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Managing a startup marketing team? Here's how you can keep the lid on stress

Tamanna Mishra
26th Oct 2017
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Marketing is a high stress job; no doubts about it. As if the accountability to make people love your brand, make sales happen, and be perceived as a relatable brand was not enough, the constantly evolving technology and platforms have not made things much easier.

Marketing professionals are often at crossroads – making choices that can make or break brands and campaigns, fighting for budgets, and making every investment matter that much more. At the same time, the spirits of your marketing team often translates to the quality of your brand conversations and the spirit of your campaigns. Clearly, keeping your marketing team happy, engaged, and productive is good for business!

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Here are some essentials that can make it happen.

C-suite involvement is a shot in the arm

Marketing is the very voice of every brand. Whether you are a small business or a large multinational, the most clued-in leaders are as obsessed with good marketing as they are with the products.

For one, executive leadership’s involvement keeps things consistently on-point and outcome driven. It also helps marketing teams find visibility for the work they deliver.

Continuous learning keeps things fresh and exciting

Marketing teams often have forward thinking mavericks among them. They are always early adopters of new trends and technologies. But the onus to keep messages and platforms relevant can’t just lie on the shoulders of a few mavericks.

It is crucial for brands to invest in continuous learning for their marketing teams. There is a lot enterprises can do to make continuous learning an organization-wide priority and not just that of a few mavericks on the team. Inviting marketing and advertising gurus for new perspectives and periodic classroom training sessions to cover trends and technologies are some examples.

Documentation and processes work for the marketing mavericks too!

Marketers have been led to believe that strong processes, documentation and contingency planning come in the way of creativity. It might be true when processes become more important than creativity and outcome. Finding that balance is essential.

If your marketing team is often asking “what next”, “will this budget ever get approved”, “when should we start planning for our festival campaign”, you might need to re-look at the processes within your marketing team. They could be wasting valuable time in the grey areas between planning and delivery. Documented workflows for admin tasks like planning, agency pitches and finance approvals can help take out the surprise element. They can ensure that your marketing team is much better prepared to take on arduous campaigns or make their case for budget approvals.

Your marketing team must believe in the message if you want your customers to do the same

Your marketing team is the voice that takes your brand’s message to your consumers. If they feel conflicted or haven’t quite bought into the message, the delivery could get botched up due to lack of conviction.

An email or a memo doesn’t quite convince employees, but open channels of communication, thrashing out ideas with each other in the open, and answering their questions will certainly make headway. You must market your ideas, initiatives and messages to your marketing team as you don’t want your marketing team’s doubt coming in the way of delivery. But more importantly, your marketing team has its hands on the pulse of your target demographics. It is responsible for audience segmentation and deep consumer insights. Your marketing team will be able to tell you ways to make your messages stick.

Allow your team’s voice to be heard in the boardroom. Make them partners and democratize messaging and other forms of communication decision making. Don’t just use your marketing team as a sounding board and broadcaster. They are capable of much more.

Make being a team much more enjoyable

Nothing stops creativity in its tracks more than lack of chemistry within the team. It might sound like a no-brainer but often, negativity is allowed to fester within marketing teams too. As a leader, it is important to take charge and keep things cordial and friendly. If that means taking strong action against unnecessary designation - and gender-politics, so be it. In fact, offsites and team activities make them more collaborative, and definitely a worthy investment.

Hire the right people

This goes without saying but I hardly see this put into practice. Sure, you need the marketing MBAs on your team. But based on your product and industry, what are the specific skills you need in your marketing team? Every marketer is not a designer, writer, and strategist rolled into one. Expecting them to be so borders on exploitation.

Dig deep into the capabilities your marketing team needs and be sure to fill in the gaps. Are you a B2B brand that needs a lot of brochures and long-form content? You’d be better off hiring a writer as part of the team. Must engage consumers on social media? A part-time video producer or digital creative designer can help you deliver quality in a time - and cost - efficient manner.

Managing the dynamics of any team is hard work. But when that team is the one that shapes your brand’s personality and voice to external audiences, it needs that much more care and nurturing. What do you do to keep your start up marketing team happy, productive, and on its toes?

Read Also: Practical ‘Zero Budget’ PR and Marketing for Startups

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