Who should do the marketing?

Small and mid-size B2B companies face a challenge in finding the right level and amount of resources to effectively manage marketing, as I discussed in Part One.

There are several options for B2B companies to get the right resource mix for effective marketing. The graphic below demonstrates how the extent and sophistication of marketing activities give a guideline for what kind of human resources are needed.

In-house Senior Marketer (VP, CMO)

Having an in-house senior marketing executive is an aspiration for many B2B companies. An executive responsible for marketing allows the company to have marketing expertise (assuming the right person was hired) to make good, strategic decisions about marketing investments. It means that someone at the leadership level is bringing marketing issues to the fore, and these issues are being considered when making investments in other departments.

However, the majority of small and mid-size B2B companies don’t need, and can’t afford, a senior marketing executive. Their salary isn’t justified based on the marketing spend and needs of the company. So, while having a marketing executive is appealing for small and mid-size B2B companies, for most it’s not practical. Companies that have over fifty million in revenue and spend more than one million annually in marketing usually need senior marketing leadership. Below this level, it depends on the company’s strategy and industry.

In-house Junior Marketer (Coordinator, Manager)

When most B2B companies begin to get serious about marketing, they start out by hiring someone at a junior level. A full-time junior marketer can do a lot and there is usually a lot to be done.

But the downside to junior marketing personnel is that they often don’t have strategic marketing skills. They don’t know which marketing tactics make sense given the company’s overall business strategy. They must be managed and directed by a manager in the company, which can be challenging if that manager has a busy schedule.

Junior marketing personnel are also more likely to leave the company. If they are focused on developing their careers, they will crave opportunities to take on new challenges, which they may achieve by jumping from one company to the next. This is difficult because it creates gaps between marketers, which brings inconsistency in execution. Management will need to dedicate time to identifying and then orienting new personnel.

Senior / Junior Mix

Having a combination of senior and junior marketers is a good way to achieve strategic marketing that is consistently executed. The senior marketer should be responsible for setting the strategy, determining tactics, investment levels and the scorecard, and advocating for marketing within the company’s leadership team. The senior person should also handle some of the execution activities, such as setting up strategic alliances and the thought leadership program. The junior marketer will be responsible primarily for execution and should be overseen by the senior.

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