Why Marketing Strategy And Implementation Need To Be Separate




When it comes to marketing, a key element to success lies in a clear division between the person that is actually leading your marketing efforts, the one that is creating the strategy and the plan, and those people that are actually doing the work that are executing the plan, the implementation. Many businesses make common missteps that I will share with you today so that you don't have to make those same mistakes. If you are actively investing and marketing your business, this is an episode you do not want to miss.

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Why Marketing Strategy And Implementation Need To Be Separate

When it comes to marketing, a key element to success lies in a clear division between the person that is actually leading your marketing efforts, the one that is creating the strategy and the plan, and those people that are actually doing the work that are executing the plan, the implementation. Many businesses make common missteps that I will share with you today so that you don't have to make those same mistakes. If you are actively investing and marketing your business, this is an episode you do not want to miss.

Hi, I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing, where we believe you must remove your revenue roadblocks to accelerate growth, and marketing shouldn't be difficult. Thank you so much for taking the time to tune in.

Can't wait to dig into this because this is a topic that I see people make missteps on all the time, okay? While it might initially seem convenient or efficient to entrust both functions, your strategy, your marketing strategy, and your plan with the implementation and execution of that plan to an outsource marketing agency or an in-house team, frankly, this approach can often lead to complications and conflicts of interest that can undermine the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Let's run through these. I've got 10 different reasons why you need to keep these things separate. When I say separate, what I really mean is you need a marketing leader who's putting the strategy and the plan together, and then you need somebody else, whether that is an in-house person or multiple in-house people, or outsourcing it to an agency or a freelancer or a combination of all of those, the person that is leading your marketing efforts should be different than the people that are actually doing the execution.


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10 Reasons Why Marketing Strategy And Implementation Need To Be Separate

Here's the first reason why. There is a compromise of objectivity. In the case of a marketing agency, if I'm putting your plan together and then I am also making money off of the tactics that I am recommending, is that really a very objective opinion? How do you know as the owner that they are putting into your plan what you actually need and not what's best for them, what they make the most money off of. It's a huge conflict of interest, in my opinion, that so many people overlook. And if you're entrusting an in-house person, a marketing coordinator, or a Marketing Manager to put the plan together, look, marketing is too broad. A single person is not going to know it all. And if they're going to be the ones doing the implementation, they're going to be more apt to put things in the plan that they're more comfortable with. If I'm more comfortable with email marketing, but I'm horrible at SEO, I'm bound to put more things weighted towards email marketing than I am SEO because that's just not a skill set that I have. Really important that the person putting the plan together is actually putting marketing channels and tactics in there that make the most sense for you based on where you are and where you want to get to. The only way that can happen is if that person isn't tied to the actual tactics themselves.

Here's the second reason why, limited range of tactics. I just touched on this. In the case of an in-house person, they're not going to know how to do everything. Unless you're going to outsource things to other providers, other freelancers, or other people to do the work, they're going to put in the plan what they feel most comfortable with. Same thing with most marketing agencies. They're not going to be proficient at every tactic and marketing channel. Unless you're working with a huge agency, which most small businesses just do not have the budget to work with a large agency that has enough people to have a very broad skill set. It's just marketing is too broad at this point. If you're expecting that one entity or one person to put together the plan and implement it, they're going to have a limited range of tactics that they can use at their disposal, which means you're going to have a limited range of tactics that are actually going to go in your plan, and that may not be what's going to serve you best.

Here's third reason why we need to keep these things separate, absence of checks and balances. If you're just delegating this to a single Marketing Manager or outsourcing everything to an agency, as the owner, unless marketing is your thing, unless you are highly skilled in it and you understand it well, it is very, very difficult to manage those people and keep them accountable. And what ends up happening a lot of time is it's just difficult to know how to hold them accountable. And there's just a lack of checks and balances to make sure that things are getting done and the right things are getting done.

Now, number four, strategy overwhelmed by implementation. What do I mean by that? This is more specific to agencies, but it can still be relevant for positions like marketing coordinators and managers where they just tend to be very execution-driven, which is not a bad thing. If the people that are doing the execution and the implementation are very execution-driven, well, that's a great thing. But the push to deliver measurable outcomes can sometimes cause them to prioritize the actual implementation over the overarching strategy, which is not a good thing. But if strategy is separate from the actual implementation, you have somebody else overseeing strategy, keeping everyone on the same page, they're always going to keep strategy that North Star that should be guiding all of your marketing efforts on track. Really, really important.

Now, number five is flexibility and adaptability. Having a separate strategist can offer an adaptable approach to strategy that isn't tied to any specific execution or implementation method. If you're working with an agency and they're implementing all these things, and they're overseeing the plan, again, they're going to be limited. If their expertise is in a very narrow range of marketing tactics, they just don't have the ability to adapt as much. Again, when they're making money off of the tactics, are they really going to recommend a change if it's not going to serve them well? If they're going to lose part of the job that they're doing? In most cases, no. So having a separate person leading your marketing efforts, overseeing the strategy and the planning, gives you just a lot more adaptability and flexibility so that as you implement and you need to make course corrections and adjustments, the person that's making those decisions, again, is not tied to the actual tactics. They're objective about what tactics are working, what aren't, because they're not tied to any one tactic. They just want to put in the plan what's going to work best for you.

