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Sector Insights interim marketing director

by Roderick McInnes


5 Reasons You Need An Interim Marketing Director

Marketing and brand positioning is mission critical. It has always been important but these days digital technology means that brand perception is a 24/7 activity that companies don’t fully own or control.

Modern brands are built on perception and reputation. With an effective strategy, businesses can influence and shape the message and conversation, providing that products/services are aligned with the marketing, advertising and other materials published across multiple channels.

Some companies build and fine tune entire marketing engines, or work with agencies to keep them on message and tailor the message for audiences relevant to their growth-focused campaigns. Whereas others are content to sit in second gear, wondering why recycling once successful ideas no longer gets them the results they desire.

Benefits Of Employing An Interim Marketing Director

There has never been more pressure on marketing teams to perform and deliver. Sitting in second gear doesn’t generate enough traction anymore. Panic can set in when senior management comes to this realisation. Incorrect and expensive decisions can follow such as engaging top-tier agencies, consultants or staffing up without a clear strategy. Smart leaders resist the urge to panic. Instead, work through the following five-point checklist, to determine if an interim marketing director would benefit your organisation.

#1: Is your marketing team hitting or struggling to hit targets?

Marketing is a strategic function. It is more about marshalling resources and deploying them effectively than sitting around trying to write lines of copy or take Instagram-worthy images and videos.

Experienced marketing professionals constantly have targets front of mind. Inexperienced team members think of them, then act without much forward planning when they’ve missed target. Teams can struggle to hit target for numerous reasons. Some of the most common include a poorly aligned marketing strategy, not having a strategy or an ineffective deployment of resources.

Jumping on new social networks, simply because they are fashionable amongst marketers and social media commentators, bloggers and journalists, is a bad reason to spread resources/team time further. That’s just one-way marketing teams can act in a reactive nature, hoping to hit target, without thinking through to the end-game or value of a campaign.

#2: Is your marketing budget being spent well? What is the ROI?

Following on from this, we have to consider how budgets are currently being spent in the pursuit of marketing objectives. Full-time staff and interim managers look at budgets from different perspectives. Neither wants to waste money, but staffers want to show the money is being spent well, whilst taking the spend up to the budgetary limits. Not using one year’s worth of allocated funds could risk them not having it the next fiscal year.

Conversely, interim managers consider this from a business owners’ mind-set. Budgets don’t need to be exhausted. They need to be marshalled to achieve the highest ROI possible. Interims often challenge current methods and strategies. Value is created when an interim implements tactics that results in a lower cost-per-acquisition, whilst increasing the quality of the leads and customer retention strategy.

#3: Are current marketing campaigns reactive or aligned to overall objectives?

From a high-level perspective, marketing and sales should be seen as two halves of the same function: Growth. Alongside account management or customer services which focus on keeping customers happy. All three areas directly contribute to top-line revenues and profits. No business can function without them.

And yet, marketing can be viewed as a wayward and misunderstood small regional town, far from the control of central government. Marketing has a seat in the C-suite but, unlike sales, ROI and relevant KPI’s can be seen as “fluffier,” therefore harder to quantify and measure or believe in, as if marketing is an act of faith rather than a data-driven business unit.

Ensuring marketing KPIs interact with overall business objectives is an important first step that will align that team with the senior management.

#4: Could the marketing team achieve more with the same resources?

Marketing managers are usually responsible for five, six or even seven figure budgets, depending on the size of the organisation. These budgets can be inclusive or exclusive of staff and creative/digital or marketing agency contracts. Within these budgets, there can be allocations for everything from apps to advertising, social media to printed collateral and everything in between.

Naturally, business owners expect results.

However, even when results are achieved it can be worth asking: could we have done more? If the answer is yes, or I don’t know, then an outside perspective could prove valuable. An interim, unlike an agency, isn’t trying to sell you more services or direct your resources into other services and solutions.

An interim wants the same as you: to maximise the value each business function generates.

#5: Would marketing staff benefit from an outside, more experienced perspective?

Interims come with years of hands on experience, both interim and permanent They have managed teams at a senior level, handled large budgets and generated revenue for companies, usually across multiple sectors, in good and bad economic times.

The right interim for your organisation will…

  • Challenge current marketing assumptions
  • Come up with meaningful KPIs and targets
  • Design new strategies that will aim at achieving long-term goals

… rather than react to short-term needs or new social media trends. An outside perspective could be exactly what your marketing team needs to get them on target.

Finally, an interim marketing director will also ensure that your marketing team will have the skills to take their function and your organisation forward after their assignment ends. Their legacy is a key differentiator from other outsourcing options, ensuring that once they depart, your marketing department continues down the right road.

We are interested to hear from marketing interims and organisations about how they are being deployed and the results they deliver. If you would like to contribute your experience, please leave a comment below.

Chris Williams, Head of Commercial, has created this checklist of actions commercial leaders should consider post-Brexit. Download your copy by clicking on the link.

commercial interims, Brexit, checklist

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About the Author

Roderick McInnes

Roderick is responsible for all aspects of the marketing and communications mix, ensuring Alium maintains its market position as the leading provider of interim and transformation talent in the UK and internationally.

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