How to Organize Your Marketing
As your B2B business grows and you decide to take your marketing more seriously, you have basically three options for how to do marketing well for your business. By that I mean creating marketing programs that work well and are tied to your business results - and help you move the needle as you grow your business.
Option 1: internal staff
The first option is you can hire a marketing person onto your team. This gives you a dedicated, full time person that's focused on delivering marketing results. You get accountability and commitment to drive results.
If you are going this route, make sure you have someone who has some experience managing marketing on your team. Either you're a CEO that started as a marketer, or maybe your sales leader has marketing experience.
There are two challenges with hiring someone.
One is that it's a big commitment. You want to make sure you're committed to this for multiple years because you're hiring someone as a permanent employee. You're signing up to a different level of commitment.
The second challenge is compensation versus experience.
You might say, "I'll start with an entry-level marketer," which sounds good on paper.
The challenge is that you're just getting started with your marketing program and will need someone that can cover whatever comes along.
If you don't have someone managing your marketing and you just hire a "doer" - somebody that can do things but without a lot of understanding of the bigger picture - you may struggle to get results that deliver business benefits.
You'll have activity, but will you have results that help your business?
Typical costs for hiring a marketer in Minnesota:
If you hire an entry level digital marketer and you count benefits, taxes, equipment and a place to sit, it's $75,000 to $100,000 per year.
If you do go to the next level to get broader experience - say a marketing manager - that's more like $150,000 per year.
Marketing directors are $225,000 or more per year.
Option 2: external vendors
Your second option is to work with external vendors to get your marketing done. This gives you a lot more flexibility so you can shift your priorities easier, and it gives you experience in each of the marketing skill sets that you need to invest in.
The two challenges with this approach:
The "general contractor" challenge. You can hire vendors to do the work. But who is going to be the person on your team that's managing those different vendors or deciding what vendors you need and how to use them and how to invest in them?
That becomes a marketing management issue that your vendor probably won't do for you. Which leads to the second issue:
Your vendors have their own agenda for working with you. Who is it that is is accountable for your marketing results?
An example: if you don't choose the right vendor for a lead generation program, you can end up spending money on ads, content or emails that don't deliver the leads you counted on.
The programs may look good, or they may achieve certain activity metrics, but they don't deliver the revenue-driving results you need.
I spoke with a business leader who was working on finding their fifth digital marketing vendor after the first four completed programs that didn't deliver the results they needed.
Option 3: fractional CMO
Finally, a third option - which is relatively new - is a fractional CMO. You hire a marketing leader part-time and have that marketing leader figure out the right way for you to invest in marketing - whether it's utilizing a junior marketer on your team that might already be there, or through external vendors that make sense - and manage overall results of your marketing.
The way that looks in real life is that you invest in a time-share of a senior marketing leader with proven experience that can figure out the right marketing program for your business, and then implement it.
The fractional CMO would do some of the more strategic roles himself or herself, but then look for more efficient resources at different points of need along the way.
This gives you the flexibility that you get from a vendor, but it also gives you accountability and efficiency because that fractional CMO acts as your employee - even though they're part-time - to deliver the marketing that you need to move your business forward.