Is a marketing lead really necessary for your company?
A marketing VP may mean an outlay of big bucks, benefits and may not be needed all the time. Certainly complex organizations need someone to ride herd on marketing activities, but small to medium businesses may be overspending for expertise they only need occasionally.
How often is high level management and thought needed?
I once participated as a marketing lead on a cross functional team to develop a $13 million new product line and was excited to see what new communication innovations could be hatched. This excitement was quickly squelched when I looked at the required sheet of SOP activities that would eat up 95% of my budget.
Insert sheets, specification guides, product shots, price sheets, etc. etc. easily could have been executed by a junior person, yet I was shouldered with the drudgery of developing these essential, yet less than challenging tools where I was underutilized.
Point is, “how much of your marketing is already established and budgeted?” If it is above 50% then it might be prudent to question how strong a leader is needed to see them through to completion. Perhaps, part time honchoing of these activities would work just fine.
When Grey Matter is needed
There is always a curve that best shows when and where it
is important to have the cerebral marketing person
participate. When we come into a client situation, there is
often a need to bring order to chaos which takes a certain
level of senior marketing thought and management.
This usually includes solidifying the brand/market position,
understanding and refining the sales process and
developing a box of Sarketing® tools and materials to support the sales process at every stage. It’s usually a sizable bedrock investment of dollars and resources, but is essential and represents 90% of the basis for years of offshoot marketing activities.
Once these tools are set, however, the need for high level support settles in to a lower level and becomes more of monitoring the activities of lower level marketing people. Unfortunately, if the marketing lead is on staff, you continue to carry those costs when a much lower level of service is needed.
There are Flexible models out there
With numerous clients I have served as a “virtual” VP of marketing providing the necessary services that match the needs of client companies at every stage of growth “dialing” the support up and down as needed. Sometime without even being to physical locations for extended periods of time (GoToMeeting and other variations provide video and screen sharing just fine for business decisions).
A colleague of mine has shifted virtual positions and working arrangement with a high tech company serving as new business director to marketing lead to designer honcho for over 10 years providing essential services when and where needed (all without the 28% cost of benefits usually incurred with an on-staff marketing lead). Along the way, it has allowed him to shift his commitment to accommodate numerous personal changes in his home life.
When and where needed
Additionally, using a stable of outside expertise means you have the “Best and Brightest” working on your challenges when and where needed. You certainly want the Brainiac’s help when mapping out the UX for your website, but when it is up and running, do you really need her expertise to make changes?
Want to know more?
If you’d like more information on innovative models we see in the marketplace and/or to have a brief discussion on your particular situation, just give me a call at 616-634-3498.