Recently, I’ve been writing about the top questions that CEOs ask about marketing. Many B2B businesses are adding marketing into their business, and because it’s a new function they’re on a learning curve about what marketing is and how to make it work for them. I’ve talked about how long it takes to get results, and how to tell whether a campaign is working.
In this post, I’m addressing another question CEOs ask me all the time: how much of my team’s time will our marketing efforts require?
When a business owner asks me this question, I take it as a really good sign. It shows me that the people in the company’s senior management are willing to commit their time, which is crucial—especially in the early days of a marketing effort, where all of the strategy and planning take place.
Curious about what how much time your team can expect to spend on marketing? Here’s a quick breakdown of who should be spending time to ensure marketing is effective:
- The person to whom the marketing company or person reports—which, in many smaller companies, is the CEO—should commit at least one hour a week (two hours in the first month or so) to communicating with the marketing team. This is so important. I’ve seen situations where a CEO hires a marketing company, always with the best of intentions, then fails to devote any time with them. Yes, CEOs are very busy people, but this kind of situation never ends well; when marketers aren’t given the opportunity to tap into what management wants to accomplish, how can they actually accomplish it?
- Senior management can expect to spend five to 10 hours in total over the first six weeks discussing and confirming marketing strategy and planning. This will include everything from business strategy to messaging to website and content planning. Why bring in the management team when you’ve hired someone to handle the campaign? Tapping into the full knowledge of the company helps the marketing team better understand the target market and relative position of competitors—critical factors in marketing success.
- After strategy and planning is complete and the company moves into content marketing mode—that is, actually preparing the work that will get out there—the company will likely need to prepare a significant content piece (be it advertorial copy, a white paper, a blog post or some other form of thought leadership) once every quarter. Your technical experts—that is, the people with the greatest knowledge of the subject matter—should expect to spend about six hours on a quarterly basis to review drafts and variations of the content. If your company has decided to focus more heavily on content marketing, this time will increase. But in my experience, more isn’t always more when it comes to content: a good marketer will repurpose content so that that same assets get more mileage, and require less time from the technical experts is necessary.
As you can see, managing a marketing effort doesn’t have to take up scads of time. However, you should be prepared to for your team to devote at least some of their time to making sure the campaign is working. After all, your input is one of the best ways to guarantee your campaign’s success.
Lisa Shepherd is author of Market Smart: How to Gain Customers and Increase Profits with B2B Marketing and president of The Mezzanine Group, a business-to-business strategy and marketing company based in Toronto. She was the youngest female CEO of a company on PROFIT’s ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies in 2007 and 2008 and is a frequent public speaker on B2B marketing strategy and execution.
More columns by Lisa Shepherd