Social media manager. Email marketer. Content creator. SEO expert. Digital ad manager. Data specialist. Growth hacker. Marketing and sales liaison. Communications manager. If you have more than one of these job titles associated to your name, you’re not alone. Many B2B technology companies have lean marketing teams where “Marketing Manager” is a general umbrella position for “manage all of the marketing, please.”
Maybe this made sense back in the 1950s when the main role of a marketer was to determine which magazines to advertise in. But today, there are multiple disciplines to think under the umbrella of marketing strategy:
- strategy and branding
- content marketing
- digital marketing
- web and SEO
- public relations
- data analysis
- and more
With so much to do, and only 40 hours in a work week, how can you determine the best focus of your time? The short answer is: measure ROI and focus your time on what matters. But, only 33% of B2B marketers actually measure their ROI. That means two-thirds of B2B marketers are working around the clock, blindly. That isn’t good for you or the company you work for. So what can you do?
Here’s your game plan for making the most of you and your marketing team’s time and resources.
1. Think Big Picture
You know you need to prioritize. You have too much to do and too few resources. You must focus on what matters by creating measurable KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). A KPI is the numeric value assigned to determine if you are on track for a goal. If you want clear and understandable goals, find the best KPI and track it like a bloodhound.
Start at the Top
What are your company’s goals? Think overall sales and client retention. At the end of the day, everything you do for marketing is for inside and outside sales. If you don’t know what these goals are, schedule a time to meet with leadership to find out — or simply ask your colleagues working in those departments.
What are your marketing team’s goals? Do you need more inbound leads? SQLs? MQLs? A much higher conversion rate? If you marketing team has never set any goals, now is a good time to talk to your CMO or director. If you aim at nothing, you hit it every time.
What do you need to do achieve those goals? Once you have the goals in front of you, figure our what you need to do to achieve these goals. Ultimately, this will result in adding or reallocating financial resources and/or time resources. At this point you might have a “gut instinct” as to what needs to happen or who needs to be hired, but in order to actually get the resources you need, you’ll need to:
- Create reports
- Log your hours
- Research the competition
- Create a plan
2. Create Reports
Cinch up your belt. It’s time to measure ROI. (And if you’re in the two-thirds who never have, we’ll walk you through it.)
ROI stands for “return on investment” — which for marketers applies to both the financial investment (such as a paid ad campaign) as well as the time investment (which is a financial investment, too, after all).
Let’s say, for example, you want to compare the ROI of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ad campaigns and your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You would use Google Analytics to track the website traffic and conversion rates of the pages visitors land on from a paid ad, as well as organically from Google. Now, let’s say that the average conversion rate on a PPC landing page is 0.5%, and the average conversion rate of a landing page reached organically (be it a blog, piece of content, etc.) is 3% — you’d be able to quickly infer that SEO has a greater ROI than PPC because SEO doesn’t cost anything. Because your marketing budget is limited, this might be a good opportunity to ask to re-allocate your budget elsewhere.
Similarly, if you want to figure out the ROI of your social media, you’d want to create a report that measures website traffic and conversions that come from social media. For many B2B tech companies, social media is a tricky tactic. Your key decision makers aren’t likely to be scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter searching for ways to improve their project management software. However, not having a social media presence is digital marketing hara kiri in 2019 — so, this may be an opportunity to ask for staffing resources.
These are just two examples of reports. Measure every current marketing initiative in such a way you can determine ROI.
3. Log Your Hours
There are many ways to do this. Does your project management software allow you to do so per effort? You can simply track every 15-minute increment on your digital calendar or old school. A log can also help. Create a spreadsheet that lists out all of your responsibilities and begin noting how long you work on each of those each day of the week. Don’t forget administrative tasks, emails, and meetings — those can kill productivity. Note what was accomplished during the time. You might note how much you got done. For example, you spend six hours on a blog post but it’s not complete. Note 70% in your log, even if that number is just your best guess.
The goal is to prove two things:
- You may be spending too much time on initiatives that don’t really make an impact based on the data in your reports
- You’re already highly productive, but there just isn’t enough time to get everything done
Let’s go back to the example of comparing the ROI of PPC and SEO efforts. Let’s say you only spend one hour a week on SEO, but five hours a week on PPC. However, the conversion rate of organic traffic is 2x that of PPC traffic, you have a good argument to:
- Re-allocate the time you spend on PPC elsewhere
- Re-allocate some (or all) of the budget you spend on PPC elsewhere
4. Research the Competition
While you likely won’t be able to figure out exactly how your competitors spend their money or how their team is resourced, you can probably get a basic understanding to determine where you should channel or tune back your efforts. We walk you through a comprehensive competitive analysis here. Highlights:
- Check out their company page: How many team members fill their marketing department? What are their job titles?
- Stalk LinkedIn: If you can’t find the information you want on their website, take to LinkedIn to find people who work there and their roles.
- Take a social media inventory: Scope out the competition’s social media presence. For example, if none of your competitors are on Facebook, it’s probably a good indication you don’t need to be there, either.
- Review their content strategy: Take a peek at their blog, resources, and content offers.
- Enroll in a workflow or two: Curious about how your competitors do email marketing? Download a piece of content or fill out a couple of forms and see what happens! Use an alias though, of course.
- Use an incognito window to monitor PPC ads: If you want to find out if you and your competition are bidding on the same keywords, you’ll want to manually enter those keywords into Google in an incognito browser and see what happens.
5. Create a Plan
Don’t take problems to your CMO or director; take a proposed solution. Create a viable plan to present with confidence. You have the data to back yourself up. Your plan should include:
- Company and marketing KPIs
- How you are spending your time and resources now
- How you think your time and resources could be better spent
- Any staffing suggestions
- How these changes can save and make your company money
6. Make the Ask
KPIs? Check. Reports? Check. Logged hours? Check. Compelling plan? Check! Time to make a presentation and schedule time with your boss to make the ask — whether it is for more time, more budget, more people… or maybe just a little slack for your sanity.
The goal of every B2B technology company (and every company for that matter) is to make the most of its time and resources — but that doesn’t mean wearing its employees thin. If you take this approach, any smart and reasonable Director of Marketing or CMO will see the importance of additional resources or cutting back the amount of work on your plate to re-allocate your talent and time to productive initiatives.