Marketers lounge in bean bags at a past HubSpot INBOUND conference in Boston.
Marketers at a past HubSpot INBOUND conference in Boston. PHOTO: Dom Nicastro

Marketers are at the mercy of their devices and their inboxes and have a tough time focusing. Half of them feel they are not worthy of their peers, and only half feel fulfilled as professionals. Those are some of the findings from a MarketingProfs report released in January (log-in required). 

Are your marketers struggling with these issues? They may be. The good news is you can help them, there are ways you can invest in your marketers. Because while leaders may mostly focus on marketing itself and customer experience, they shouldn't forget about their actual marketers.

CMOs Spend More on Martech Than People

It’s been a struggle balancing investment with technology and marketing, and investment in marketers themselves. According to the Gartner CMO Spend Survey for 2018-2019 (download required), 24% is spent on labor while 29% goes to marketing technology. “Marketing technology will get the lion's share of investment, but lower investment in talent puts the ability to leverage the tools at risk,” Gartner researchers found. 

Researcher suggests organizations review resources used toward marketing operations, including in-house, agencies and technology vendors. “Ensure there’s sufficient labor on staff or from your agency to support your objectives in the near term,” wrote Gartner co-authors Ewan McIntyre and Anna Maria Virzi, “and build a talent roadmap that balances the capabilities you need given the right scale, cost and flexibility.”

Related Article: A Look at Marketers' Biggest Customer Experience Challenges in 2019

Provide Tech, Agile Marketing Training

What are some other ways your organization can invest in its actual marketers? For starters, let your marketers know you want them to succeed by offering robust training programs for technology and agile methodologies, according to Randy Wootton, CEO of Percolate. “Previously, the heads of marketing would rely on their IT partners to procure specific point solutions (e.g., web CMS, email, social monitoring tools). However, as the marketing tech landscape has exploded, heads of marketing have started to build those capabilities on their teams. While tech is important, you need the right marketers in place to execute the technology, and to do so at the speed of business. Really, it’s marketing at the speed of business.”

Build Camaraderie, Trust Across Marketing Teams

When a company reinvents itself to meet the emerging needs of customers, it's crucial to inspire and educate the greater organization at every turn, according to Marta Cyhan, CMO at Catalina. “To make that happen, the marketing team has to not just talk the talk, but walk the walk.”

According to Cyhan, you do this for your marketing team by doing the following:

  • Build camaraderie and trust across the team.
  • Break down silos, celebrate and leverage one another’s strengths and learn each other's pain points.
  • Challenge the status quo. Can something be done faster, more efficiently? Does it need to be done at all?
  • Having regular and frequent communication, with progress and obstacles and ideas shared in a safe, “there’s no such thing as a stupid question,” space.

“I’m very much a big believer in bringing in outside facilitators to help make this happen,” Cyhan said. “They can help with the self-discovery process by identifying strengths, behaviors, motivations and interests in a completely confidential and judgment-free manner. They can help align the team, understand what makes each other tick, and manage stress to make sure we are in sync and well-equipped to lean in and push tasks large and small over the finish line.”

Related Article: 3 Reasons Your Marketing Team Might Not Be Ready for AI

Foster Your Marketers’ Ideas, Creativity

Jennifer Shambroom, CMO at Deputy, said great ideas are the “center of your brand,” and marketing leaders should recognize they need to foster an environment where the team can generate the very best ideas. “Ideas need to be cultivated, nurtured and developed for consistency,” she said. The marketing team is at the center of ideas and creativity. Make sure you cultivate and energize your team to ensure that they are appreciated, enjoy their work and are inspired to be their best every day, Shambroom added. “The marketing team is typically the loud, bold, authentic team and voice of the brand,” she said.

Encourage creativity, she added, because brands should be “bold, creative and visionary to ensure your brand stands out in any crowded marketplace. Without the right ideas, it will be hard to differentiate your brand against your competitors.”

Support a Flexible Environment

Marketers are also typically the most creative, gregarious and irreverent group in the organization. “It's important,” Shambroom said, “to give the team the flexibility and freedom to be themselves, have space to create and find interesting ways to harness their creativity and ideas. Give them clear direction, but don't stifle their creative process.” 

Related Article: MarTech Conference Attendees Discuss Top Customer Experience Priorities

Encourage Industry-Learning Opportunities

Your marketers can’t crunch numbers all week. Let them leave the nest and explore industry conferences where they can be inspired, according to Diane Merrick, vice president of marketing for Serviceaide. “At a time when many marketers increasingly meet virtually, the opportunity to connect face-to-face with like-minded individuals, visionaries and vendors provides almost limitless benefits,” she said. “User conferences for marketing platforms, such as those hosted by Demandbase, HubSpot and Salesforce, can be especially rewarding.”

Attending a user conference is an excellent way to obtain feedback from others using the same tools you are and who may have mastered marketing problems you are facing, Merrick added. “Sure, you can search the internet for ideas and solutions, but that doesn’t always yield the answer to your specific issue,” she said. Moreover, user conferences are often filled with companies showing off their newest features and offerings and can also be a great place to find consultants or vendors that will enhance your business.