Advice for SMEs

Why You Should Build Your Own In-House Marcomms Team

We don’t have a sales department here at We Are All Connected. We don’t have a marketing department. None of us have marketing degrees or sales qualifications. Yet, one thing we spend a lot of time doing is helping companies build marketing and communications teams.

So what do we have?

We have a team with aligned values and the ability to communicate.

And we think that’s all you need, too.

Knowing something has to change

When you run an SME, you are used to working with a lot of pressure, a lot of decisions, goals that seem unreachable and an endless to-do list. But sometimes you reach the threshold where all internal resource has been used (and then some), but you know that your growth is going to stall unless you take marketing and communications more seriously. Something has to change.

This week, we spoke with three companies facing this issue in different ways…

  • One is putting loads of energy into doing lots of amazing stuff, but has no time to put into publicising it. They are missing huge opportunities for profile building, networking and sales by not leveraging all that amazing stuff, but it is just too much.
  • One has been relying on interns, which has been positive in a lot of ways, but the continuity issue gets in the way of making the most of them and progress gets lost
  • One needs to put all their time into focusing on existing contacts to keep cashflow going, which means they aren’t reaching out to new customers or prospects

They have all decided to grow the team and get someone in-house. But none of them know how to go about it.

Growing the team

Marketing and communications is being taken more and more seriously by smaller and smaller businesses. However, while large companies would think nothing of allocating 20% of their budget to marcomms, most SMEs feel that that is not possible for them. The money you will be diverting is precious and you need to ensure the best ROI. There are difficult decisions to be made.

Don’t outsource…

It used to be quite normal to outsource communications. We are relieved to see this is changing. We believe that communications should come from in-house as much as possible. If your staff have aligned values and are good communicators then that is your marketing and communications dealt with.

Outsourcing everything to an external agency is:

  • Expensive and not cost-effective
  • Undermines the ethos of lean or agile business that SMEs usually exemplify
  • Not good for long-term security or sustainability
  • Risky – as an SME your biggest asset is your identity, your voice. Why give that loudspeaker to someone else?

But most importantly it is:

  • Unnecessary. If you do a proper staff audit, we are sure you will find someone who fancies doing some writing, someone who secretly loves social media, the natural chatterbox who already has a bit of an audience, an MD with more knowledge about this sector than any agency could possibly have

…but do ask for help

There is a difference between an agency that you can farm everything out to and a consultancy that can support you to build what you have in-house. This can be really valuable to assist with auditing your internal resource, helping you to leverage absolutely everything you already have and providing training, direction and signposting in areas where you need something extra.

How long before I see a ROI?

Organic children’s clothes and skincare company, Little Green Radicals, is considering its options to grow the team on a limited budget to maximum effect on their marketing and sales. This week, their MD had lots of questions about taking someone on: ‘If I got someone writing amazing content and communicating with the outside world, for £18k a year, what impact would I actually expect? How long before they start to pay for themselves? Should we keep with interns instead?’

Our advice was that, if every asset of your first hire is leveraged, you will see a compelling and potentially speedy ROI. To that end, it’s useful if every employee in an SME has a commercial bent and can spot opportunities in relationship building. It’s also important to make sure the person you hire is spot on for your company and the role.

We cover the steps behind how to build your marketing team in our next article.