8. Don’t fixate on products and tactics
One trap solo marketers can fall into is dwelling on making products “cool,” says Mullins.
When that happens, the focus lands on products and tactics, not marketing’s larger objectives. “That’s where one-person shops can get bogged down,” she says. “How do you make a checking account cool? Well, you don’t. No one wakes up on a Saturday morning and thinks ‘I can’t wait to open a checking account.’”
Mullins advises solo marketers to set their sights on changing current and prospective members’ behaviors rather than trying to make products exciting. With a checking account, for example, providing convenience and ease of use can lead to the desired behavior: signing up for your checking product with direct deposit.
“You have to give people an experience that makes them want to change their behavior,” Mullins says. “Give them an experience they can’t get anyplace else.”
9. Vet requests properly
Maintaining focus is another challenge for single-person marketing departments, says Anne Legg, senior vice president of business strategy and innovation for 3rd Degree Advertising and a former credit union marketer in a one-person shop.
In such an environment, “you’re hit with a wide array of requests,” Legg says, “and you can get overwhelmed so easily. That’s why the ability to scope and vet is huge.”
For instance, someone may approach you with the idea of building a credit union float for a local parade. But maybe some other awareness-building effort must happen first to effectively reach the target audience.
Scoping and vetting all the requests that come your way helps you sort out which will have the most impact and benefit, Legg says. Some requests go into what she calls the “parking lot” to await later action.
“I’ve vetted those ideas properly so people in the organization feel I’m listening,” she explains. “The ideas won’t leave the parking lot, but they’re just not going to be in my office right now.”
10. Indulge your curiosity
Curiosity helps you explore new ideas and exercise your creativity. A complement to that is allowing yourself to be “comfortable about feeling uncomfortable,” Legg says.
Perhaps that takes an extra measure of gutsiness when you’re a department of one. “You have to be able to acknowledge you know nothing about a certain subject, but you’ll learn what you can,” Legg says. “You may end up creating the biggest bomb, or it might be the best idea of your career. You won’t know until you try. And you’ll try because you’re curious.”
11. Enjoy your freedom
Feelings of being stretched too thin usually come with the territory for solo marketers. But avoid dwelling on the negatives, Legg advises, and instead relish the positives.
“One advantage of being a single-person department is you don’t have as many organizational layers to go through because you’re probably dealing with just one or two people in a leadership capacity,” she says. “That gives you a lot of freedom in what you do. Embrace that freedom.”