This is article #50 out of 50 in The Startup Marketing Playbook.
Here we are… the last post in this blog series of building a marketing team at a B2B startup. We’ve covered a tremendous amount in the last 50 posts, and hopefully the content has been helpful in growing your team. As a startup evolves, the marketing needs and team structure will as well.
In this final post, let’s consider what you need to account for as you scale the marketing function for a growing business. For my team at Netpulse, we hit a certain level of growth where we started to struggle with challenges such as:
- We’re out of content ideas… what do we write about?
- Did our team grow too fast… what should our interns do?
- Are we seeing diminishing returns from our inbound strategy?
To help answer those questions and more, let’s outline a philosophy on scaling marketing:
1. Prepare for the old bag of tricks to be empty
One of the most frustrating aspects of our marketing team scaling was the increased difficulty in achieving our core marketing goals. In the very early stages of building a marketing team, there are a seemingly limitless supply of quick wins and big, impactful projects. Figuring out the core story, launching the websites and marketing automation system are all incredibly satisfying. As you scale, you need to be ready to look for new problems to solve, and recognize that the marketing strategies that worked last year, may not be effective later.
2. Look deeper than a dry MQL pipeline
A perfect example of old marketing strategies becoming less effective is in lead pipeline. After the first 18 months of building marketing at Netpulse, it became a lot harder to acquire new leads. We had tapped the low hanging fruit, and the wells were drying up. This required us to dig deeper into our best lead sources, put more focus on the right channels and truly examine the size of our market.
3. Consider new combinations with partners
When you scale, you need to branch even further out of you comfort zone and expand collaboration with partners. For example, Lyft launched a partnership with Detla Airlines where users earn SkyMiles for Lyft rides. In the beginning of Lyft’s journey in establishing its brand, such a partnership would have been a distraction. Now that it’s more established, Lyft can explore unique deals like this one.
4. Repetition isn’t always a bad thing
Just because you wrote about a topic last year doesn’t mean it’s now off limits. In many cases, your targets need to see your messaging and read your story several times before they are ready to proceed through the buyer’s journey. Repeating content with a slight variation can actually be positive reinforcement of your value proposition.
5. Consider team skills evolution
Skills you needed in the early-stages may be less relevant at scale. People who were invaluable on day 1 may be contributing a lot less on day 500 because of change in team structure and the company’s marketing goals. It’s important to be aware of these changes, help the team evolve and have the difficult conversations if a team member isn’t scaling.
6. Don’t rebuild without good reason
It may be tempting to rebuild for the sake of a successful project. That is usually the starting mantra of a failed website re-design. While you may want to A/B test different messaging on your home page, it’s a sign that you may have the wrong people or wrong focus if you are gutting architecture because you need a good project.
7. Consider scale and scope adjustments
Finally, your company might have evolved to the point where you’ve saturated the market with a certain message or product, and now it’s time to reduce marketing focus in that area. That is totally ok, and is the sign of a disciplined, effective team.
Thank you for reading and best of luck with your marketing team! Please feel free to contact me anytime you need guidance… I’m happy to help!