How do you manage your marketing activities? Having read a lot (and formally studied) marketing management, I found it interesting that most material on the subject presents the methodology as basically planning. You list out neat objectives, then the things you’re going to do, how to measure, how much it costs and off you go.
I’m sure this works with large international organisations, who it seems most marketing material is written for, but I’ve rarely – if ever, seen this happen properly with smaller organisations.
I’m not an expert on this. However, having worked with larger companies to startups and noticed differences between that can be useful to others new to marketing a smaller business, trying to get a grip on some practical approaches. So this is a summary of my own notes for reflection. I welcome input and advice from others!
Objectives and Campaigns
Before looking at the approaches, you’d need to establish what you’re trying to do. The idea is to identify what needs to happen, and what efforts are going to achieve this
I like the formal approach laid out by Mike Gospe.
Typically, higher management and leadership are to come up with the objectives. Not always the case, especially if you’re consulting for a client, so to choose objectives, ideally, we’d utilise research to find out insights from the audience on where the problems like and then set objectives accordingly.
There are not always clean cut objectives, though. It can be things like “get a website up”. Practically this is ok because often the team just ‘needs to get on with it’ and there isn’t the willingness to refine the objectives into something measurable. Frankly, for most startups, there is no audience and there are no obvious issues other than to get things set up anyway.
With the objectives in place, you can set about putting in metrics to measure your progress on those (KPIs), targets and what activities you will undertake to achieve those objectives. The easy example is to raise awareness of a project to X,000 people, and you will use paid advertising to do it.
At set intervals, such as weekly and quarterly, you would report on these objectives and projects.
This is good where organisations expect formal plans for each quarter, and want you to set targets to achieve.
Ideally, this is at least thought about (not true for places I’ve worked, though!) and then one of either of the following approaches is used.
After the objectives, metrics and activities are all signed off, it’s time to get things into action and keep tabs on the movements. This is where I like to use one of two approaches below.
Project and Routine Approach
This approach is basically having team members including myself follow a set routine and few key projects each. This is the familiar ‘office worker’ style workflow.
A routine would be a string of tasks performed weekly, monthly etc without much variation in the requirements or technique. For example, scheduling monthly newsletters. Projects would be things like overhauling an email template, implementing a new tech solution or testing a new piece of copy.
I’ve found a useful approach to be one suggested by a friend and mentor of mine, which is to set a routine for tasks based on the day of the week. This works by setting the major things to be done each week for certain days, let people get into a groove. when these tasks are finished early, you have time to invest into the projects.
this is better in organisations where things are established and steady, such as medium sized company that’s gone beyond the starting up phase.
Agile marketing didn’t seem to really catch on, or at least from what I’ve seen, but I think this best explains the approach.
Similar to agile development, a backlog of all possible relevant and valuable tasks are listed. Then, at a set interval such as weekly or monthly, a team reviews this list and sets tasks for the period and to be completed before the next review.
The idea here is that the backlog is flexible. things can come in and out. usually, it will update based on what changes are happening in the business, or how difficult a task is, or insights from customers.
I think this approach is great for businesses in a ‘setting up’ phase. What works isn’t clear, and many things need to be built. Things are changing all the time. There is no point dedicating Monday’s to writing copy when you have 3 things that are crucial to setup, and you find one of the 3 didn’t work a week later.
I do think, however, that eventually you’ll end up needing to switch into the project and routine approach, where the project portions of the work have less dedicated resources and probably longer dedicated time lines.
It is interesting that I haven’t personally seen the methods of managing marketing activities other than writing up a project scope style document laid out similarly before.But then again there is so much I haven’t read or seen. I’m interested to hear what other approaches others are taking.
I’ve shown you mine. Show me yours. 😉