One of the biggest boons to solo marketers is outside help. But what if you have no budget to spend on an advertising agency? Arnold advises looking elsewhere for good value and affordable pricing.
You may be able to find local free-lancers who can do design work, writing, campaign planning, and more at reasonable rates. They may be one-person shops, people working out of their homes, or freelancers just starting out.
“There are lots of possibilities out there,” Arnold says. “I use free-lancers in my own business in several ways, and I highly recommend that to one-person marketing departments.”
5. Size up your skills
Knowing what to outsource depends on honest self-evaluation, says Toby Hayes, chief marketing officer at $217 million asset Cabrillo Credit Union in San Diego.
Until 18 months ago, he was a one-person marketing department at Cabrillo, as he was at two other credit unions during his eight-year credit union career.
Thanks to a varied background, Hayes brings diverse skills to his current job. He studied journalism and graphic design, and later was a newspaper editor and a free-lance writer.
Still, he knows he’s stronger in some areas than others. That’s where self-evaluation comes in.
“I ask myself what I’m really good at doing,” Hayes says. “Then I delegate other tasks to third-party vendors.”
For instance, he might design a promotion and decide the look he’s after. Then, to save time, he hires an outside party to execute the details and create the collateral materials.
“Focus on your best skills and talents, and let others handle what else needs to be done,” Hayes says.
6. Let go of perfection
As a solo marketer, you need to accept that you can’t always achieve perfection, Hayes says. Recognize when something you’re working on is good enough and then move on to the next project.
Also, accept that some things simply won’t get done at all no matter how diligent and efficient you strive to be. “There’s not a week that I go home on a Friday and say, ‘Yes, I got everything done this week,’ ” Hayes says. “There’s always a sense of wishing I could have accomplished more.”
7. Build internal credibility
Over the past 18 months, Hayes’ annual marketing budget has grown from roughly $150,000 to $210,000. He’s added a marketing assistant to his staff, and the current business development officer moved into the marketing department.
Hayes believes combining these two functions into one department, or at least having the same person oversee them, boosts the efficiency and effectiveness of each.
“In less than a couple of years, I’ve gone from a one-person marketing department to a department of three,” he says. “A lot of that stems from conveying to the rest of the senior management team how vital marketing is to our organization.”
Demonstrating strong results is part of that. So is showing keen interest in learning about all aspects of the credit union.
“You need a basic understanding of how each gear within the organization works with the others,” Hayes says. “Get involved with the asset/liability management committee and learn about efficiency ratios, return on assets, and all the things marketing can contribute to. Your leaders will see you want to be involved and that marketing is key to your credit union’s success.”
Gaining that sort of recognition is a challenge for marketing departments of any size. But solo marketers face an even bigger hurdle in demonstrating that “marketing is more than just making things look pretty,” Hayes says.
NEXT: Focus on larger objectives