Aim for the stars and you might make it to the moon, goes the saying. Yeah, right. Ok, that means if you’re aiming to do BIG THINGS with your marketing strategy, you need a team that can perform accordingly and deliver leads your sales people can use. Not only is your marketing team key to the health and growth of your company, but if you're lucky you'll get busy enough to need to add to the group. This can either be an opportunity to up your game, or a chance to turn your happy team into an Internet version of Mad Men. The people you take on are going to affect your business for the foreseeable future, so spending the time to find the right mix of marketers is a crucial investment. Follow these 6 tips for finding the best marketing team you’ve ever had the privilege to work with!
Tip #1: Get Simply the Best
If you don't know what you want, how can you make sure your new hires can provide it for you? Are you looking for:
- SEO-savvy writers to concentrate on content marketing?
- Headhunters who directly search for new clients and additional business?
- Creatives who can take advantage of social media?
If you're not sure what kind of marketing will work best for your goals, you need to research this before trying to find anyone new. There are advantages to hiring generalists; they can step in and take over whatever task you give them. But a specialist will be up on the latest trends and techniques in his (or her) particular niche, and is almost guaranteed to get a better result.
Don’t settle for less; go for the best team members you can find—chances are good they will cover their own cost far more capably than anyone second rate. And then some.
Tip #2: Make an Offer They Can't Refuse
Look around, talk to other company owners, and find out who's doing new and exciting work in your field. Find people who are getting the work done in spectacular or unusual ways. If you want to outperform your competition, look at their marketing campaigns and then dig down until you find out who's really responsible for the work. In the old days of stuffy offices, you'd do this over a series of martinis in smoke-filled rooms. Today your liver and lungs can thank you, because you'll be doing all this digging online.
Once you have a line on some people whose work you admire, have a conversation. Send an email, ask for a Skype session, whatever fits your style. Get to know them and, more importantly, find out what they want. If they're unhappy about some aspect of their work, be ready to offer a solution. Don't feel bad; if they weren't already thinking about hopping off the wagon, they'd have never spent any time with you. You're just reaping the benefits of giving some new people the means to improve their lives!
Tip #3: Feel the Fit before You Buy
You wouldn't get a pair of shoes before you try them on, and everyone has to put on those new jeans before paying. Your marketing team is the same way: you've got to make sure everything fits. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar office where the group gathers or they do everything virtually, their work styles and personalities have to mesh. No one said you had to create a master race of marketing clones, but there have to be some basic traits in common. Is your team casual or more businesslike? Do the existing members exist on protocol or is anyone free to grab any job that's available? Age usually shouldn't matter, but attitude definitely will. There will always be that indefinable something that makes a team click. Look for it before you hire.
Tip #4: Don’t Ignore Interns
Interns used to get a bad rap (particularly since the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke) with the view that they're just unpaid students doing grunt work that anyone could do. If you look at a marketing internship program with this kind of jaundiced eye, you're missing out on a great resource. Sure, interns are usually younger and less experienced, but they're there to learn. After a few weeks, they've learned some things (unless you're a crappy boss and trainer) and they can be used for any number of small but valuable jobs, such as:
- Writing SEO articles
- Posting on social media sites
- Designing targeted campaigns
- Testing out A/B marketing campaigns
- Compiling data
And you never know: you might strike gold and find one with a talent for pulling in leads. Just because they’re new in business doesn’t mean they don’t have good ideas. Often, it’s worth seeing things with fresh eyes.
Tip #5: Lock ‘em Down
Once you’ve got your star performers, make sure you keep them by locking them down with good compensation, great benefits and job satisfaction. Find out what makes them tick and give to them. Oh, and a watertight employment contract doesn’t do any harm, either. Remember, there’s no such thing as the “perfect team.” The best you can hope for is a pretty d@mn good one, and that’s entirely dependent on how you go about choosing the people.
Tip #6: Give Yourself a Head Start
The best time to look for a new member of your marketing team is when you don't need him. Join some meetups for your industry and get to know the people in your area. Go to business conventions and gather email addresses like a squirrel gathers nuts. Spend half an hour a day creating casual relationships with people doing work you admire. Be genuine, don't always talk about work, but turn a chance encounter into a casual business relationship. Gather a tribe of these "possibilities" into your sphere of influence. When you reach a point when you need to look for someone new, you might not have to really look after all! And wouldn’t that be a bargain?