Number six, independent performance assessment. Independent strategists can objectively assess the performance of the implementation team or agency. If the agency is overseeing the strategy and the plan and the implementation, are they really going to hold themselves that accountable? And if you as the owner are not super comfortable with marketing, it's going to be really difficult to be able to hold them accountable because you're just not going to understand the marketing side of it enough. There's nothing wrong with that. There's a lot of owners that are in that position. If marketing is not your thing, not your thing. But if it's not your thing, if you don't have somebody else that is overseeing the strategy and the planning of your marketing efforts, leading those efforts, it is going to be really hard to hold those people accountable. It's just not going to work, right? They're not going to hold themselves accountable.

So leads into point number seven, which is greater accountability. When the same team is in charge of strategy and execution, it can sometimes be easy for them to alter the strategy to fit the results rather than objectively assessing whether the original strategy was effectively executed. So important. I hope this is starting to sink in. Greater accountability and independent performance assessment are really tied closely together. It's just really difficult if you have one person or one entity doing all of that. It's just not going to happen well.

Number eight, risk management. If the team or agency in charge of strategy isn't delivering, or if the team in charge of execution is underperforming, you as the business owner can replace one without disrupting the other. Rather than having all your eggs in one basket, they're separate, and you can make changes to either one if need be, without just everything coming off the rails for a period of time. I do think there is a bit of risk management involved in this as well. Is it significant? This is probably not the most significant reason why I would separate them, but it does give you some ability to mitigate some of the risks that you have rather than having all your eggs in one basket.

Number nine, focused expertise. Marketing strategy and implementation require completely different skills. Marketing strategy, man, it's not rocket science. It is simple, but God, it takes so long to be good at it. It takes a lot of experience to be good at it. Now, marketing channels have increased significantly than they did 15, 20 years ago. The fundamentals behind marketing haven't changed, but the channels and the tactics within those channels have changed and they continue to change and evolve. You just can't be great at all of them. Unicorns do not exist. You are far better off finding the people that are great at exactly what you need and bringing those people in. Bring in a team of all stars rather than just hire a specific team that may have people that are great at one thing but not so great at another. Separating these things gives you the ability to bring in focused expertise, bring in all stars at what they are specifically doing. They're great at what they do, and they know what they're great at. You're going to get a far better team when you take this approach. Far stronger team.

Number 10, cost efficiency. This is not always going to be the case, but sometimes separating strategy and implementation can be more cost effective. Certain tasks can be outsourced to specialists who might offer more competitive rates than a full-service agency. If you go to a full-service agency, you're generally paying higher rates. That doesn't mean it's a bad thing, but you're paying higher rates to have it done under one roof. If these things are separated and you've got a leader that's overseeing all these things, they have the ability to bring in multiple people and oversee multiple people.


I hope this has been helpful, and I hope this point has hit home because I see people making this mistake every single week. More often than not, it's hiring an agency, expecting the agency to do everything. Create the marketing strategy, put the plan together, and do the implementation work. I also see it on the in-house side where owners hire marketing managers specifically, and they expect the Marketing Manager to do everything, and there's just too much on their plate. There's expectations to do things far beyond their expertise and their capability. I don't want you to make this mistake. I want you to get where you want to go faster. The only way you're going to do that is if you can avoid some of these common missteps that people make.

I hope you found this helpful, but by keeping marketing strategy and implementation separate, businesses can ensure a more objective, adaptable, and effective approach to their marketing efforts, leveraging the strengths of each to drive success. The ideal approach is to separate strategy, planning, and leadership of your marketing from its execution. How can you do this? You can hire an independent or fractional chief marketing officer. If you're at a place where you're ready to hire an executive level marketing person, then you can just hire a chief marketing officer. But most businesses are not at that place. They're far better off hiring a fractional or part-time CMO or a marketing consultant who can develop effective strategy and plan customized to your business while also overseeing its implementation. That consultant or fractional CMO can oversee your in-house people if you have them. They can hire outsourced providers to do the implementation work and keep everybody on the same page. But in my opinion, that is the best way to do it and is the most effective way to do it if you want to avoid some of the common missteps. You need somebody that's looking out for your interests. Again, if marketing is not your thing, it's really difficult to hire in-house people and agencies and know how to hold them accountable. So hiring a consultant or a fractional CMO that can look out for your interests, sit on your side of the table can be a very, very effective way to make sure you're maximizing your return on investment and you don't make common missteps with your marketing investment.

So hope you found this helpful. If you'd like to connect, you want some outside eyes on this, you can always do that over at rialtomarketing.com. It's R-I-A-L-T-O marketing. Com. You can book a free Discovery call right on the site. The other thing that I have for you is over at Revenueroadblockscorecard.com. We help clients remove nine common revenue roadblocks that are in people's way that are slowing down their growth. If you want to know which of the nine is slowing down your growth, you can do that at Revenueroadblockscorecard.com. It takes less than five minutes. Go over there, check it out. It's totally free. Thank you for taking the time. I appreciate it. Until next time, take care.

About the author, Tim Fitzpatrick

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