As a small business owner, you realize the importance of marketing but struggle to “get marketing done”. It’s time to get some help, but what should you be looking for when hiring either an employee or a consultant? For many small business owners, the first question to answer is what type of help do I need? Do I need a marketing manager or a marketing leader?
Do you need a marketing manager? Titles vary, but for this post let’s assume that a marketing manager is a the person who goes to work with a set of tasks that need to be executed in a repeated fashion to deliver a desired result. They “do marketing” usually through a combination of performing activities themselves and managing projects involving other staff and outside vendors.
Of course, not just any marketing checklist will do (if only it were that easy). Someone needs to create the strategic plan. Someone needs to take the owner’s vision for the business and translate that into the practical list of tasks for the marketing manager. Let’s call this person the marketing leader.
The marketing leader must also be able to look at things from the customers point of view and challenge you (the owner) to change your products and services to serve them better. As the business owner, you must be willing to listen to these challenges and know when to accept them and when to stand your ground. This can be difficult; if you are not willing to listen and be pushed a little, you are better off not spending money hiring a marketing leader (whether a full time position or consultant), as you will certainly view the money as “wasted”.
The situation that seems to cause the most frustration in small business is when there is a person assigned to marketing but they haven’t been given a strategic plan or specific set of goals to follow. They are always busy but no one seems to be happy with the results of their efforts. Owners feel frustrated because they aren’t seeing the results they need, but they are not sure how to correct the problem.
Luckily, this is also one of the easiest problems to fix. Working with a marketing leader to create a strategic marketing plan allows you to give your marketing manager the direction they desire along with the criteria for them to know when they are doing a good job. It is a true win-win situation as the employee is much happier at their job and the business owner get the results they were expecting.
So the answer to the question “do you need a marketing leader or a marketing manager” is you need both. However, once you understand the roles of each, you are better prepared to make informed decisions about how to spend your time and money. Many small business owners can work with a consultant for a short period of time to create their strategic plan and then use existing or more affordable resources to carry out the day to day activities.