As the end of the school term approaches, and we are all left wondering where the first six months of the year has gone, and what the next six months might look like as we move towards ‘Freedom Day’, I felt compelled to tap out a blog update. It has been a while since I have contributed to our stories. I would like to share a little about our business journey, navigating through these rather strange times and admitting to some extent, that like many of our clients, we are often guilty of allowing our own Marketing activities to fall through the cracks!
What do I mean by this? One of the problems with small business Marketing, is that day to day tasks and client work, simply get in the way. They take priority over reflection, strategy, growth, and business development. It seems to happen naturally, unless you are in the fortunate position, where you have an internal marketing department to manage the full marketing mix. The tasks that fall under the Marketing banner, tend to be spread throughout the business falling on the shoulders of the person with either the most time on their hands or the most relevant experience. If a member of the team has an Instagram account, then surely, they can manage a few posts every now and then on behalf of the company, right?
The tasks associated with promoting the business and building the brand can often be sporadic, and not always brought in line with the overall business plan objectives. Tactical activity, such as one-off promotions to shift existing stock or increase new orders becomes the dominate force in a loosely held together media plan. Short term goals (often to break-even or meet sales targets) overshadow the big picture mission statements held when the original domain names were registered. When it comes to practising what we preach, we have a lot to learn. When I registered our domain name nearly 8 years ago, when starting out as a freelance Marketing Manager, I had no idea we would grow into a team or that I would change my surname back to Land, following a divorce. I wish I could go back and have a chat with Sue Kemp to convince her to come with something a little more visionary and meaningful!
Following my name change back in the Spring, we revisited our branding with an aim to refresh our look and align our proposition more closely to the outsourced Marketing Consultancy service that we offer. Not long after we started to grow about three years ago, we started to use the phrase ‘Your Marketing Team’, which now appears across our communications. This kept coming to mind as we held two team brand strategy brainstorming sessions early this year, to come up with new names to reflect what we do. Several flipchart sheets later, we now have an array of new ideas and concepts that are now gathering dust on my desk! Why? It’s a job that has fallen through the cracks under the pressure of new business coming in and our focus on our existing client’s business!
Our new brand may be parked for a while longer, but our energy to deliver on our promise to become our clients fully integrated Marketing Team does not waiver. Many businesses this year have gone through a period of re-evaluation and restructure. We are no exception. When our digital design and website development resource moved on to pursue their own adventure back in January, we needed to take stock of our resources. By adapting our business model to partner with other digital agencies and engage with new local freelance support, we have found we are now in a better position to service our clients. We can offer the full range of digital services on any budget, from a simple brochure style website for the cash-strapped energetic start-up to a fully integrated e-commerce platform for an established business wanting to reach their next level of growth. Over the last few months, we have grown our resource network in other ways too. We have been introduced to more photographers, copywriters, designers, content producers and videographers, building mutually beneficial relationships and equipping us to serve our clients more effectively.
In our role as Your Marketing Team, we see our job as picking up all those Marketing tasks that appear to fall through the cracks. We can do this by working closely with your existing agencies, suppliers, or freelancers, simply picking up where you left off or we can bring in our network of partners who are best suited with the relevant experience for your industry. As your company Marketing Manager, we take care of all the admin, management, briefing and consultancy. The first thing we usually do is build a Strategic Marketing Plan for the next 12 months, directly formulated from your overall business objectives. Once the plan is in place, we can then put it into action as your outsourced Marketing Team.
We are going to be a little stretched over the next couple of months, juggling summer holidays with summer childcare, but come September, we in intend to dust of the flipchart papers and pick up the plans for the rebrand, hopefully in time for the New Year. Where does the time go?
If you find your Marketing tasks slipping through the cracks under the pressure of the everyday, then please do get in touch. We would be happy to help.