Generational Marketing Talent – The 12 Tool Player

Does a generational marketing talent exist? Many companies have had to cut marketing staff and are asking those remaining to do more. Small and mid-size companies are getting down to skeleton crews. This begs the question: “If I could only keep one person, what skills do they need?”

Baseball describes the ideal player as having five tools: speed, power, hitting for average, fielding and arm strength. If a player possesses those five tools at the major league level they are guaranteed to be a star. For example, Mike Trout is the latest major league five tool player and he is an All-Star, three-time American League MVP, and a seven-time winner of the Silver Slugger Award.

The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) has given mid-size and small business a short reprieve, but the economic burden of the pandemic won’t go away tomorrow. All businesses are now rationalizing their cost base going forward.

The biggest marketing cost in most mid-size and small businesses is people. When costs needed to be reduced people get looked at really closely. Most good marketing teams have two key people at the top:

Marketing Leader – A person who operates at an executive level and collaborates with the CEO and head of sales on go-to-market strategy. This person creates and drives the marketing vision and strategy, manages all of the people and work and ideally contributes thought leadership.

Creative Director –   This person takes the vision and strategy and brings it to life visually and also makes sure the branding is kept consistent across all work.

Generational Marketing Talent Tools

To really have a marketing department that contributes at a high-level these two people are required. It is extremely rare to find one person that can do both roles, but this is where our marketing unicorn description begins. At a management level our generational marketing talent needs the following:

  1. Strategy & Visionary
  2. Domain Expertise
  3. Collaborative (executive level)
  4. Strong oral, written and graphics skills
  5. Ability to manage work and people

Even with all these skills leadership typically still needs:

  1. Web and SEO
  2. Social Marketing
  3. Research
  4. Marketing Automation
  5. Media Relations
  6. Advertising
  7. Event Management

What do these talents cost?

At a minimum, most companies would need someone who could do all of the above. Does a generational marketing talent exist? If they do, they are really rare.

As mid-size and small businesses look at reducing the size of marketing, they need to keep these twelve tools in mind. If you reduce staff and eliminate some of these skills it will cripple marketing’s ability to execute.  Yes, you can outsource but you’ll need the remaining people to manage the marketing freelancers. This assumes you keep the leadership and cut the lower level workers. Does the math really work on this?

When you look to make a meaningful reduction in cost you have to look at the math. Here’s how it typically shakes out (conservative estimate):

Vice President of Marketing $150,000
Creative Director $100,000
Web/SEO $50,000
Social Marketing $50,000
Research $40,000
Media Relations $50,000
Advertising $50,000
Event Management $50,000

Almost half the cost of the department is in management. Could you cut one of these two people? Finding one person who can manage both is almost impossible, so the answer is likely no.

To outsource the lower level functions and reduce cost you have to assume someone outside can do it more efficiently than you did it inside. Outside freelancers usually cost 150% of internal resources, so cutting and outsourcing rarely make sense if the person is fully utilized.

To make a meaningful cut you’ll need to stop doing something that eliminates both a person and an operating cost. This brings us to Advertising, Events and Media Relations. All three of these have external cost beyond the body managing the activity.  Can you stop doing one or more and sustain your revenue?

Most people zoom in on Media Relations when this gets put on the table. The problem is that it has the lowest external cost. Company’s also need to manage their reputation in the media and also produce enough news to show signs of life. Outsourcing a minimal effort in this area frequently doesn’t cross the 150% threshold required to achieve a savings.

This brings us back to Advertising and Events: can you stop doing them? Is there any alternative?

We started Sizyl with this in mind. We’re a generational marketing talent delivered as a service. We can handle all of the functions and let you deal with the entire department as a variable cost. For example, if you’re spending a half million and want to reduce 30% we can still produce across the broad spectrum of marketing and reduce the cost. This is because the cost is shared across multiple customers, so you’re not paying for the people, just the service.

This new delivery model is your generational marketing talent. Sizyl is a 12 tool player that can execute to your budget.

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