Your Own Marketing Department: To Build or Not To Build? (Part II)
This is the second half of a two-part post. In the first, I gave you homework—a few questions to identify what you really need before you hire marketing staff. Now, I’m going to offer a few specific staffing suggestions.
Why a warm body isn’t enough
Let’s start by clearing up a common misperception. Adding headcount shouldn’t be a marketing budget buster. Salaries represent only a portion of your marketing spend. You can spend $60K a year on a marketing coordinator, $100K+ on a marketing director, or even more for a chief marketing officer (CMO). While those figures represent a lot of money, they cover only human capital—just a single line item in your overall marketing budget. If that’s all you have to spend, your new hire will show up on her first day and discover she doesn’t have any of the resources she needs to do her job—not even simple things like CRM, a marketing library, email marketing vendor, or access to a great copywriter. Her chances for success are slim. She needs help!
Think of marketing like technology
The notion that one marketing person can “do it all” is very ingrained in advisor culture. To explain why it’s wrong, an analogy might help. Think about IT. Advisors understand they need IT support to stay in business, and they realize it can be very expensive. Yet no one tries to hire one computer guy to set up the printer and develop an order management system from scratch. You rely on outside vendors to provide most of the tools you need, and let your internal staff coordinate everything. That’s how marketing works, too.
Signs that it’s time to start hiring
Now, on to my suggestions. Please remember, these are just illustrations. To provide you with actionable advice, I would have to understand your business plan, see your growth strategy for the next 3 to 5 years, and learn a great deal about your business. But in general:
- Below $500 million AUM: You don’t need dedicated marketing staff. Outsource to an agency or freelancers with specialized expertise in serving advisors.
- Multi-billion AUM: Start laying the groundwork for future growth and a more robust marketing function. Hire a great marketing administrator—a hard-charging go-getter willing to learn your business and become indoctrinated into your culture. Then hire an outside agency to handle execution while your internal person coordinates all the spinning wheels. Please remember, when you hire an administrator, you’re not getting a CMO. Look to your outside agency experts to provide strategic direction while they also help your administrator grow into a more strategic role over time.
- $5+ billion AUM: You’re ready to hire director-level marketing support—someone who can deeply understand your target market and develop a strategy to reach it. A marketing director also needs the freedom, flexibility and especially the budget to execute on a marketing plan, as well as the ability to hire additional internal staff and outsourcing providers.
Of course, these are just general guidelines. Each advisor business is unique. Let your goals dictate your strategy, and let your strategy determine the kind of people you hire.