Is it time to fire your marketer?

You're fired.
You're fired.

People often ask me if the person they have in charge of their marketing is really the person that should be there and often they say it like they already know the answer.

I get tired of those looks.

The last thing you need to do is replace the person who knows your department/college inside and out and is dedicated to spreading the word about your success.  Most marketers I know love their job.  They love crafting messages and trying to get the word out about what’s going on.

The problem isn’t the marketer.  The problem is that while you have been busy asking for new websites and social media and video, they are having a rough time just trying to keep with all of these things.

But you do need to understand that they probably need some love and attention.

Because here’s really what a marketer should be doing  – whether they are old school with brochures or brand new with blogs – they should be telling “good stories” about you and your faculty, staff, center, college, etc…

But they need help.  They need a lot of help from you, your faculty, your staff, anyone that can help them tell your story.

In the past, it took a long time to make a news story or a video – now it can be done in minutes.  But in the past, if you had the news story or video, there were only a few channels to get to that customer.  Their eyeballs couldn’t escape from your piece but now those eyes could be anywhere.

I like to say this all the time, “Technology made content production simple and easy.  But technology also made channel distribution more complex and difficult.”

Your marketer should be learning the basics of new media – especially if you, like many others, believe that the web is the most efficient way to reach new prospects and reconnect with old ones.

Your marketer might be used to start and stop flight dates.  They have a process of how they build marketing campaigns. They are used to working hard on flowery language for brochures, articles for biannual magazines and huge annual reports.

But this information doesn’t help them in the world of new media.  They may not even be familiar with the unspoken rules of social networking, blogs and forums. They may not understand what a widget can do.  Google Analytics might as well be written in a foreign language.

So instead of shouting at them to get these new Web 2.0 components online, maybe you should be asking the marketer what kind of education do you need before we jump in and start conversing on the net.

And let me tell you – they aren’t going to get that from a one-time seminar from AgencyND or by reading a book. They need to be immersed in it. They need to spend some time learning and USING Web 2.0 things before they even think about starting your department’s Facebook Fan page or an event forum.

I’ve set up hundreds of social tools. Some have done great and some have failed miserably. There have been almost none in between. What was the difference? The marketer behind the wheel. If he/she understood how to use the tools, how to listen to the audience and participate, the social tool flourished.

If you are thinking that you don’t need these kinds of things for your business, then I wonder why you are even reading this blog. There’s some irony for you.

Here’s a list of things that I believe your marketer needs to know before you go Web 2.0:

  1. Enthusiasm for the possibilities of the web – if they are not on board, don’t force it. They will sabotage the online effort and then tell you “I told you so”.
  2. Learn the nuances of social networking as a person not a marketer. Social media marketing must be authentic and subtle. If you are shouting about how great you and your product are, they will black hat you in a heartbeat. If you want to know where to start socializing, then email me and I’ll tell you.
  3. Learn some HTML – seriously. It’s not that difficult. And it’s part of the job. If they have to hunt down the web guy every time they need something done on your website then you are wasting both the web guy’s and the marketer’s time.
  4. Experiment with different tools. There are tons and tons of great FREE resources out there. Don’t buy the first one you see or use. Never get locked into technology unless you know they are stable in the marketplace (like Google). In other words, there are ways to get things done by mashing new technologies together instead of buying a custom solution.
  5. Get involved with our Linkedin Notre Dame Campus Communicators Group.  We are all teaching one another, collaborating and sharing our failures and successes.  It’s one of the easiest ways to learn about new media.

There are many other things that marketers need now. Don’t expect your in-house guy or gal to be able to pull off every little marketing bright shiny object thing that comes along.

Prioritize the marketing list. If you are updating brochures every couple of months and they are sweating over every last detail of the brochure, you might want to go digital so they can change things on the fly.

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, right? Well, for marketers, it makes it harder because now you guys want us to do all the new stuff and maintain the old ways of marketing. You can’t have both unless you add more hands.

Maybe this is all wrong and most marketers out there would like to keep doing the same things year after year but if you aren’t doing new media now, how hard do you think this job will be in five years when you are just getting into it.

I personally like to learn when everyone else is.

What do you think?


  1. This kind of post is awesome. It talks about fact. I hope some boss have have read this post of yours. You are right that not all blame should be point to the marketer. Sometimes, even how brilliant certain person is, they still needs some enhancement. Learning is an on going process. Especially these days that technology made content production simple and easy. But technology also made channel distribution more complex and difficult.”So learning should be continuous. Thank you for sharing.


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