4 Tips for the Overextended Marketing Generalist
The Curse of the Marketing Generalist
After years of doing nonprofit marketing, I ran into a bit of a problem when I began a new job search. What, exactly, did I do? The truth was, I did everything. I was a content manager, content strategist, and the writer; I managed all of our social media, I launched and managed our blog singlehandedly, and…whatever else needed to be done.
Though I learned and accomplished a great deal as a marketing generalist, I realized that what I had amassed was a wide range of experience – spread arguably thin. Some companies have specialists, but very often in small business and nonprofit, you just don’t have that luxury. If you’re in the latter boat, here are some things to keep in mind when times get tough, so you can give the most—and get the most out—of your work.
1) Enforce your expertise.
For most of us, communications can make or break an organization. If there are too many cooks in the kitchen providing their opinion on how to spread your message, the message can become diluted, and your audience will respond to that—negatively. Position yourself as the communications expert. You’ll take their feedback, and they’ll need to trust you with not only the words, but also the strategy.
2) Hone your desired skills.
It’s important to know that, despite being the all-things-marketing go-to person, there are skills you’re better at than others – and those may or may not align with your particular interests. As the wearer of so many hats, you probably have more control than you think to develop certain professional goals. For example, I was tired of paying too much for average graphic design that was never delivered on time, so I used our PD resources to take an Illustrator class.
3) Know the results, and actually use them.
It’s too easy to click send on that e-blast that took weeks to put together and then never think about it again, so that you can get to the other million things that needed to go out yesterday. Making a point to check opens, CTRs, etc. the next day for every email will quickly teach you a lot about how your audience engages with your material. (Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at easy metrics for busy marketers, coming soon to this blog near you.) Same goes for the results for your other programs: knowing what success looks like will make your job easier.
4) Keep yourself relevant and visible.
When a blog piece I posted received more than 200 shares in a couple of hours, I sent my team an email to let them know. Everyone else is often too busy with their own work, spread just as thin as you are, but they’re probably blissfully unaware of what kind of impact your work is (or isn’t) having. Show them—don’t rely on them to know. By demonstrating the value you efforts are adding to the team, you don’t just become irreplaceable – you might just have enough proof points to get some additional resources.
Running all aspects of the marketing matrix means that I didn’t have a specific specialty – and because I was so busy, and so wrapped up in my work for so long, I didn’t know I needed one. One great thing about doing everything is that you can figure out what you’re good at, and what you’re best off finding the budget to outsource (after you demonstrate how well the things you want to spend time on are doing, to justify the budget).