I was recently asked to come up with a vision for what I expect a marketing department to be. To describe my vision for the marketing department, I chose to use a few (hopefully memorable) words where I can point in the days to come and confirm whether the direction is aligned.
I'll start by describing my vision in a conceptual way but I will also offer examples of how that concept is executed on a day to day basis. The first word I want to start with is:
There's no hiding the size of your company. When you work in a small company, going head to head with competitors that are staffed differently, you structure your marketing department differently. When you can't specialize in specific areas of marketing because of low staff numbers, you must be selective in terms of the projects you undertake.
Selective means you do not spread yourselves too thin or take on projects that, even when successful, deliver minimal impact. You cannot realistically blog twice a day (or probably even twice a week) and you can't develop new print collateral every month. Instead, small marketing departments focus on projects that deliver maximum impact. To be selective, you must be strategic.
To put that conceptual guideline of being "strategic" into practice, I introduced a method by which my marketing department creates a project statement called a V2MOM*. As an example, I created one for the talk I was asked to give regarding our vision (very meta stuff):
Vision: The stakeholders listen to me to speak freely about how I believe our department can/should run.Value: Transparency and understanding of our vision relieves concerns about our work direction and affords all stakeholders an opportunity to make objections/suggestions/corrections as needed. It established trust that we are all working hard and rowing in the same direction.Method: I'll sit at a table and my stakeholders will look at me. They will start by asking what he wants me to say, I'll give this talk and we will discuss my thoughts with questions and answers.Obstacles: I may talk too fast. I may talk too much and drown out the purpose of the meeting with a flood of ideas. I may speak too conceptually when they want concrete game plans / play books. We may suffer from divided attentions.Measurement: When asked, do all parties agree to some vision statement that can be memorialized? Do we agree to an action plan to follow through afterwards?
Despite being selective about the kinds of projects we do, we will not ignore all the major food groups that make up a marketing department. We develop content for inbound efforts but we also build email campaigns for outbound. We spread the word about local networking events, we investigate sponsorship opportunities, we maintain print, web, and multimedia collateral, we handle logistics for out of town conferences, we maintain our customer database and we measure campaign performance with analytics shared during mom meetings and whenever requested.
That's in both the noun and adjective form. We measure our work with numbers. We don't simply set goals, we aim for measurable objectives. Just as developers do in the agile framework, we quantify our work output. We do not allow our preconceived notions about what will work interfere with trying a variety of strategies to achieve our objectives. We experiment with campaign types and measure the results. We are optimistic about our product and company and we are open-minded about ways to do our jobs.
Rhythm to our Rituals
The most important thing I learned from the development team's embrace of the agile methodology is the concept of rhythm to your rituals. That means, bring predictability to how we do business with recurring events. Monday morning Sales and marketing meeting means all hands on deck. Tues - Friday, daily standups at the beginning of the day. Tuesday at 11 we have an opportunity to involve the next level of hierarchy for projects that need approval/input. Monthly, we have a meeting with all partners to review/preview projects and measure our performance.
All projects, tasks and communication for our tasks is done through our department planning tool (asana). There's a peace of mind that comes with knowing you have an appropriate amount of work "on your plate." Plus, you're never more than a few days from having a scheduled time on your boss's calendar to get feedback or an approval.