In 2009, after completing my senior year of college and receiving my business degree with majors in marketing and business management, I was absolutely thrilled to land my very first job as a marketing assistant at a research firm. I felt fortunate to have landed a job that would actually be relevant to everything I studied at college, especially at a time where the economy and job market were not so hot. I started out like any eager young marketer, ready to learn and to help grow the firm I had joined. I started out with loads of enthusiasm and positivity, but the job quickly lost its luster. Why, you might ask?
My experience at this firm lacked direction and training. I was tasked with helping to market the firm and to hopefully bring in new clients. I reported directly to the president and owner of the company and to be honest, I’m not sure either of us knew what we were doing when it came to marketing the company and its services. I felt as if I was thrown into a situation of two extremes. I was either asked to carry out strategies which were way above my skill level and required much more strategic experience than I had to offer, or I was asked to handle tasks that made me feel like a glorified assistant (think booking rental cars and stuffing envelopes). The situation ended up being detrimental to all of the parties involved. The marketing tactics we were blindly executing were not working, so the firm was not seeing results. Not only this, but I became increasingly disheartened with the situation. I struggled with the lack of direction and became bored with the position since I felt my talent and knowledge weren’t being used or challenged to their fullest extent. I eventually left the firm and found Marketri, where strategic direction and training for young marketers are embraced!
Unfortunately, the scenario I experienced is all too common for many professional services firms and their young marketing staff. We often encounter clients who have hired a marketing coordinator, marketing assistant, or inexperienced marketing manager and expect these individuals to perform at the level of a marketing director or chief marketing officer, all while taking direction from as many as 5 or more partners. This is simply not realistic, and it does not generate positive results for the firm or for the eager young employee. Young marketers need guidance from an experienced marketing professional who can guide them in terms of carrying out a well-crafted marketing strategy and who can help to train them so that they can grow into stronger marketers for the future. Here are my top three reasons why mentoring and training your marketing staff is a MUST for professional services firms:
- Maximize your investment: If you’ve hired a young marketing coordinator, you likely selected the candidate because they were bright, talented, enthusiastic, and tech savvy – all traits that will certainly serve your business well if applied properly. Make sure you are getting the most out of the investment you’ve made in your new hire by pairing them with an experienced marketing director or external marketing professional who can give them the strategic guidance and training they need to be successful in their career and to generate results for the firm.
- Grow your business: When young marketers are given direction from all the partners, they may feel like they are being pulled in too many different directions, and they may begin to flounder as they try to satisfy all of the requests. On the other side of the coin, if your marketing professional is given no direction at all, they may feel lost when it comes to taking action towards marketing the firm. Both of these scenarios represent a lack of cohesive strategy and will not help the firm generate the results it is seeking. Having a strategic plan in place and a mentor to provide direction for the marketing employee will yield a much higher success rate.
- Keep talented employees: Offering training opportunities, mentorship, and a career path is a surefire way to keep young employees satisfied and sticking around. When you provide your young employees with a marketing mentor and direction, you will be giving them the tools to succeed within your business and for them to see results in the tactics they are working on. This will make your employee and your bottom line happy!
Ready to take the next step to train and mentor your marketing coordinator or assistant? There are a number of solutions that may be helpful. You may want to designate just one of your partners or shareholders to work with the employee directly, serving as their mentor and liaison and also serving as the filter for all other partner requests. If you have a marketing director or chief marketing officer, you may want to have that professional create a specific training plan and clear cut career path for the young marketer. They should lay out together where the marketing coordinator is going and how the firm will get them there. If you are a smaller firm with limited internal resources, you may wish to tap an external firm like Marketri, that offers marketing mentoring and training.