5 tips for going into the unknown

A few years ago I was approached to setup digital marketing as function in its own right for an events company. I would be responsible for their digital marketing lead gen and launching an in-house marketing agency. Great! This was truly unique, no-one had ever done it and I had a blank canvas on which to build something potentially great. And so it happened, I drove £4m (34%) of the business’s total revenue in 2 and a hallf years.

But with no ‘how-to’ guide and little to look at in terms of what had been done, it was a case of finding one’s inner entrepreneur and not being afraid to step into the unknown.

2055-star-trek-wallpaper-1920x1080-wallpaper-5716Here are 5 things that worked for me when setting up these new marketing initiatives:

1. Observe – take time to understand who you are working with, the company structure, how each department works, the kind of culture you’re coming into. Navigating the business and identifying key influencers does have its advantages in getting things done.

2. Set goals – even if you’re starting from 0 and you’ve little information on which to form an idea of targets, you still need some way to focus on the end result and measure your performance for your own progression and the business’s visibility.

3. Partner. Never ever try to manage someone who doesn’t report into you, instead work in partnership with them and on value exchange. Evidence to them the value in what you’re doing and what results they can expect from adopting some of your recommendations.For example, when it comes to lead conversions, I learnt to engage with the people who influence the sales team and those directly responsibly for pipeline management. Those people can have the biggest impact on how much you work will translate into money for the company.

I generally believe sales and marketing go hand in hand and that’s just my personal opinion. So I moved from my beloved marketing pod who were used to (and loved, can I just add), the bad jokes I’d crack, and sat with sales team who at first were intrigued by marketing sitting with them and then accepted me. A bit like when a cat comes face to face with a spider its not sure what to make of it. OK actually nothing like that. Nonetheless It led to amazing insights on value propositions, pain points, and a bunch of other invaluable information I could immediately feedback into my plans, and most importantly, nice working relationships with the people that impacted on the end result.

4. Change. Critique your campaigns, be ruthless (I do the same with my wardrobe, regularly), seek feedback. Throw out stuff that doesn’t deliver results and test new initiatives. Some of these will be game changers For example, by focusing on doing more SEO and web marketing I managed to generate leads that went on to convert an average £2k higher than those from other channels. That kind of stuff really does make the difference to the bottom line. Ah, corporate talk, you saw that, I went there…

5. Work smart. There are only so many hours in the day so don’t be jack of all trades. Use them wisely and prioritise. Pick your best performing areas and work on making them the best they can be. Eventually they require less ‘babysitting’ and you can move on to the next area of focus. For example, given that 80% of revenue converted came from e-mail leads, I focussed heavily on effective copy, monitoring what works, and looking at how quality of data can be increased. I really focussed on that for several months so I could make email marketing something scalable and train the rest of the department on best practice, free’ing up time to focus more new ideas.

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What’s worked for you? I’d love to hear your feedback.

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