17 Apr Executing Your Marketing Strategy Without Micromanaging
Have you ever been in a meeting where everyone gets all excited about doing something? Maybe it’s about making a change in software or holding a big event. Whatever the “something” is, everyone is excited. Then you leave and a month later you get back together, get excited again but nothing ever gets done. Pretty soon you’re just phoning it in for those pep rallies because you know you’ll never actually see anything happen.
As the CEO or CMO, you’re now in charge of those pep rallies, so if you really want to play the game, you’re going to have to create a real strategy to implement all the great ideas you’ve generated. Then you have to let your marketing team have the freedom to get it done, because you know you don’t have the time to do it yourself. If you’ve grown your company from the ground up, letting go of the “if I want it done right I have to do it myself” mentality is one the hardest battles you’ll fight.
Start by hiring the right people. Easier said than done, right? Let’s just pretend you don’t already have a marketing director. If you were going to hire again, what traits would you look for? What tasks do you need completed that’s just not happening now? If your marketing director is a fantastic doer of marketing but not a leader of her staff, maybe it’s time to consider shifting some responsibilities. If you have a great leader, but he’s not so great a specific parts of marketing like graphics, strategy or writing, you might consider outsourcing some of those tasks. Before you can confidently expect your marketing department to do their work without you looking over their shoulders, you need to have the right people in the right positions. To do that you need to know what you need that department to do.
Once you have the right people in the right places, spend some time talking through the marketing strategy. Let the team pitch their marketing ideas to you and ask them the hard questions. What resources will they need to implement the plan? What other departments will be involved? Who are they marketing to? Have they talked to the sales department for insight into the buyer? How quickly can the strategy be implemented and how quickly do they expect to see results?
If the goal of your marketing department is eventual sales, they need to be working with the sales department from the beginning. Don’t underestimate the challenge of the sales vs marketing mindset.
You can make sure your marketing department has thought through all the challenges, goals, timeline, costs and needed resources without micromanaging. Your job may not be to create the strategy or implement it, but you do need to be aware of what the strategy is and keep your department accountable. Letting go so someone else can do the thinking and doing can be one of the hardest growth issues an entrepreneur faces.
One of our top clients hired us because no one within his office wanted to manage the marketing aspects of the business. I mentioned this to another business owner who commented if they worked for him, they would do what he assigned them to do. In theory, that works great. However, strategy without buy-in from those responsible for implementing it will never really get off the ground. You need to gauge how much buy-in your marketing director has for her strategy before sending her off to implement it. If no one else buys into how well this will work, something is missing.
Once everything has been approved and your team is off to implement, ask for a timeline of implementation and follow up to make sure the strategy is on track. If a piece of the process doesn’t work, it’s okay to re-think how to implement the strategy. It’s not okay for your marketing director to just sweep it under the rug and hope it never comes up again. Failure isn’t the biggest problem here, apathy can be.
If you feel like you are doing all the marketing work, although you have a marketing director and even a whole department paid to do this work, you may have missed a step in the process. When you put the right people in the right job and give them the right tools to do that job, you’ll make a lot more traction than you do trying to do it all yourself.