You upgraded your website – do you need to upgrade your marketer?

No!!!!! The last thing you need to do is replace the person who knows your company inside and out and is dedicated to spreading the word about your success.

But you do need to understand that they probably need some love and attention.

For a small business, having a marketer is a true benefit. Most of the time it’s the CEO or President or the new intern who just came on board (BTW, that is a seriously bad move – the last person I would want to be giving first impressions about my company is the new intern – no matter how cute they are).

But that marketer may need some help. This is no longer a world of brochures, radio spots, TV ads and tradeshows. Or even static brochure-like websites.

Your “new” marketer needs to understand the basics of new media – especially if you, like many others, believe that the web is the most efficient way to reach new customers and reconnect with old ones.

Your marketer is used to start and stop flight dates. They are used to working hard on brochures and flowery language or a biannual magazine and huge annual report. They may not even be used rules of social networking, blogs and forums.  They may not understand what a widget can do.

So instead of shouting at them to get these new Web 2.0 components online, maybe you should be asking the marketer what kind of education do you need before we jump in and start conversing on the net.

Let me tell you – they aren’t going to get that from a one-time seminar from MediaSauce or by reading a book. They need to be immersed in it. They need to spend some time learning and USING Web 2.0 things before they start a social community or a blog or a forum.

I’ve set up hundreds of social tools. Some have done great and some have failed miserably. There have been almost none in between. What was the difference? The marketer behind the wheel. If he/she understood how to use the tools, how to listen to the audience and participate, the social tool flourished.

If you are thinking that you don’t need these kinds of things for your business, then I wonder why you are even reading this blog. There’s some irony for you.

Here’s a list of things that I believe your marketer needs to know before you go Web 2.0:

  1. Enthusiasm for the possibilities of the web – if they are not on board, don’t force it. They will sabotage the online effort and then tell you “I told you so.”
  2. Learn the nuances of social networking as a person not a marketer. Social media marketing must be authentic and subtle. If you are shouting about how great you and your product are, they will black hat you in a heartbeat.  If you want to know where to start socializing, then email me and I’ll tell you.
  3. Learn some HTML – seriously. It’s not that difficult. And it’s part of the job. If they have to hunt down the web guy every time they need something done on your website then you are wasting both the web guy’s and the marketer’s time.
  4. Experiment with different tools. There are tons and tons of great FREE resources out there. Don’t buy the first one you see or use. Never get locked into technology unless you know they are stable in the marketplace (like Google). In other words, there are ways to get things done by mashing new technologies together instead of buying a custom solution. Like for instance, this wordpress site can actually be made into a normal looking website with a great CMS tool behind it.

There are many other things that marketers need now.  Don’t expect your in-house guy or gal to be able to pull off every little marketing thing that comes along.

Prioritize the marketing list.  If you are updating brochures every couple of months and they are sweating over every last detail of the brochure, you might want to go digital so they can change things on the fly.

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, right?  Well, for marketers, it makes it harder because now you guys want us to do all the new stuff and maintain the old ways of marketing.  You can’t have both unless you add more hands.

Maybe this is all wrong and most marketers out there would like to keep doing the same things year after year but if you aren’t doing social media now, how hard do you think this job will be in five years when you are just getting into it.  I personally like to learn when everyone else is.

What do you think?

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