Marketing in many construction equipment dealerships languished as a result of the recent recession. Now that the market is coming back, sales managers, business owners and other staff are trying to pick up the pieces. How can you get marketing going again without a marketing staff? Here are some ideas to explore.
1) Prioritize and Plan
Business owners and sales managers should set aside time to make a 12-month plan. Schedule reviews at the beginning of each quarter. Get the sales team involved in the process. Encourage honesty about activities that aren’t working and explore new ideas. Gather insights from your data sources. Examine each component of the marketing budget such as events, advertising, email marketing, and brochures. Write down all the activities you want to do and put them on a calendar. Spread out the workload wherever you can.
2) Rely on Strategic Business Partners
You can’t do multiple full-time jobs by yourself. Explore where to look for help. Turn to your vendors who have an interest in your success. For example, your magazine partners can help you keep on track with a consistent advertising program. They are usually happy to create insertion orders, design advertising and keep you on top of deadlines. They may even be able to help you submit expenses for co-op reimbursement. Keep the message consistent and have all ads you need created at one time in the formats needed. Once in place, stick to the plan.
Brochures and other creative work can be outsourced. You can usually find trustworthy project managers, freelance writers and photographers through the publications and associations you work with. Ask trusted freelancers for referrals. Your graphic designer may know writers from other projects they have worked on. Most email marketing services such as Constant Contact include a list of service providers as well.
3) Consider retirees for project work
Retirees who already know your business are a resource you can call upon to fill short term needs. Ask them to help out at local events, clean-up internal databases and for sales prospecting.
4) Evaluate what tasks could be handled by another staff member
You don’t want to dump the entire marketing effort on one person. Consider those marketing tasks that other departments might handle. Perhaps accounting could manage co-op advertising reimbursements. Maybe each department can be responsible for cleaning up its own customer database.
5) Recognize your time constraints
You could write the brochure or sales script, but given all that’s on your plate, will you? Recognize the things you just don’t have time for, and outsource them. Instead of doing that kind of work yourself, focus on giving your suppliers what they need. Develop a detailed assignment sheet that clearly outlines the objectives, audience, format, deadline, quantities, etc. Having all the information in one place will keep supplier questions to a minimum. Set up a dropbox where you can easily share photos and logos with your virtual team.
Once you have a plan, the right team in place, and efficient processes, your marketing efforts will be driving sales once again – with or without a marketing staff.