The virtual collapse of the traditional print media struck a near death blow to public relations agencies. Even with radio and TV, print was a force driving much of marketing. It was the crutch everyone leaned on to deliver client messages.
Now, it’s all-but-gone, including hundreds of local and regional business pubs. Sure, there are weeklies and some dailies. But ad revenues continue their downhill spiral. With higher costs, cut-to-the-bone staffs, and less space, they’re fighting to stay alive. Some turn to monetizing “news” with “pay-to-play.”
Even worse, hucksters are baiting businesses with the promise of giving them what they want to hear—results! But as a computer consultant said after committing dollars to a Facebook ad campaign, “We got zilch.” He’s not alone. And he doesn’t know what to try next. Frankly, neither does anyone else.
The picture is bleak, leaving companies not knowing which way to turn to market themselves. Yet, a hopeful trend is emerging: more companies are bringing their marketing in house. “At least we can’t do any worse than those we were paying to do it for us,” appears be the message.
Taking marketing in-house makes sense if it’s done correctly. Here's how to make it happen:
• Start with the premise that marketing is a company's responsibility.
• Select a hands-on marketing person to lead the effort, someone who can stand up to a boss who wants to play marketing expert, and vendors with all the right answers.
• Develop fact-based and doable marketing plans with a budget and staff (depending on the size of the company) to support it.
• Choose competent outside assistance that stands behind what they’re selling to help implement tactics.
• Focus on gathering and analyzing data to drive a closer engagement with customers and prospects.
• Let uncertainty, doubt, and questioning drive marketing efforts.
Takeaway: In-house marketing is an opportunity to make everyone in a company and its customers marketing stakeholders. But there are dangers; marketers must be strong, persuasive, and collaborative to succeed.