You know you need to boost your marketing performance. You’ve had countless conversations about it, you’ve tried plenty of ideas. You’ve even sunk lots of money into it – but the results simply aren’t there.
Sound familiar? Ahead, you’ll find 5 telltale signs that your marketing leader doesn’t have what they need to deliver ROI-positive marketing initiatives.
1. Your marketing strategy can’t get off the ground.
Have you ever been excited about a terrific new marketing idea, only to watch it fizzle out before it ever gained any momentum?
Coming up with a great marketing idea is easy. But there’s a lot that needs to happen in order to take a clever idea and transform it into a successful marketing campaign that delivers tangible results.
A successful marketing campaign requires dozens of very specific skill sets across multiple channels:
- Target Audience Definition (Who are you speaking to? Do you know their motivations, preferences, and pain points?)
- Clear brand positioning (What makes you unique? Do you have a compelling marketing message and a consistent brand voice?)
- Goal-setting and KPIs (What does success look like?)
- Content writing and messaging (What you are going to say?)
- Graphic Design (Who makes it visually appealing?)
- Web Development (Who posts it on the website?)
- Social Media (Who understands what belongs on each of the various social media channels? Who’s creating and posting content that fits each one?)
- Email Marketing (What about email marketing?)
… and the list goes on. In most cases, it’s impossible for one person to do it all – let alone to do it the right way. If your marketing initiatives are consistently falling flat before they gain momentum, it’s likely that your marketing leader is trying to do too much.
2. Your marketing leader doesn’t have an accountable team backing them up.
Most marketing managers are trying to keep their head above water as they juggle:
Even the most innovative marketing initiative will fall flat if the strategic leader behind it lacks a strong, accountable team handling day-to-day execution.
If your marketing leader is bogged down in the tactical details, they won’t be able to focus on the core of their job: developing a marketing strategy that fits your business’s long-term goals, and ensuring each part of that strategy is being executed properly.
Building an accountable team goes beyond hiring more people – it’s about ensuring you have the right people filling the right seats. An accountable team knows exactly what they’re responsible for, and doesn’t need to be policed or nagged by leadership to get things done.
3. Your marketing lacks a clear strategic vision.
If your marketing leader does have the support of a strong, accountable team, but they still seem to spend the bulk of their energy putting out fires rather than thinking big-picture, they may simply be the wrong fit for a strategic leadership position.
4. The output of your marketing team simply isn’t up to par.
Remember when we listed all the different skill sets that are required to pull off a successful marketing campaign?
It may feel obvious, but it’s certainly not something you can ignore: your marketing campaign won’t be successful if each of the components listed above isn’t executed flawlessly.
Those leading your marketing team are responsible for understanding the big picture and holding the rest of the team accountable for executing each piece. If your marketing team is consistently delivering marketing materials that don’t fit your brand voice or simply lack polish, it’s a sign that there’s a lack of accountability and vetting – and that starts with leadership.
5. Marketing acts as the catch-all for leadership’s ideas.
It’s not uncommon for marketing to act as the referee for the game of “is this a good idea?” from sales or executive leaders.
If leadership forces marketing to constantly shift priorities based on urgency, you are preventing them from bringing your business success. Get out of your own way and trust the experts.
If you’re confident the person in your marketing seat is the right person to assess all the fantastic ideas out there, set priorities, and create a clear, actionable strategic plan, then let them do their job and focus on executing that plan.
And if you don’t trust your marketing leader to identify the right marketing strategy for your business? Rather than trying to fill in the gaps yourself, focus on finding a strategic leader you believe in.
Okay, so your marketing manager is overwhelmed. Now what?
There’s more to great marketing than money, or even talent – successful marketing requires strong leadership and an accountable team:
- Strong leadership when it comes to strategy.
- Strong leadership when it comes to execution.
- An accountable team to give leadership the tactical support it needs.
An overwhelmed marketing leader indicates that your marketing efforts lack at least one of these key elements. So where do you go from here?