs continue to grow and change, so too does the world of marketing. While certain marketing trends come and go, others have withstood the test of time.

Below are 10 things about marketing that are unlikely to change, and what you can learn from them.

1. Needing the right message for your audience

Marketing is essentially about getting the right message to the right audience — that will never change. What does change are the tools to do that more efficiently and effectively. Your target audience and message can change too, but you will always need to match the two. – Dan Beltramo, Onclusive (formerly AirPR)

2. Getting the product right

Now more than ever, marketers need to perfectly fit their product or services to the customer. If it doesn’t fit, the customer will quit. Customers can discover more products than ever, they are exposed to more reviews and they are less tied to heritage brands. Before, brand awareness and messaging could cover up inadequacies, but companies and products (and sourcing) are forever exposed. – Reid Carr, Red Door Interactive

3. Time for creativity and inspiration

Creativity and inspiration have been at the core of marketing since day one. They remain the decisive factors in driving brand success, employee engagement and memorable ideas.  Leaders must take time out to foster these and not get so caught up in business. Think Don Draper at the end of Mad Men. We find a way to allow for creativity or marketing will cease to inspire its audience. – Maggie O’Neill, Peppercomm

4. The need for ideas

It might sound trite, but the most valuable product an agency (or consultancy) can offer a client was, is and always will be big, bold, business-altering, projection-crushing, trendsetting ideas. Other “aspects” of marketing will evolve or disappear. – Chad Robley, Mindgruve

5. Telling stories that connect to the heart

The days of scream and tell are gone. Find that authentic story that showcases your brand’s uniqueness and feel proud of that. Now that the story is in your heart, find the best way to tell the story so it lands in the heart of your target audience. Stories have been there from the beginning of time and are eternal. Make sure your stories land on your audiences’ hearts. Have fun storytelling! – Arjun Sen, ZenMango

Source: https://adage.com/article/industry-insights/10-aspects-marketing-will-never-change/2261801

YouTube  today announced a new direct response ad format that will make YouTube video ads more “shoppable” by adding browsable product images underneath the ad to drive traffic directly to brands’ product pages. The introduction of the format comes at a time when advertisers are trying to find new ways to capture consumers’ growing interest in e-commerce shopping, amid a pandemic that’s kept people from shopping brick-and-mortar physical stores for fear of infection.

YouTube, in particular, believes its platform can serve this shift in interest, given that today 70% of people claim they’ve bought a brand’s product because they saw it in a YouTube video.

To use the new shoppable format, brands will first need to sync their Google  Merchant Center feed with their video ads. They can then visually expand an ad’s “call to action” button with the best-selling products it wants to feature in the ad in order to generate traffic that sends viewers directly to the product listing on the brand’s own website.

One early tester of the new format was Aerie, which wanted to advertise on YouTube to both boost consumers’ love for its brand and its apparel sales for its Spring 2020 campaign. The company ran targeted ads on YouTube and saw a 25% higher return on ad spend than the prior year, as well as nine times more conversions than with their traditional ad mix, YouTube says.

Related to this news, YouTube also announced “Video action campaigns” — a way to bring YouTube video ads that drive these sorts of calls-to-action to YouTube’s home feed, watch pages and Google’s video partners, from within one campaign. The company says it will also include any future inventory that becomes available, like the What to Watch Next feed.

An early tester for this ad product was the startup Mos, which aims to help students find college scholarships. Over the past few months, Mos saw 30% more purchases for its service at a third of the cost, compared to its previous YouTube benchmarks, said YouTube.

Brands can also use the lead-generation forms along with their video ad campaigns to capture more leads while also running their ads, as Jeep did with its Korea branch leading to a 13x increase in completed leads at an 84% lower cost per lead.

YouTube isn’t the only tech giant that’s focused more heavily serving the needs of brands — and particularly e-commerce brands — in recent months. Facebook and Instagram rolled out Shops in May, to turn business profiles into online storefronts where consumers can buy directly from brands without leaving Facebook’s or Instagram’s app. Snapchat also this month expanded its dynamic ads for e-commerce retailers worldwide, allowing brands to easily run automated product ads on Snapchat’s app by way of templates connected to product catalogs.

But YouTube’s ads are perhaps more similar to those shoppable video ads now appearing on streaming services like Hulu and NBCU’s Peacock, where viewers can transact using their remote control. In YouTube’s case, however, viewers are just clicking and tapping their way through to the advertiser’s site.

Like many, YouTube believes businesses will continue to need solutions like these to find leads, boost their web traffic and drive more online sales, even when coronavirus-driven government restrictions lift and physical stores re-open.

Typically, announcements like this would have been made at YouTube’s NewFronts presentation, but as that event is now online-only due to the pandemic, YouTube has rolled out the news early.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/06/18/youtube-announces-a-new-shoppable-ad-format/ 

What Makes a Good Marketing Manager?

Many marketing professionals aspire to become excellent marketing managers who can direct entire teams toward commercial and creative success. Despite the allure of becoming a marketing manager, however, it’s an immensely difficult position to master. Many marketing specialists do quite well when producing content or conducting research but lack the skills and experience needed to be good marketing managers. Business owners and marketing gurus are thus left grappling with the question of what makes a good marketing manager so great, and how to avoid making mistakes that stymie the whole team’s progress.

