August 4, 2016
For smaller organizations, trying to keep up with the pace of marketing is a challenge. Every day it seems like there’s something new to learn – a new social media platform or a new best practice for sending emails. But the breakdown of most small business marketing isn’t so much a failure to understand new methodologies as it is an unintentional omission of building a supporting marketing system to sustain those practices.
What is a marketing system?
A marketing system is those repeatable processes that enable you to eliminate the guesswork and manage your marketing more effectively. And a well-oiled system can run without you, to some degree. Identifying tasks to streamline and duplicate enables you to replace misused time and resources with more efficient practices.
Four easy steps to create a simple marketing system
Step 1: Discovery – Create a detailed list of all the sales and marketing activities that you are currently doing to promote your business. Next to each item, note the action owner (you or an internal/external team member), procedures and software used. Also include the average time spent on each task, frequency, and the typical result. You’ll note, we’ve included “sales activity” here as well. What do you do with people who’ve responded to your marketing? What’s the next step for them? The sales funnel is part of the marketing process because your marketing activity fuels it.
Step 2: Ranking – With this raw data, rank the importance of each task and its impact on the business or client. For example, you may send weekly promo emails with a coupon code. For two weeks in a row, the code doesn’t work. How does that impact customer experience? Or sales? Create a scale of 1-5, with “1” being Low and “5” being High. Assign a value to each task.
Step 3: Classification – Group these activities into similar categories, such as tasks that require your physical participation or that of a team member (such as creating content) and functions that happen routinely, like sending weekly promo deals or posting to social media. Within these groups, you now have the activity and its level of importance. Tasks that can be automated, simplified, or eliminated are what you’re looking for here.
Step 4: Execution – Develop a simple process flow or action plan that maps the surviving tasks. Clearly specify the action to be completed, frequency, the appropriate action owner, software used (for automated processes), and deliverables. Also include contingency plans, policies (e.g. social media guidelines and editorial calendars), and procedures (how to set up automated campaigns and pull analytics).
The benefits of a marketing system
A marketing system is just one of many systems that should reside within your organization. From accounting to sales, product development to working with vendors, systems give you a bird’s eye view your organization’s operations. They also help you quickly identify bottlenecks and unnecessary functions that can negatively impact sales, consumer experience, even team morale. The four steps above are simplifying the process a bit, but it’s a good start on how to build your first marketing system.