Even a 1-Person Business Needs a Marketing Department

In the not so distant past, you sold like Mad Men. Marketing was pitch – it was advertising – you handed it off to someone else that spoke a special language designed to ‘trigger’ audience response. You were insulated from that aspect of the audience relationship. Now marketing is an integral business process; it’s at least partly internal to the company’s operations – you can’t just dump it and go on autopilot, because your audience won’t let you. They expect you to take part in the social dialogue.

Authenticity is the Critical Commodity in the New Marketing

This is a heady adaptation for a lot of solopreneurs and one person local businesses that just wanted to do the ‘work’ and not get into marketing. The social environment (social web, social media, social networking) has put a premium on authentic conversations with prospective clients. You can’t shove a pitch at them – it just pisses them off. The result is: every business owner is now a thought leader.

The Biggest Change in Marketing isn’t Content, It’s Business Process

It’s not just the cliche’ that you can no longer ignore Twitter, or the hypothetical that you really should be on Youtube. A small business of any size, and perhaps especially a very small one with limited resources, needs a concerted digital marketing strategy it can implement with existing resources.

Dumping it entirely outside the company, to a third party, will only make it crazy expensive, or marginally effective. The essential ingredient in small business marketing is the person with the vision to operate the business – you. You’re the indispensable – not for providing your services – you can hire someone for that – but for being the cognitive backbone of your company. Its heart.

Small Businesses Get Caught Off Guard If They Don’t Internalize the Marketing Process

A small or one person business now needs a mini-marketing department – whether that’s you and one other person – or you, a coach, and an admin. One way or another you’re looking at time, expense, or some combination of both – with those often determining the configuration of roles.

You can’t just outsource it to a 20-something kid or your ‘web guy’ to do it all, either. It’s not a young person thing, because what’s central is strategy, authenticity, and creativity – and those are qualities built through time and experience. It’s also not a technical problem; it’s a challenge of thinking about the core functions of the business. Youth equals inexperience in a marketing world and a post-boom era where the fastest growing demographic isn’t actually millennials at all. It’s older adults. Technology often clouds the issue, rendering options in terms of which tools you use to accomplish the job.

How to Create an Instant Marketing Department in Your Company

For companies flush with cash, you can bring on a marketing admin for 10 hours a week, pair them with a marketing coach like you get with Madpipe, and sit in on one meeting a month to keep it on brand. No need to fund multiple full-time salaries, when you only need what you need. No paying for that thumb twiddling time as we check e-mail. Businesses with less cash still need the coaching, but the business owner is likely taking on some of the marketing admin work. That’s OK, because anyone can learn it, and it provides eye opening insights into the company’s digital relationship to prospective clients. Either way, continual improvement of the digital strategy is essential.

In short, you in-source the inspiration and subject expertise, contract the strategy and coaching, and part-time the admin work by any number of methods. You outsource sparingly, when needed, because your brand reputation is your good name, and your funds are best spent on a few things that make your company’s marketing more agile than to pad big pockets. You focus on growing your reach, reputation, and relationships – Madpipe’s 3Rs of Digital Marketing.

Start Thinking About This in Your Own Company – This is Central

However we get there, we no longer get to treat marketing as entirely external to the company – an ad agency thing, a geek thing, or a kid thing. In industries with high enough competition, it’s the marketing strategy that actually drives the business, because that’s tailored to you and your audience, while lots of people are providing the same service. The marketing is paramount.

Any size business, even a one person show, can create a “marketing department” that’s strategically driven, effective, and has momentum to lend to the company. Madpipe helps small businesses get more clients by marketing as though they had a full-time marketing department, so they can compete with anyone, even with limited resources.

Daniel DiGriz

Daniel DiGriz is a corporate storyteller and Digital Ecologist® at MadPipe, which provides creative direction, marketing leadership, and campaign direction for firms that want a stronger connection with their audience. A Digital Ecologist® applies strategic principles from both natural and digital ecologies to help organizations thrive across multiple ecosystems. Daniel hosts podcasts, speaks at conferences, and his ideas have appeared in Inc, SmartBlog, MediaPost, Forbes, and Success Magazine.

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