How we collaborate with in-house marketing teams

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Jordan Stachini

7 minutes


One of the first questions we often get asked by potential new clients, is how we work alongside an existing in-house marketing team. In all honesty, it is usually the client’s Marketing Manager asking this question – and we totally get why.

To be honest – the answer really depends on the set up of the existing in-house team. However, the one thing that is true, no matter what the set-up is – we never set out to replace existing teams. We always strive to work with a client and ensure that the team they do have in place is efficient and everyone is being used to their fullest potential.

In this article we wanted to share just a few of the most common examples of how we have helped support businesses that have existing in-house marketing teams of all different sizes and seniority.

The ‘We have no marketing team – help’ client

This is probably one of our most common kind of clients – and while you might first think it’s only small businesses who find themselves in this situation, that is not always the case.

In recent years, the rise in tech and e-comm businesses has been incredible, and what often happens in businesses like this is, they grow super-fast. The focus is on meeting the immediate demand (in other words, sales) and there is often very little head space – or resource, to think about the plan post ‘new business boom’.

The time at which businesses do get enough headspace to plan for further down the line also massively differs. For some, it can be a matter of months after launching – for others it can be years before they need to think about a longer-term strategy.

One thing that is the same though no matter how long it is – these kinds of clients often have no idea how to get their product out to the target market. Their whole businesses to that point has been people coming to them. They literally have not needed pro-active marketing to get them where they are. It is in this situation where money can often start to be lost due to ‘punts’ on what might work, rather than taking the time to work on a long-term strategy.

With this type of client, we help them establish everything, including who their target audience actually is, how established the brand is with that audience already, and what their budget is for marketing over a set period of time (usually 6-12 months). We then give them a full strategy, encompassing everything from brand awareness activity, measurable sales leads or enquiries activity, and, most importantly guidance on what their in-house marketing function should look like long term.

No matter what though, the team at co&co remain working alongside that client for the duration of the strategy execution. Often, the co&co team will initially fill that gap of an in-house marketing manager, working with the business owners, or senior management team and overseeing all of the external partners who are brought in to bring the plan to life.

The ‘We have a team, but we have no leadership’ client

On first glance, this scenario might seem like a rare one for a business to find itself in. Surely most in-house marketing teams are built from the bottom up, right? Wrong.

What we see pretty often, is businesses who have correctly identified a profitable route to market for their offering (let’s say social media for example), and therefore employ a social media marketer. The new recruit does well – enquiries or sales via social media boom, but then the senior management team or business owner realises they have no presence on another channel, (let’s say PPC). So, they recruit again – a PPC manager. Same thing happens – they plug the hole on PPC, they see an increase in leads and subsequently sales that they would otherwise not have got.

This cycle carries on, until the business finds itself with a team of marketing discipline specialists (social, PPC, content, CRM perhaps) – but what they don’t have is someone who is able to pull all of those expertise into a strategy. The number of in-house marketing teams, without a marketing manager is pretty common.

In this scenario, we are able to use our years of experience heading up in-house marketing teams ourselves and help the client to devise a strategy that maximises the specialist talent already in the business. It also allows us to identify any gaps the client might have – often these kinds of teams have been recruited and built by people that know the business inside out, but they don’t know marketing. So, having a fresh pair of eyes to unlock talent they have in the team, or suggest a bit of a reshuffle to improve efficiency and focus, is a great benefit to the client.

Working alongside the client we can either offer interim management of the team, and act as that in-house marketing manager they are missing, or we can help them recruit the right person to lead their team long term. Either way, we ensure that the team already in place is maximised to its full potential and is working as efficiently as possible.

The ‘We have a great team, but we always want to be evolving’ client

This scenario might just be our favourite of them all – and when it comes down to it, this is where all businesses ultimately want to get to.

These kinds of clients are the ones who on the face of it, have the dream marketing team, they are driving efficiency, the ROI is in a good place, and their marketing spend vs their revenue is healthy. However, these are also the kind of clients who often get to the point of feeling like they are ‘just keeping the lights on’. In other words – they are doing what is needed but they aren’t breaking any new ground.

For us, this is like Christmas, we get to come in (and to a degree) rip up the rule book on how things have been done so far. We know what has been done works – we know it will keep working, which means we get to have some fun.

Co-incidentally, the in-house marketing teams in this kind of scenario are also often the most willing when it comes to embracing the collaboration with us. Maybe it is because we aren’t advising they change what they are doing, maybe it’s because this kind of collaboration is all about what’s possible. Whatever the reason – we love this kind of project.

In this scenario there are a lot of marketing meeting cliches (and it might be the only time we can tolerate that kind of thing) … big sheets of paper, loads of marker pens, all ideas shared. Our role in this kind of project is to act as a well-informed, third party in the discussion. A lot of the time these kinds of projects are run as a number of workshops – where our role is to facilitate the conversation. When we play this role, we are able to be totally impartial in a way that cannot happen unless you are from outside of the business. We aren’t aware of any pre-existing politics; we don’t know the ideas that have come and gone before our involvement. But what we do know is great marketing – and we know how to help the client craft their great ideas and execute them.

At the end of the day, we hope one thing is always totally clear – we just want to help businesses achieve their objectives, and we believe that all starts with a solid marketing strategy. If we get to work with some mega in-house teams along the way – then even better.

Are you an in-house marketer or business owner who thinks we could do great things together? If so, get in touch, and let’s have a chat about what is possible, we are ready when you are.


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