5 Baby Steps for Small Business to Become a Marketing Company
September 17, 2011
By Ryan Malone
How many times have you thought to yourself “What kind of company are we?” The technical folks will often argue that you’re an engineering company, because without innovation, there would be no products to sell. The sales team argues that you’re a sales company, because without sales, you’d have no money to run the business.
The truth is, they’re both right…in the short-term. Yes, you need to have a great product to sell. And yes, you need to have great sales in order to generate cash flow.
But in the long run, you have to work to transform your company into a marketing campany. Marketing companies generate more leads, more customer and more influence, because every contribute to that cause.
Are You Marketing or a Marketing Company?
Most companies have marketing teams whose job is to size the market, define products, create messaging, and promote those products to the market. In most companies, marketers are the ones solely responsible for building awareness. And hey, they’re marketing, that’s their job right?
Not so fast!
In marketing companies, everyone plays a role in marketing. They know that every conversation — whether a vendor, customer, partner or prospect — is an opportunity to demonstrate the company’s expertise, professionalism and ability to solve problems.
When we say “role,” we don’t mean half the work day, we mean incorporating marketing-oriented things into their workday. This maintains productivity and adds leverage to your marketing efforts.
5 Baby Steps to Becoming a Marketing Company
When we have this conversation with clients, we’re often met with fear, uncertainty and doubt. But the truth is that becoming a marketing company is a low-risk, high-reward transformation. Here are some easy things to get you started:
Recruit non-marketing bloggers: Recruit at least one person from each department outside marketing to contribute to your company’s blog. Being outside marketing, these folks have a unique view of the company and it’s relation to vendors and partners. While these articles directly impact their groups, they also show prospects that you have your act together. And don’t forget that your vendors and partners can be great referral sources. Start small–rotate each department every two weeks, so the workload is minimal.
Promote blog content: Encourage departments to promote their team’s blog content by including links in your email signature. This is a passive, yet effective way to drive visitors to your content. It also generates a huge amount of comradery and friendly competition.
Since their blog speaks from their view of the company, it is by default highly-relevant to the people they communicate with regularly. Here’s a screenshot of a signature that works well for us:
Embrace social media: Many companies are afraid that social media will kill productivity. Encourage employees to utlize social media. Create a social media usage policy for the company. At a high level, this policy should communicate that you encourage their use of social media as long as it is not disruptive to their jobs. You’ll also want to include examples of what they should and should not do while representing the company on social networks.
Encourage employees to use Ping.fm: Ping.fm is a tool that syndicates a ad-hoc or scheduled tweet or a blog post across all your social network accounts. Encourage your employees to utilize ping.fm to syndicate new company blog posts across their social networks.
The account is free, takes only 5 minutes to set up and runs on auto-pilot once you configure it. As a result, every time the company publishes a new blog post, it will automatically be sent to all your employees social networks.
Recognize employees to your customers: If an employee does something creative and helpful, let your customers know. Mention the employee in your email newsletter or a blog entry. This adds personality to the company, and encourages all employees to get engaged. Let’s face it: everyone loves their 15 minutes of fame.
These five baby steps can be implemented in an afternoon and make a huge impact in moving you toward becoming a marketing company.
I’d love to hear of some other ways to foster this change?
About the author
Ryan Malone is the founder and Chairman of the Board of SmartBug Media and is a veteran of Deloitte & Touche, Seagate and several venture-backed technology companies. When he's not leading SmartBug and helping clients build high-octane marketing organizations, he's loving his wife and daughters and unsuccessfully learning the guitar. Go Terps! Read more articles by Ryan Malone.