No doubt you’ve seen the ads: “Dynamic company looking for motivated, midlevel marketer. Must excel at strategy, have award-wining design skills, be proficient in coding and web development, have expertise in digital advertising and all social media networks, plus have other marketing skills as needed. Media relations experience a plus.” I hate to say it, but I believe these organizations are searching for a mythical creature.
Imagine a construction professional who is personally responsible for framing, electrical work, plumbing, hanging drywall, installing windows — you get the point. Just as you wouldn’t want your plumber installing your new roof, you shouldn’t expect the same individual to design your collateral materials and place your media buys. Remember the expression “jack-of-all-trades, master of none.”
That doesn’t mean you should never consider adding a marketing professional to your team. Just be aware that even a professional may still need support to complement their skill set. Instead of focusing on that elusive marketing unicorn, consider these three tips from a longtime marketer who has worked in both agency and in-house settings.
1. Encourage Collaboration And Networking
Marketing and advertising are not what you see in the movies or on your streaming screen. I remember going to see a movie in the late 1990s where the lead character worked at an agency. She was both the copywriter and the art director. My friend leaned over and said, “So that’s what you do?” Not quite. More often than not, final marketing materials are a combination of ideas. Sure, art directors can come up with great headlines, and copywriters often have great visual concepts. But it’s often the collaboration and dynamic energy of a multidisciplinary creative team that yields the best results.
If you’re looking to add a single in-house marketing person, don’t forget the power of collaboration. Being the lone marketer in an organization can be isolating. Encourage networking with peer groups. Consider bringing in outside help when needed to get to that big idea or if your marketing person is still wet behind the ears.
2. Beware Of Bias
By relying on in-house marketing alone, you may sacrifice objectivity. Your in-house marketing person may quickly become too immersed in the organization’s culture and philosophy to be able to set those aside and consider outside-the-box ideas. When it comes to major initiatives like a rebrand, new product launch or multimedia campaign, consider looking outside of your stable for support. Someone from outside your organization may be able to look at a marketing challenge from a fresh point of view.
3. Prioritize Continuing Education
The world of marketing is ever-changing. To ensure that your marketing person is up to date on the latest tools and tactics, build continuing education into your budget. That could include training, educational conferences, webinars, new equipment or software.
Still looking for that unicorn named Jack? Know that you will most likely have to make some compromises. Prioritize the skills that are most important for your organization, and hire accordingly. If your primary need is beautifully designed brochures and print ads that leap off the page, look for a graphic designer. If you’re looking to engage your audiences with storytelling content, focus on writing skills. And most important, create realistic job expectations for your marketing person to set them — and yourself — up for success.
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