It’s the same story every year: marketing budgets shrink, teams get (or stay) lean, and there’s lots of scrutiny around results, ROI and the effectiveness of marketing programs. If you’re a member of a small team—especially one managing a global brand—you feel that pain acutely.
The good news? You’re not alone. There’s a distinctive pattern around the challenges that lean marketing teams face, and some consistent and proven best practices that can help you make the most of your resources to drive outstanding results for your company.
Here are eight of the biggest challenges facing today’s small marketing teams, and how to overcome them.
1. Hiring the Right People
It’s nearly impossible to find a new hire that’s good at everything. Instead, look to hire specialists who can adopt the mindsets of generalists, or people with expertise in one or two areas that can also help in several others.
You can also leave certain complex tasks to vendors with superior expertise. For instance, since website and omnichannel translation projects are associated with many linguistic, technical and operational challenges, it’s often best to leave these tasks with a vendor with a mature, flexible localization solution.
2. Moving at the Speed of Marketing
The key to modern marketing success for small teams is in staying nimble, agile and adaptable. Review your plans monthly instead of quarterly, and be prepared to pivot on campaigns, promotions or product launches to stay relevant.
If you work with partners or vendors, keep them informed of any changes. This enables vendors to move at your pace and proactively accommodate your business goals.
In our ongoing example of website localization, notify your localization vendor ahead of time if you’re rebranding, updating inventory or planning to run a promotion. These changes can impact the number of words that must be translated, or may require the creation of new localized phrases to accommodate your rebranding efforts.
3. Prioritizing Efforts
Examine your campaigns, events, and activities, then categorize them as:
- Essential: You have data that proves efficacy and results
- High value: You suspect they will be effective but may not have all the data to back it up yet
- Desirable: You’d like to do them, but they may be new to your planning and are yet unproven
Then categorize the audiences and personas that you’re trying to reach. Identify:
- Essential buyers: This audience fits your ideal customer profile and buys what you offer
- Growth audiences: Those who are likely to buy from you, but might require more effort to convince
- Aspirational audiences: Those who represent interesting and high-potential new markets for your business
Then prioritize as follows:
- Essential plans + essential audiences
- High value plans + growth audiences
- Desirable plans + aspirational audiences
Stay focused on high-priority objectives and goals, while leaving room for more projects as data and resources permit.
4. Content Overload
Avoid the chaos of creating lots of content just for the sake of having it. Instead, produce thoughtful, evergreen content that educates and informs prospects and customers.
You can recycle and repurpose that content for use in various channels. An e-book can become a series of blog posts, for example. One major asset can provide months of content. If you serve global customers, translate this content, too.
5. Scaling and Automating
Many small teams feel pressure to “punch above their weight class,” and technology can help with that. Don’t be afraid to invest in tools.
What processes, practices, or operational tasks take the most time, energy and effort to manage? There may be technology solutions to help you ease the burden and complexity of those projects.
In the case of website localization: Traditionally, translating digital content requires effort-intensive and time-consuming management among many internal teams. However, great vendors use technologies that automate these processes, eliminating burdens from your already overworked staff.
6. Not Enough Hands and Brains
Sometimes, technology alone isn’t enough to handle the burden of bigger challenges. Small teams can call in reinforcements in the way of partners, vendors and agencies that can help execute on more ambitious projects.
A wise budget investment can bring on key partners that have expertise, processes, technology and tools to get the work done more efficiently. In regards to localization, turn-key solutions can provide all the personnel, technology and know-how needed to launch and maintain multilingual websites and other digital content.
7. Drowning in Yesterday’s Marketing
Marketing might be having a digital revolution, but plenty of companies haven’t made the shift.
If you’re still relying on paper—like mailings and catalogs—it might be time to move to digital and take that material online. Webinars and other multimedia experiences can provide insightful content at a distance, and much more cost-effectively.
If you’re selling physical products, learn how to leverage e-commerce to get your goods more quickly into the hands of your customers.
Make sure you localize this content, too. Modern solutions can translate all elements of your website, including complex interactive applications and multimedia content. They also translate omnichannel assets such as social media posts, PDFs and more.
8. Long Cycle Learning
In the past, marketing teams would spend months making annual plans. They’d then execute it and evaluate results throughout the year. The answer for today’s modern, lean teams is to…
- Set shorter-term goals
- Have regular, simplified reporting in place
- Be comfortable with failing fast
…so adjustments can be made based on learnings—in real-time.
When something doesn’t go right, you can do a deep post-mortem later, but it’s more important to have a backup plan. Ask yourself and your team:
- Do we do something different altogether?
- Do we adjust what we’re doing and continue with it, to see if that improves results?
Knowing how you’ll handle the inevitable bumps in the road results in a nimble, agile marketing plan.
Don’t let your team’s small size stop you. Make a few key investments and prioritize well, and you’ll be able to stand toe-to-toe with the largest marketing teams.Last updated on May 01, 2019