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Megan Smale, Digital Marketing Strategist
May 01 2018

When You’re a Marketing Team of One

When you’re a marketing team of one, things get more complicated. Things like schedules and strategies and goals can quickly get usurped for the latest marketing fire unless you’re able to get ahead of the rest of the organization. I should know –  I was a marketing team of one for a good chunk of my career before joining the O’Keeffe tribe.

Here are the top five things I wish I’d known early in my career as a marketing team of one.

  1. Documentation is your best friend.

It sounds like a no brainer, right? Document things. Easy peasy. But when you’re a team of one, you’re likely juggling priorities across the business and, depending on the history of the organization and who you report to, you may be dealing with conflicting ideas on how you should move forward.

Hence documentation.

It’s more than just a recap of emails after meetings (although those are essential). Think about how you can best communicate your strategy and your wins across the business. Would a monthly report help? How about a note breaking down wins via email with a why it matters summary? Find ways to bring your leadership and the rest of your organization along on this magical marketing journey with you.

  1. Stay connected within the marketing community.

As a marketing team of one, you will likely be the only person who gets excited when a major client tweets at you or when you double your open rate on that biweekly email send. Find your local marketing community and make nerdy friends. Sometimes a lunch spent talking segmentation is the boost you need to push out your new content strategy. Your local AMA is a great resource for this, but so are Meetups, user groups, and events or conferences.

Make friends and you’ll always have someone to call to celebrate a big victory or talk you off a ledge when Salesforce breaks.

  1. Keep a roadmap.

Depending on the nature of your organization and whether you’re setting the long-term strategy, you’ll need to keep an eye on your initiatives. Sometimes you’ll be working through a tough time with your sales team and you’ll need a way to refocus on what’s next. Your roadmap will be your strategic marketing bible and help you cut through priorities. It’s easy to get overwhelmed as a team of one. Being able to reference that roadmap can help your leadership stay focused on where you can make the most impact.

  1. Do the math.

Let’s face it: pulling your monthly analytics isn’t a high priority when you’re managing a giant marketing strategy. But it’s also the one thing that will help you see the light at the end of the long, complicated white paper you’re writing. Being able to see your progress is hugely motivating, and that process of continual optimization isn’t possible without a historical perspective on your efforts. It’ll also save you if you ever want to find a new home because showing concrete results is the best way to land your next gig.

  1. Find time to get creative.

When all of the pressure rests on your marketing shoulders, it’s easy to stay head down and ignore the outside world. You’re just trying to knock out this week’s social posts – there isn’t time for nerding out with a white board and reviewing your personas. The single best way to stop stress and burnout is to stay creative and engaged in your work. Make the time to develop new strategies, review fun ideas, and learn skills that help set you apart. It keeps your brain fresh and your marketing strategy even more fresh.

Being a marketing team of one isn’t easy. In fact, I’d wager that it’s one of the hardest roles to fill as a marketer. That kind of ownership and responsibility can be insanely fun if you’re able to ride through competing priorities, times of loneliness as you long for a team, and all those conversations explaining just what exactly you do to the rest of the organization.

Did you read this and think, gosh, I wish I had a marketing buddy like the O’Keeffe tribe? We’d love to work with you and help you tell your story. Send us a quick message and let’s talk.

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