Companies like SEOmoz and HubSpot make marketing look easy. Not only do a number of their employees blog and participate in relevant conversations on other blogs, Quora, and a number of other sites, but they also have very responsive social media outlets on Facebook and Twitter. Seeing that and then reading things like this from my friend Marcus make some of us think, “We need to do that. I could do that. Let’s do it.”
After all, if you can make everyone in your company a marketer, that will not only reduce marketing’s workload, but also give you so much more content and perspectives to work with, right? Right? Wrong.
Good marketing requires planning and coordination.
The thing that you don’t think about when you read social media books and blogs about new marketing is that the central leadership role of the CMO, CCO, VPM, or even just community manager is more important than ever. Without standards and guidelines and then a quality filter (ie. your head of marketing), blog posts go out that have bad formatting, terrible writing, and are off message; emails get sent that don’t align with your strategy; and updates get posted to Twitter and Facebook that ultimately make you look bad.
I won’t link to any examples because there’s no need to shame anyone, but have you ever seen something from a company in social media, email, on a blog, etc and thought, “That’s a little weird coming from them”? There’s a good chance that company tried to make someone a marketer, when they really weren’t, and didn’t put the proper planning and coordination in place to ensure that their content aligned with the business’ goals.
Sadly, the marketing problem is often the CEO.
I’ve seen too many organizations where the CEO charged in with passion, which is great, and promptly messed everything up, which is not great.
Making everyone a marketer doesn’t mean there should no longer be internal controls, guidelines, filters, or a gatekeeper. Just because your CEO calls the shots doesn’t mean that your lowly community manager doesn’t know better how your blog subscribers will react to his writing, so when you do try to make everyone a marketer, your CEO might have to slow down and be forced to take a No or simply just guidance from the real marketers.
Get yourself a schedule, a gatekeeper, some training, and the power to tell people No.
It’s so easy to avoid this problem too. As long as your CEO recognizes the need for quality and consistency, she should be willing to stick to a plan. Once you have the CEO on board, you can make everyone a marketer and still ensure that you don’t have those embarrassing things happen.
If not though, all bets are off.