How to Adapt Your Marketing Team to Be Ready for 2021

Posted by Shawn Murdock on December 10, 2020

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No matter what’s happening in the world or within your organization, as a marketing leader, you set the course for how your brand expresses itself and interacts with consumers, as well as the course for how your team will accomplish their objectives. 

With looming market uncertainties and global crises, how you organize, communicate, and delegate to your team is likely to look different in the next year. Here’s how to adapt your internal operations for a marketing landscape that’s constantly changing, while still staying on track to meet your goals.

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Be Strategic

Understand Your Customer Journey

A positive experience across the journey makes customers 30 to 50 percent more likely to do repeat business with you, can increase revenue by as much as 15 percent, and can reduce costs by as much as 20 percent. Identify the stages of the journey in which your marketing will touch your customers. Make sure there are no holes where customer interactions with your brand aren’t being monitored and optimized.

Align Jobs with Strategic Objectives

Don’t start having your team place ads or post on social media without a larger plan for how those tactics roll up into your objectives for growth. Every action of your employees should move the company closer to its goals. To keep your team focused on moving the needle, make sure your strategy is well-documented. Those who document their marketing strategies are five times more likely to succeed than those who don’t.

Set Milestone

Give each part of your strategy a goal, and set benchmarks and milestones to hit on your way to it. You’ll know how to divert resources better if you can foresee a plan for reaching your goals and understand when you’re falling short and need to lean in. Setting objectives will make your company 376 percent more likely to be successful in achieving those goals. Additionally, each checkpoint gives you the chance to see how you’re doing, which allows you to reallocate resources as necessary to achieve your goals.

Stay Focused on KPIs

Create a culture focused on results. In the ever-changing world of marketing, it can be easy to get distracted by whatever trend or new tactic is emerging. But letting KPIs drive your decisions and those of your team, instead of staying on the cutting edge of trends, will bring you closer to your goals much faster. Focus on tracking what you can control. If your efforts can’t change it, it isn’t a true KPI.  

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Look For Efficiencies

Plan for Your Peaks

Every business has busy seasons and times when things are quieter. It can be tempting to fill the quiet void with some sort of marketing campaign. But if your KPIs are on track, when you sense a lull, consider using that time to plan for how you’ll staff up to make significant gains during the times when marketing activity is at its peak. Survey your audience to see how you can improve. And stockpile the content you’ll need during your busier season. Blogs, videos, and infographics can all be prepared in advance and deployed when business starts to pick up.

Build Up Your Strengths

Do you have a team of crack content creators? Or maybe your paid media specialists have been killing it in search and social advertising. Perhaps your graphic designer and web developer are constantly churning out amazing landing pages and updates to your website. Wherever your strengths lie, invest in them. Let your team go deep and become the best at what they do best.

Outsource Your Weaknesses

In the areas where you’re lacking, try outsourcing instead of stretching your team into strategies and tactics they’re unequipped to perform well. You’ll end up with burnt-out employees and sub-par marketing. Agencies, freelancers, and contractors are all excellent options when you need new or more skills in your arsenal to accomplish goals. The majority of businesses utilize this strategy; three-quarters of marketers outsource a portion of their marketing to outside agencies.

Supplement with Tech

Nearly a quarter of marketers increased their spend on marketing technology in 2020. The world of martech offers so many options for supplementing your team and gaining efficiency. Make sure you look for software and platforms that dovetail with your team’s current capabilities—you’ll have a more successful adoption rate, and can enhance and scale your in-house efforts. Plus, martech allows you to better track increases in productivity and revenue, which will show you how much you’ve gained from your investment.

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Empower Your People

Share the Big Picture

Team members focused on one marketing tactic or initiative can feel like a cog in the machine if you don’t share how they fit into your overall marketing plan and make a difference. When they feel essential, their work will show it—companies that have highly engaged workforces are 21 percent more profitable than those that don’t. Take your staff behind the scenes and show how their efforts improve the bottom line. Empower your employees to do what’s necessary to achieve your vision. Be open to ideas from your staff that might augment your ability to move forward.

Agree on Expectations

You have expectations for your team—both in-house and outsourced. Facilitate understanding of those expectations by sharing what’s expected of them regarding deadlines, quality of work, and policies. Get their agreement on holding up their end and the ramifications for what happens if they don’t. And hold yourself to the same standard. Make sure you understand your team’s expectations of you and of leadership when it comes to process, approvals, and updates. There should be mutual understanding on both sides of what you all need to do your jobs effectively

Keep Communication Channels Open

Do your part to keep communication bottlenecks to a minimum, and develop a spirit of candor within your team. A culture in which employees are encouraged to share thoughts and ideas can increase engagement by 30 percent and profits by nearly 20 percent. When you facilitate open communication and transparency among the marketing team while eliminating roadblocks to information they need to do their jobs well, creativity and fresh ideas will flow freely.

Adapting your marketing planning in today’s environment is no easy task—especially when it comes to staffing. In order to effectively reach your goals in an ever-changing environment, map out your objectives, and plan tasks and jobs that will help achieve them. Stay focused on the customer journey and your KPIs while using any downtime to make plans for outsourcing or tech investments and training. And empower your team with open communication and big-picture alignment—from in-house to freelancers to agency partners—to move your brand forward with creative and innovative ideas for an unprecedented time.

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Topics: marketing agency, Adaptive Marketing Approach, Marketing Strategy, adapt & adjust

Shawn Murdock

Written by Shawn Murdock

Shawn’s 30 years of brand innovation and entrepreneurship have led to incredible growth for Icon’s clients – both the long-standing and the new. Starting with a focus in consumer durable goods and CPG, Shawn’s vision as Icon’s President is to bring decades of customer journey expertise to digital innovation. In addition to leading the agency, Shawn is an active investor, mentor, and advisor in the startup community.