Marketing marketers: the unique challenges of your agency’s marketing team
Agencies’ in-house marketing teams have a unique job – what Propellernet’s marketing director Georgie Monaghan calls ‘marketing marketers.’ How can they navigate it? She takes us through those challenges, from managing resources to dealing with the struggle of not being able to talk about some of your best work.
Propellernet on how marketers can keep up with the evolving pace of marketing
It’s the question that I’ve begun to dread and I’m not sure why: “So, what do you do?” Oh, shit. My brain runs through all possible answers. “I’m in marketing.” Nope, they will collar me in to helping with their aunt’s dog grooming company. “B2B marketing.” Do they know what B2B means? “I market marketers.” Well, that is what I do but now I sound like a dick; there’s a blank nod; the conversation changes. The moment’s gone.
Rob Mayhew’s hilarious and very honest portrayal of agency life has got me reflecting on my own role recently – which is ultimately to market some of the UK’s leading marketers. It’s a role that comes with its own unique challenges. So, for the brave marketer marketers, this one is for you.
There is none. If you’re doing your job right, everyone is manically busy and resourced to the max. But to do your job, you need resource – to write content, to write award entries, to run an event... the list goes on.
This is a good problem to have, and it’s one that I’ve faced a lot in agency roles. How do you tackle it?
First, you’ve got to be clear why an opportunity deserves resource. It’s not just about monetary investment – for a business that sells time, why is this important?
Second, be proactive: what can you do to limit the resource needed? Can you ghost write elements of response you need? Everyone works differently, so learn how key stakeholders like to operate and create a plan based around them individually.
Finally, be flexible. Agency life is fast-paced; to enjoy the role, you have to be able to flex. Yes, set your deadlines and meet them, but don’t beat yourself up if everything on your well-articulated marketing strategy doesn’t happen. Keep track of those things, monitor and report on them, and voice when things really are impacting your performance.
And yes, you will invariably be there with one minute to go still trying to get an award entry uploaded.
Marketing agency budgets
Often, the events you would love to target are astronomically out of reach. Award entries add up. And random expenses from across the business get thrown your way.
As with resource, be flexible and proactive and build business cases. Beyond the data you can see, business development, client services and HR need to be your best friends to keep track of incoming leads; common threads across upsell opportunities; and brand perception when it comes to recruitment.
We’re doing the most amazing work – but you can’t tell anyone about it
This happens so often in agency life. You win a new client... but you can’t announce it. And of course, you’re getting the most amazing results for that client, but you can’t case study them or put them forward for an award. There’s nothing we can do about it. It’s just one of those things. It cuts deep. Smile, move on and drink a large glass of wine while reading the new win updates the following week.
I vividly remember sitting in a meeting with the recommended agency register and them saying: “Don’t say it’s your people that make you different... of course it is, everyone says that. What really makes you different as an agency?” This has stuck with me throughout my career, brand and agency side. People, their skills and their contacts often come and go. Why should a client work with you as an agency? What can you bring them over another agency? What is true and genuine to your brand? These are big questions that you won’t be able to answer on your own. But you’ll be flying when you know what they are.
You’re marketing the experts
No one said this was going to be easy, but let’s be honest: that’s why we love it. When you present your marketing strategy for the year, you are doing this to a room full of people who are paid to build out marketing strategies day in and day out for some of the world’s leading brands. Intimidating or what? But you know your agency, you’ve got under the skin of your brand and have used all the data and insights you can to build out those recommendations into a strategy. You’ve got this.
And, in regards to being at the forefront of a fantastic industry, full of brilliant minds – well, there’s no other place I’d rather be. Here’s to the silent army of marketing marketers. I salute you.
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