Whenever I hear someone utter the phrase, “It’s not my job”, I’m always brought back to the book that was read to us in a leadership class I was part of a couple of years ago. The Dog Poop Initiative by Kirk Weisler tells of how his son’s soccer team came to the field for the game and a pile of dog poop was on the field. One person after another including parents, kids, coaches and referees made sure to point out the poop and let everyone know of its location so they wouldn’t step in it. Finally, Kirk and another coach found some cardboard, picked up the poop, and threw it away. The moral of course is there are “pointers”, constantly pointing out the problems or issues, and there are “scoopers” who jump in and solve the problem. An organization’s views on marketing can be the same way.
The mentality in most organization’s I’ve been involved with is marketing is done by the marketing department. The marketing department comes up with slogans, materials, social media posts, writes articles, etc. As a non-marketing person, the common thought is there is nothing for them to contribute. It’s someone else’s job. That “pointer” mentality only reduces the overall effectiveness of the marketing department. The reality is marketing, especially in professional services, needs to involve everyone to be truly effective.
In professional services, marketing is supporting the building of relationships. Marketing is creating and maintaining awareness. Marketing is building credibility and reinforcing expertise to build trusting relationships with clients. These initiatives can’t be accomplished by the marketing department alone.
Marketing an organization involves everyone, from the person answering the phone, to the partners who are often tasked with business development. All in the organization need to contribute to make marketing work. There are some common misconceptions among professional services staff which may lead to inactivity, and can contribute to a “pointer” mentality. Re-educating and reminding internally is important to reinforce the value of their contributions.
In the interest of not being a “pointer”, here are FIVE tips to support the organization reaching its marketing goals.
- Listening – Staff at almost every level has contact with technical staff, or clients. Listen to conversations with the intent of learning more about the subject matter. The knowledge gained about the organization can help in a number of different ways, from contributing to an article, easily directing a client to the right person, or understanding information included in a request for proposal to shape the submittal.
- Opportunity Awareness – Providing the marketing department with opportunities to promote and create awareness. Be aware of what publications clients are reading, award applications, speaking abstracts, community events, conferences, and numerous other ways to create top-of-mind awareness. This is especially important in organizations with multiple offices where the marketing department can be somewhat removed.
- Competitive Information – Marketing and business development thrive on being strategic. The more information about competitors, markets, and political climates a marketing department has, the better targeted the message.
- Social Media – Although many professional services are slower to adopt social media as a key means to market, there is still a great deal of opportunity to extend the reach of the organization through very simple means. A simple “Like” to a LinkedIn post can generate huge numbers to those within the organization who have large networks. Even making sure to connect with people you already know and interacting with the organization’s posts can reap huge benefits. Ask your marketing department for help and basic training if you aren’t comfortable.
- Pictures/Videos – These are marketing gold. Taking pictures of unique, and sometimes what may seem like ordinary occurrences can be turned into an interesting post. Simply provide a brief explanation and context along with the picture or video. This will help contribute to the information shared with clients and prospects, ultimately keeping top of mind. Plus, it has the added benefit of making marketing’s job easier because they don’t have to work as hard to find relevant content to share.
It is very easy to look at marketing as someone else’s job. I encourage everyone without a “marketing” title to look at how you can provide value to your organization by taking the initiative and picking up the poop!