Here’s a review of what it takes to become a good marketing manager, and what techniques to avoid if you want your team to remain successful over the long term.

Know your role as a marketing manager

If you’re a marketing manager or are angling to become one, there’s a good chance that you possess some experience working in the lower rungs of the marketing hierarchy. Producing content, making pitches, and conducting research are all things that some marketing managers can involve themselves with, but at the end of the day, you’ll ultimately be shying away from these tasks to focus more on the overall management of your marketing community. This is because your role isn’t to be a creative guru who produces excellent copy or shapes the media narrative, but rather to be the excellent team leader who steers others toward success while preventing burnout, inter-team disputes, and costly over budgeting.

There are best practices to follow, but understand that much of this will be learning as you go. This is because excellent marketing managers can’t be churned out in a factory-like procession, but must instead cut their teeth by personally involving themselves in the nitty-gritty of running a marketing operation. Much of your work will likely involve budgeting, so upping your financial literacy is strongly recommended if you seek to become a marketing manager one day.

Not all marketing managers are financial geniuses, but those managers who want to churn out a marketing strategy that works need a comprehensive understanding of money in a way that other marketing specialists don’t. You’ll also need to become adept at explaining complex topics to your subordinates, as they may not possess the industry experience or level of education that you possess as a manager. Time and time again, good marketing managers make time for their team members and ensure that nobody is left behind. Otherwise, the entire marketing plan quickly falls apart.

The ins and outs of leading a team

If you have little to no experience leading a team, becoming a marketing manager can be an incredibly intimidating experience. This is because exceptional marketing managers understand how to set a clear vision for their team before enabling their individual team members to fulfill that vision in the most effective way possible. Sometimes, a subordinate will have a plan or approach that you yourself could not implement, and in this situation being an excellent marketing manager entails supporting them as they work to implement that plan in a way that only they can.

You should also know that leading a team necessitates taking responsibility for your failures. If the marketing manager is the person in charge, then they’re also the person who needs to take the blame

when something goes wrong. Sometimes, marketing managers suffer because they’re totally unfamiliar with the common mistakes of the position. Reading up on those errors is a surefire way to avoid them in your own future. Many senior marketing managers feel threatened by the presence of other seasoned professionals, for example, and only hire largely unqualified candidates to ensure they remain the top dog. By depriving your team of the expertise you need, you’re acting as a bad manager.

Good marketing managers also know when to let an unproductive employee go. If your organization is failing to achieve its marketing goals, there’s a very good chance that your current team isn’t sufficiently streamlined. Lackluster content producers need to be replaced by savvy marketing managers who understand how to find replacements that can get the job done. Relying on freelancers and third parties can help you keep your budget under control, but full-time content specialists are even better in terms of the materials they churn out.

Fail to make the difficult decisions about hiring and firing as a marketing manager, and you’ll never rise high up the ranks of the industry.

Learning how to implement change

One of the most important elements of any marketing manager’s commercial success is whether or not they can implement change. Many people can recognize the need for change, but relatively few of them can actually implement it. This is because change is inherently disruptive and threatens the status quo, which in turn entrenches itself. Good marketing managers are those professionals who know how to implement team-wide changes without disrupting individual team members.

Sometimes, you won’t be able to count on the help of your team when implementing changes. This is because your content specialists and other team members may be preoccupied elsewhere, forcing you to grapple with change alone. Target Marketing has done an excellent review of how to go about implementing marketing changes in such a scenario. Marketing is ever-changing, and those managers who don’t become masterful implementers of innovation will quickly find themselves obsolete and replaced.

Sometimes, the changes you’ll be implementing have nothing to do with your team and everything to do with convincing a client to adjust their marketing strategy. In this scenario, you’ll need to rely on your mastery of finance to argue that certain changes are needed from a budgetary perspective. Elsewhere, you’ll need to potently argue that certain changes simply must be fostered if you intend to reach a target audience with a message that will resonate. Oftentimes, clients will be hesitant to implement sweeping changes that undo previous work or imperil past investments, but your job as a manager is to cut through this doubt and force through painful yet necessary innovations.

You need to take responsibility

Finally, good marketing managers need to take responsibility for their failures. This is the marketing industry – it is inevitable that you’re going to fail, as even consumers don’t always know what they want to buy. If you react to failure by melting down, blaming your team, and refusing to foster much-needed changes, you’ll continue to wallow in obscurity at the bottom of the industry. Real marketing professionals take responsibility for their failures, identify what caused a given marketing strategy to backfire, and come up with plans to do better in the future.

If this sounds difficult, that’s because it is. Being a marketing manager isn’t easy, and involves constantly reassessing your strategy to identify and expunge any flaws you find. Marketing managers can produce powerful results when they follow this playbook, though, and will soon find themselves in hot demand if they capably steer their teams toward the finish line in a timely fashion while remaining under budget. Want to become a great marketing manager? Start by improving yourself before pivoting to a position of team leadership, and you’ll be masterfully implementing marketing plans in no time.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/351731