Who should be spending time on marketing within your B2B organization?
Lately we’ve been writing about the questions that CEOs of Business-to-Business (B2B) companies ask us about marketing. Because we work with a lot of B2B companies and we run a marketing firm, we sit at the intersection of a major trend – the adoption of marketing by B2B companies.
B2B companies ask a lot of questions of marketing firms – as they should. In the past we’ve written about how long it takes to get results, and how to tell whether your marketing is working. This time, the question is: how much of the executive team’s time will marketing require?
When a business owner asks this question, it’s a really good sign. It shows 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.
Here’s a quick breakdown of who should be spending time to ensure your marketing is effective:
- The person to whom the marketing firm (or marketing manager) reports should commit at least one hour a week (two hours in the first month) to working directly with the marketing team. This is so important. We’ve seen situations where a CEO hires a marketing firm, 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 a marketing firm to handle the marketing? 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 success.
- After strategy and planning is complete and the marketing firm 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 a white paper, a webinar 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 marketing firm will repurpose content so that that same assets get more mileage, and require less time from the technical experts is necessary.
Putting marketing to work for your business (whether you hire a marketing manager or a marketing firm) doesn’t have to take up scads of time. However, you should be prepared to devote at least some of your team’s time to making sure the marketing is working. After all, your input is one of the best ways to guarantee your marketing’s success.