Is Marketing Necessary to Scale my Business?
Where and when should money be spent in order to grow a business? Should more salespeople be added to the team? Should new technology be implemented so that additional work can be handled? The answer is often controversial with a mixed response from stakeholders. For this reason, it is common to wonder, "Do I need to use marketing services to grow my business?"
"Today, digital marketing is an art form- a science of sorts. Marketers use their time to creatively devise inbound marketing strategies, analyzing results, using complex technologies to automate and personalize experiences and techniques."
For years, I have had a countless number of people tell me that it is the face-to-face relationship that really counts-- that it is the salesperson who does the work to cultivate and close the deal-- that "advertising" is a waste of money.
I once had a CFO look at me and one other potential hire straight in the face and rank the internal departments by what he thought to be its level of value to the company. He put "marketing" last. I was dumbfounded that someone in his position would ever say something like that to a marketer (talk about taking the wind out of someone's sail). But, as the head of finance, he did not like "marketing" for a few reasons: One, marketing requires a budget for intelligent people, technology, and sometimes advertising; Two, because he did not understand that today's marketing team does a lot more than just buy stuff. Today, digital marketing is an art form- a science of sorts. Marketers use their time to creatively devise inbound marketing strategies, analyzing results, using complex technologies to automate and personalize experiences and techniques.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is “a technique for drawing customers to products and services via content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization and branding.” Basically, inbound marketing is a tactic used by organizations to attract new business rather than cold calling or visiting places (going “outbound”) to attain new leads and generate repeat business. Most of inbound marketing is free, with the exception of the automation technology required to make it work plus any employee overhead.
Why do Marketers Need Marketing Automation Software?
Imagine for a moment that you’re only able to hire one employee to promote the brand, its products, or services. Sharpspring defines marketing automation as,
"...[the] software platforms that help businesses automate their marketing and sales engagement processes to generate more leads, convert more leads to sales, and optimize ROI. Marketing automation allows marketers to automate repetitive tasks such as sending emails, maintaining social media, tracking website interactions, and managing various other tasks. Marketing automation centralizes all of the features and functions that make up the marketer’s role in an organization..."
Although automation is “automatic”, it takes an intelligent, technical marketer's time and technical knowledge to manage it well.
Wiki points out the fact that, with marketing automation, "Marketing ...employees benefit by specifying criteria and outcomes for tasks and processes which are then interpreted, stored and executed by software, ...increas[ing] efficiency and reduc[ing] human error." So, not only does marketing automation automate tasks through a set of rule criteria, get work done more quickly, and require less time to manage campaigns, but it also reduces human error and stores the history and results of those actions for the improvement of work.
Thinking that "advertising" spend has anything to do with the value a marketing team brings to an organization is utter blindness. A good writer will have an audience that wants to come back and read more; A good marketer will put the writer on the map-- and the better they are at this, the less a company will need to pay for advertising to grow their audience. A company needs both areas of expertise in the same way it may need a software engineer to write a program, a mechanical engineer to develop the machine, and possibly a third party to make sure they are working together without bias for the overarching strategy of the global organization. For an inbound marketer, paid placements
are only one of many channels that may require any spend. In fact, most of a well-rounded marketing team's responsibility is in setting up programming rules, writing code, and using (a lot of) technology to be able to send free messages via email, creating sales templates, posting blogs, planning and implementing organic (free) marketing strategy (which is an ongoing process) so that the company will not need to spend as much for additional staff, to rank for keywords, and attract attention, online. Here is a funny video for you to watch this:
Website content is alive once published, but not always well; It takes methodical research, planning, and digital strategy to be successful over time. Search bots run formulas (algorithms) to determine where a site should stand as compared to listings from pages with competing keywords, but even with a well-thought page, this doesn't happen overnight. Jayson Demyers on INC, says that it takes "1-2 years before [seeing] results from organic strategy." Each web page and blog post should rank for differing keywords and content should remain fresh. These are just two of hundreds of other ranking factors in a ranking algorithm. When done right, intelligent, optimized, and consistently published content will influence how well a website and it's individual pages will rank over time. And when a brand needs immediate exposure, paid online advertising is critical to compete with well-established sites that are already ranking for similar keywords.
Delivering intelligent digital content is a requirement in today's B2B marketing world. Published digital content is continuously crawled by search bots to update a page's rank. A search bots main duty is to determine where a brand's website and the individual page(s) should appear in search results-- first on the first results page, fifteenth, or even a hundred pages back. When done right, posted news, blogs, and other content will appear on the first page. Therefore, smart marketing is essential to growing a business in today's world. Lastly, a marketing team is capable of driving incredible value, but not without great leadership.