Advocating for marketing and communication resources (money or man hours) is not easy. Unless you work at a creative or marketing agency (and I’m guessing you don’t), your leadership – tasked with the responsibility of allocating resources – typically won’t know the value of what you do. This lack of understanding often leads to leadership resisting or rejecting your plans as you try to move your organization forward into what you know is right.
Truthfully, organizations do see enough value to find someone who can do a little bit of everything – graphics, email and video – and pair that job with something more “practical” like IT (this may even describe your role perfectly). So what can we do when faced with the reality of being overstretched and the desire to produce high-quality valuable marketing tools? I think there are three poignant things you can do to advocate for more marketing and communication resources.
Know What the Heck You’re Talking About
First, sufficiently educate yourself on what you’re going to be asking for. Be able to clearly identify what separates sub-par work from excellent work in the area. Being able to explain these traits will help you present your argument in the strongest possible manner.
I provide weekly communication and marketing content and education through my free newsletter, The Communicator’s List (subscriber here). I’d also suggest you visit The Brand You Podcast with Mike Kim, http://mikekim.com/brandyoupodcast/ and pick a few episodes to listen to. While your industry may be different than what Mike talks about, the content will be centered around branding which is essentially what communication and marketing is all about.
Scratch Where It Itches
Second, seek out ways to raise the value of communication and marketing in the eyes of those who pull the purse strings. So for instance, if leadership continues to be frustrated by the lack of color and design elements in the website graphics, take time to listen to this concern and make a change.
Discover exactly what “itch” the senior leader has and create mad crazy value in that space. He/she will take notice (because you’ve brought relief) and when they lean into, “how do we do more of that on a consistent basis?” you now have an opening to educate them on what it would take to accomplish that they are asking.
Choose Molehills Rather Than Mountains
Third, look for quick wins. If there is a low cost, low time commitment way to improve minor things throughout your organizations (like social media images, website photography or more finely crafted email copy), focus your attention on those items.
Don’t focus on the major mountains that you can’t move. Set your sights on small molehills which can collectively raise the bar. This may or may not lead senior leaders to ask about how to further improvement, but you will be upping your game in a sustainable and noticeable way.
The Burden Is On You
It is easy for us to take a lack of marketing resources personally. In nearly all circumstances, this isn’t the case. While I acknowledge there may be some personal conflicts which prevent you from gaining traction, the majority of resistance you experience is rooted in lack of education and lack of perceived value in the area of marketing and communication.
It is our responsibility to be responsible and make the most of what we have been trusted with. You need to know that your organization may never pursue growing your department – if this is the case, use your current situation to become better at accomplishing more while managing with less.
The burden is on you to educate your leaders to the point where they see the value and respond. No matter if they ever come to that point, learn as much as you can and when the time is right move on to a situation that will allow you to continue to grow your skills as well as your department.