Career Development Tech

How To Survive The Marketing Department of One –

marketing department of one

In the present day, I’m excited to current to you a uncommon visitor submit at Assist Everyone On a regular basis. It’s on a subject that I’ve been requested to put in writing about, time and time once more, by numerous readers.

I’m completely happy to name Bernie Siben, CPSM, a mentor and a good friend. Bernie has been extra instrumental to the success of Assist Everyone On a regular basis than many understand. He served as the first editor of Proposal Improvement Secrets and techniques and peer reviewer for Proposal Administration Mastery.

He’s additionally considered one of our business’s prime proposal consultants. I discover myself referring individuals who want help on proposal pursuits to Bernie very often. He’s additionally writer of the guide, A Horse Of A Totally different Shade: Advertising In The Federal Sector; wrote the “go/no go” chapter for the Advertising Handbook For the Design And Development Skilled; is a prolific commenter and helper of individuals on LinkedIn, and freely shares his recommendation at http://builtenvironment.blogs.com. However most necessary for this text, he spent over a decade as a advertising division of 1.

I’m very happy that Bernie agreed to contribute this publish to assist all of the advertising departments of 1 on the market.

Enter Bernie…

I used to be surprised, laying in a hospital mattress. The physician on obligation had simply requested if I used to be ever advised I had a coronary heart assault.

I used to be solely 48. I by no means had the “ache within the chest radiating into the left arm” that each man is warned about. But, checks recognized three blocked arteries.

The physician recognized some possible causes…considered one of which was stress.

A couple of hours after they moved me out of ICU, after my triple-bypass, the proprietor of my firm walked into my hospital room. On the finish of her go to, she requested me to make her a promise.

The Advertising Division of One

Fairly often, entrepreneurs in our business function a division of 1. I’ve been a one-person advertising division at two companies. One occasion was as the only marketer at a small agency, the opposite was as the only marketer for a department workplace of a giant agency. On this article, I need to:

  1. Clarify how these conditions have been totally different.
  2. Provide help to perceive the plight of the advertising division of 1.
  3. Give these in these conditions recommendation to allow them to keep away from a few of the issues I had.

Department Workplace Of A Giant Agency

The primary occasion was a 60-person department workplace of a 1,000-person agency, offering full-service engineering, surveying, planning and panorama structure. I used to be the advertising coordinator in that workplace. My supervisor, that workplace’s senior principal, discouraged my going for assist to the advertising employees on the agency’s headquarters. So I used to be undoubtedly a one-person division.

My work consisted of creating SOQs and proposals, plus an occasional brochure, commerce present handout, or occasion signage.

This was the much less nerve-racking of the 2 experiences. My supervisor made or confirmed each task, however let me juggle the a number of concurrent commitments (priorities) for myself. He understood the essential and sometimes difficult nature of my work. On one important effort, he instructed that I not work on anything for 30 days till that submittal was accomplished. Due to that targeted effort, our SOQ scored 400 factors larger than some other submittal. The truth is, the shopper cancelled the proposal and interview levels and chosen us solely on our SOQ.

My supervisor stored my workload at a semblance of “affordable” and I labored the hours required. Fortunately, my supervisor was cautious to not overburden me with too many concurrent deadlines, to guard me from burn-out. Each time he introduced a brand new task, we checked out my schedule collectively. Greater than as soon as, he cancelled an effort already begun to find time for a extra probably winner.

My supervisor was conscious that RFPs have been typically left on somebody’s desk till they turned emergencies, so once I requested about looking for billable work, he forbid that. He stated that if I had billable work with onerous deadlines, I won’t be out there for the emergencies he and his senior individuals manufactured so simply. (Sure, he truly stated that!)

When that workplace grew to about 120 individuals, I used to be allowed to rent a second coordinator. I used to be with that agency for six years.

Small Agency

The second occasion was at a small, however rising, A/E/CM/Environmental agency, the place I used to be their first Advertising Supervisor. Proper across the time I joined the agency, the HR supervisor obtained advertising reclassified as “skilled,” so I used to be handled as an equal employees skilled from my first day with the agency.

For the primary month, I collected advertising info and saved it to a separate drive. Info was scattered all through the community, and a few was solely in exhausting copy. I pulled agency introductions and undertaking descriptions out of SOQs and proposals. I took the various duplicates and created hybrid textual content, after which corrected, revised, up to date and expanded these write-ups. Principally, I created the agency’s advertising database.

