How to Have a Big Impact with a Small Marketing Team

Whether you have 0 or 100 dedicated marketing employees, your marketing team is probably not as large as you think it needs to be.

I am confident that’s true because it’s something we have heard from marketers in companies of all sizes. And to varying degrees, they’re probably all right. After all, the exponential growth of digital marketing over the past decade and the sheer number of channels available has made it almost impossible for any company to keep up.

But we’ve also recognized that, for a variety of reasons, many marketing teams aren’t getting the most value out of the people they have either. I am not talking about forcing your already stretched employees to work more hours or give more of themselves to the company. That’s a recipe for employee discontent and massive turnover. I’m talking about ensuring the work your team is doing is bringing the most value it possibly can to the company.

If you’re looking to have a greater impact without increasing headcount, the four strategies laid out below can serve as a great starting point for bringing more value with your small marketing team.

Focus on Outcomes, Not on Work

This is a great place to start. On a sheet of paper, write down what success looks like for your company and your team. Specifically, at the end of the year what three or four outcomes could you achieve that would tell you it was a good year. Is it a certain number of qualified leads? Is it increasing online sales by X%? Ultimately, what are you trying to achieve as a team together?

Next, take an assessment of the work your team is doing. Is every single activity you’re doing aligned to those successful outcomes? And if it is aligned with those outcomes, is it performing in a way that helps you achieve them? If your team is stretched beyond capacity, any work they are doing that doesn’t bring you closer to achieving success is not bringing the most possible value.

This exercise will help you quickly snap your team’s priorities into focus and understand the ‘why’ behind the work you do. It’s a good idea to come back to it from time to time to make sure you haven’t strayed.

Stop Trying to Do Everything

I know this one is easier said than done. But one big reason many small marketing teams struggle to find traction is that they’re simply spreading themselves too thin. Realistically, even with a huge team, the odds are not great that you have expertise in every marketing channel. It’s also incredibly difficult to scale a marketing strategy consistently across too broad a set of channels

So where should you be focusing your team’s attention? Start by focusing on the channels and activity where you’re seeing the most success. If email is a consistently great channel for you, make email the centerpiece of your marketing. If there’s one social platform that’s really working for you, but you’re also dedicating resources to five others that aren’t, put all your attention on the valuable one. If your video content works and your blog doesn’t, rededicate the time and energy you’re spending blogging to video creation.

If the outcomes are what matter most, the work should always align to them. If you can identify work you’re doing that doesn’t, refocus that energy so it will.

Put People in a Position to Do Their Best Work

Not all work is fun. That’s just a fact of life. There are aspects about what each of us do every day that truly feel like work. But hopefully, there are also things you do every day at work that you find incredibly enjoyable. Some people, for instance, hate writing. I on the other hand am at my happiest when I am putting words on a blank canvas. Do you know what work brings you the most joy? Even more important, do you know what work each of your team members is doing when they are in their happy place?

Talk to your team to get an understanding of what it is they love about the work they do. Find out what work they don’t do today that they wish they did. Look for alignment between the work they love and similar work they might love if given the opportunity. Happy employees bring their best to the job.

And knowing that their leader wants to put them in a position to do work that makes them happy will also increase the likelihood that they’ll also happily bring their best to the tasks that don’t get them out of bed in the morning.

Get the Right Help When You Need It

Adding members to grow the capabilities of your small marketing team isn’t always the best option. Sometimes, it’s better to identify an agency partner who can efficiently bring a variety of expertise in house to help you do more with the resources you have.

If you’re considering hiring a marketing agency to support your company’s marketing efforts, you will get the most value out of the relationship if you complete the tasks above first. Not all marketing agencies are the same. Identifying concrete goals and aligning your people and activities to the work that will achieve them, will position you well for recognizing your needs and choosing the right marketing agency to complement your team’s work.

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