Growth-minded businesses recognize that traditional marketing structures aren’t set up to deliver the returns they need to achieve their goals. Part 1 of this series explained why many businesses are embarking on a marketing department transformation—changing how the marketing team is structured, improving how it operates, and turning the marketing function into a growth driver.
Transforming your marketing department takes time and effort, but the results are well worth it. To set your marketing department transformation in motion, follow this four-step process.
Step 1: Develop short- and long-term growth goals and strategies
As the old saying goes: If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. To set up a marketing function that drives measurable growth, first you need to articulate your growth goals. That process starts with assessing your current state and identifying your desired future state, taking your leadership team through questions like these:
- How many customers do we have currently?
- How many new customers are we looking to add per year?
- What is our average annual revenue per customer?
- Do we have opportunities to expand into new vertical markets?
- Is there potential to increase our penetration in certain markets?
Your growth goals (and the timeline in which you hope to achieve them) should be realistic based on your marketing budget and other resources. And since growth marketing is a journey, be sure you have the staying power to keep at it for at least 6-12 months as you build up your pipeline.
At Marketri, we find an especially effective strategy is to identify quick wins you can achieve early on—like cross-selling additional services to existing customers—while laying the groundwork for longer-term wins, like increasing your new customer acquisition rate or driving penetration in a new market.
Step 2: Staff the marketing function using fractional methods to lead and execute on your strategy
How you staff your marketing function plays a major role in whether you’re set up to achieve the growth goals you’ve established. Yet, in many B2B middle-market companies the marketing department is made up of a single generalist who’s expected to do it all. That’s not a marketing function; it’s a person who does marketing tasks.
To drive measurable growth, you need a marketing function staffed with resources that are skilled and equipped to power up your marketing. Good talent doesn’t come cheap, so before you staff up you’ll want to identify the right skillsets to execute on your strategy and determine whether to hire in house or outsource. For example, if content marketing designed to demonstrate thought leadership is an important part of your strategy, you might want to hire an in-house content writer. On the other hand, middle-market companies often find it advantageous to outsource specialties like search engine marketing and social media marketing.
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Regardless of your specific strategy, it pays to hire a leader who can spearhead your marketing department transformation and drive the execution of your strategy. But most middle-market companies don’t have the luxury of adding a full-time in-house CMO (chief marketing officer). That’s where fractional marketing methods come into play. By hiring a fractional CMO, you get a slice of a leader who is highly experienced in shaping an effective marketing function—and has turned many a marketing strategy into actionable steps that yield measurable results.
One note: If you hire different companies and individuals to take on various types of marketing, there’s a risk you’ll end up with marketing that’s fractured, rather than fractional. The key to avoiding this pitfall is to develop a marketing plan grounded in your growth goals and strategies, then measure the plan’s execution using technology. Which leads us to…
Step 3: Select and implement leading-edge technologies to facilitate scaling, measurement, and optimization
Without the right technology, your marketers can’t implement scalable programs that generate high growth, measure how well your marketing tactics are moving buyers into and through the revenue funnel, or optimize your marketing campaigns to improve results.
- Marketing automation platforms like Hubspot enable you to power up different marketing approaches that pull buyers to your website and into your funnel, on a large scale. Features like robust workflows, branching logic, and lead scoring and prioritization make these automation platforms much more efficient and effective than trying to handle the same tasks manually.
- If you engage in account-based marketing (ABM)—going after “big whales” that represent big contracts—then technology that automates ABM marketing is another must-have. ABM tools give you the account-specific visibility you need to ensure your marketing and sales touches hit fertile ground by serving up content exactly where your target customers already are.
- When it comes to measuring and optimizing your marketing effectiveness, a robust analytics platform is critical for any growth-minded business—especially if you’re using fractional marketing methods. These platforms pull data on key performance indicators (KPIs) across all the marketing channels you’re using and present it in a way that’s understandable and actionable.
With these resources combined, you’ll always know what’s moving your buyers through the revenue funnel vs what needs fine-tuning.
Step 4: Infuse a marketing agency-like sense of urgency, operational mindset, and best practices
Growth-minded companies expect marketing to contribute to revenue generation, but they typically set up marketing as an overhead function—and that creates a disconnect. Marketing that drives revenue demands a well-oiled machine that leverages the talent and technology you’ve invested in. Just like manufacturing companies use approaches like Lean Six Sigma to eliminate redundancies and inefficiencies, marketing must do the same. So how do you set up your marketing function for success? By taking a page out of the marketing agency playbook.
By their nature, agencies must be accountable down to the last hour and the last dollar. That demands disciplined project management, stringent quality control processes, and standard turnaround times for every type of task. It also requires diligent capacity planning to ensure every resource is working at peak, on the highest priority projects, while staying agile.
When you infuse your internal marketing function with an agency-like approach, you set yourself up to hit your revenue targets much more effectively, with much less overhead. An experienced fractional CMO can help you create this type of operation, build the necessary processes and best practices, and get buy-in to ensure your team understands the value of a new way of working.
To do it effectively, a marketing department transformation requires time, energy, and commitment to see it through. Sure, there will be some adjustments along the way. But for growth-minded businesses with ambitious revenue and profitability goals, rethinking your traditional marketing structure is key to turning your marketing into a true growth driver.
Ready to begin your company’s marketing department transformation? Schedule a free consultation with our CEO Deb Andrews.