Luckily, resumes had all been in a single place. I distributed them, and offered particular tips for updates and blanks to fill in. Then I visited with or referred to as every individual, creating relationships to safe the collaboration and cooperation I would wish for the agency’s general advertising efforts.

On this state of affairs, I had extra obligations than I had with the opposite agency. I had some enter on what we pursued—what I labored on—collaborating in brainstorming for strategic points and the occasional Go/No Go choice, in addition to efforts like market analysis, service brochures, our first web site, commerce exhibits, and shows. I even obtained some billable hours: modifying challenge reviews and serving to with supplies for public conferences/hearings, and so forth.

Within the precise proposal efforts, I served as proposal supervisor. Along with writing non-technical textual content, I led proposal groups, together with senior technical people. I made technical writing and graphic design assignments (at first, the CAD people helped with this) and set deadlines. I additionally ran Purple Workforce Critiques and developed and coached short-list shows.

I used to be with that agency for seven years. It was a busy and loopy time, and we grew from 50 to 160 individuals. I had some nice moments, corresponding to when a division head was publicly congratulated on a profitable proposal for a multi-year ID/IQ contract and he stated, “Congratulate Bernie—he wrote most of it.”

Then again, I additionally labored myself into a really delicate coronary heart assault, after which the proprietor—one in every of my primary hospital guests—made me promise that I might not have one other on her account. I didn’t.

What Advertising Departments Of One Can Do

Listed here are the primary take-aways from my very own expertise as a advertising division of 1:

Get Settlement About Your Priorities.

Firmly set up your job description—in writing, if attainable, to delineate your main and secondary obligations, in addition to these issues your boss DOESN’T need you to do.

Set up Tips To Guarantee Selections About Your Priorities Are Made By The Proper Individual.

The settlement about priorities is between you and your supervisor. The rules are so that there’s a solution when another person comes on to you and you need to say, “I can’t do this” or refer them your boss.

Talk Your Schedule With Your Boss

Many individuals assume that their boss is aware of what’s on their schedule. However in fact, the boss helps you set priorities after which his/her focus is elsewhere. In the event you don’t remind your boss what’s in your plate each time he/she brings you a brand new task, he/she won’t understand how overcommitted you’re till that first hospital go to.

Handle Your Stress

You have to have a couple of good stress relievers for through the work day, within the night, on a weekend, and on trip, so that you don’t work your self right into a hospital keep. Stress relieving actions embrace getting outdoors for some recent air or going to the break room for espresso — and leaving your cellphone in your desk. Additionally they embrace any pastime or exercise that requires your full focus so that you cease eager about work. It’s not sufficient to go away your desk in case you carry the work with you.

Correctly Report Your Time

Recording your time over 40 hours does two issues, one for the agency and the second for you. To begin with, if the agency’s bookkeeping system can deal with it, whether or not you receives a commission for the hours or not, it provides the agency a a lot better really feel for the price of proposing, which is a vital a part of an A/E agency’s value of doing enterprise.

Second, in case your system doesn’t permit recording of hours previous 40, understanding what number of such hours you have got labored could possibly be an essential a part of your annual assessment, probably resulting in a greater bonus or a much bigger wage improve.

Take On New Duties Strategically

I used to be very fortunate with each certainly one of my employers. If I might consider one thing to attempt that they felt would profit the agency, I used to be allowed to attempt. If I proved that I might do it nicely, it was added to my job description. That allowed me to create the job I needed one piece at a time.

Nevertheless, you need to understand how these new duties will match into your week. In the event that they take you from 40 hours to an occasional 48 or 50 and you’re prepared, then that’s OK. But when they take you to 50+ each week, you’ll have to trace issues for a couple of months after which negotiate together with your supervisor about what you possibly can shift to administrative employees or when you possibly can think about splitting the job description with a brand new rent.

You don’t need to be placing in 20+ extra time hours, particularly unpaid, each week for months on finish.

Utilizing these methods, you should not have any drawback surviving the advertising division of 1. On the very least, you’ll keep away from a coronary heart assault. 🙂


Bernie Siben, CPSM, is proprietor/principal marketing consultant of The Siben Seek the advice of, LLC, in Austin, TX, offering strategic and advertising providers to A/E/C and environmental companies nationwide. Contact him at 559-901-9596 or [email protected]