From copywriting, blog posts, websites, case studies, and downloadable content to social media engagement, emails, lead nurturing, list building, advertising and whatever else plops into our laps during the workweek, marketing teams of today have to be able to juggle all of them with grace. So how do small marketing teams with under 5 people manage?
In the 1600s, the potato had entered Spain, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Holland, France, Switzerland, England, Germany, Portugal and Ireland. But it was regarded with suspicion and disdain as the general public decided that they were unfit for human consumption. Even peasants refused to eat them, and hence potatoes were only used to feed animals or as sustenance when starving. Some even felt that the potato plant’s resemblance to plants in the nightshade family was a sign that it was the creation of witches or the devil.
But this was all to change when Frederick the Great of Prussia used reverse psychology to cleverly market them as valuable treats. He planted a royal field of potato plants and stationed a seemingly heavy guard to protect it. The people assumed that anything to be guarded would be worth stealing, and so they would sneak into the field to take some and grow their own, with Frederick’s guards intentionally pretending to not notice. This is how the consumption of potatoes became popularised in Europe.
And this is only one out of countless examples of a successful marketing scheme. The way we celebrate Christmas and longing for a diamond wedding ring are just more displays of how much marketing has helped shape the world we live in. And just how pervasive it is has helped the industry be placed at upwards of 41.7 trillion worldwide by Forbes in 2019.
It’s true that the heart of every successful business is strong and consistent marketing. Which is why companies rely heavily on their in-house marketing departments. But despite the importance of marketing, it’s not uncommon to see companies with small marketing teams. The average number of people in a marketing team for companies with 1-49 people is 3. So aside from jumping on marketing trends and choosing the right marketing tactics for your company, what else can your small marketing team do to boost their effectiveness and productivity?
Reddit user u/OPenguin suggests that using time efficiently is the key to thriving on a small marketing team.
“Only attend meetings that are absolutely necessary. A large portion of meetings never need to happen and can be accomplished with a few emails,” he states, with the most upvotes in the thread.
Other users have also added on to that, chiming in with how they ensure that what limited resources they have are not being wasted on arbitrary meetings. An idea that many redditors seemed to agree with is setting an agenda for their meetings, with some even going so far as to only accept and schedule meetings after receiving a clear agenda as well as the expected outcomes of the meeting. These expected outcomes can include all sorts of action items, having drafts done, metrics set out and so on and so forth.
After having this agenda set out, pick out the top priorities and have them discussed at the start of the meeting, so if anything in the agenda changes accordingly, it can just be striked off. It also helps that this can help others gauge your bandwidth. When you draw a clear boundary with what you are prioritising, and everyone agrees with it, they are less likely to add on more menial tasks at the risk of the more important tasks.
In Big 3 Media, this is followed to a tee in team meetings. As a marketing team we make sure that everyone has a unified goal, in this case boosting engagement and awareness. This helps ensure everyone in the team knows what to focus on and create content that provides results. With our priorities in engagement and awareness, we start our meetings by reporting data we’ve gathered throughout the week and analyse the patterns. We look at data on how people are interacting with our website, and modify our remarketing and ads strategy based on that. Then we move on to providing updates on the bigger projects we’re currently working on, only bringing up other topics if we feel there are discussions and changes to be made as a team.
Finally, to ensure that you aren’t losing out by having these fewer and shorter meetings, it would help to double-check that the follow-up items on your to-do list are what your stakeholders actually need.
Onto our next tip, the marketing team in Big 3 Media utilises a content calendar to better manage all our projects and ideas. Creating interesting and relevant content from week to week and month to month is a question that weighs heavily on every marketing team’s shoulders. Especially in small marketing teams where the lack of human resources results in a lack of time and creates more challenges in the process.
A content calendar is a concrete way of easing the process. It helps divide content planning and creation into easily manageable parts. With a content calendar you can easily divide your own, and the whole marketing team’s workload and manage it time-wise. This helps to make sure the content you have planned in a few bullet points doesn’t remain just a plan, but actually gets scheduled and implemented. Once your content calendar is filled, the time you would’ve previously spent wondering what to write will be spent on creating useful content instead.
Content calendars can be as simple as using a free Google Sheet tool that’s shared amongst all team members. This way, everyone participating can edit the sheet from their own computer. Though you’re free to customize your calendar and make it as complex or as simple as you want, the common goal should always be easily seen. That as well as other important points like, which channels the contents are being published on, what kind of content is being published and what it includes, when the content is being published, who’s creating and publishing the content etc.
When your content calendar is in place, it should also highlight the importance of utilising the resources you already have. The recent circuit breaker has only exacerbated the woes of having a small marketing team. In Big 3 Media, we like uploading BTS pictures regularly, but with current circumstances, it has been difficult to go out and capture them, especially during phase 1. So we utilised what we already had - we sifted through BTS shots that we already had but hadn’t posted, and made it work. Similarly, most companies have useful content in store that hasn’t been utilized such as customer survey results and data from the CRM system. Old blog posts can also be updated and put through different channels.
Another essential is evergreen content. Evergreen content is always relevant and useful since it’s not bound to any certain dates or time. With the example of Big 3 Media’s BTS pictures, it's nice to always have a few extra shots from projects you can upload as having content in store that can be used when the schedule gets delayed can really help save time as well.
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