The Challenges of an Outsourced Marketing Director

Hi everyone. And welcome to my video series today. I wanted to talk to you a little bit more around the challenges that I face with being an outsource marketing director in a small firm. 

It was based on a question that I was asked in a new client call recently, and they asked, “what challenges do you face?” And my reply was, “oh, that’s an interesting question. I haven’t been asked, that before”. So, I thought I would share some of my thoughts with you today. 

No Business Strategy or Plan

The first challenge that I come across quite regularly, is that my clients that I’m working with don’t necessarily have a business plan or strategy. They’re just doing things. They’re not big enough, to have really sat down and thought about one. They’re doing things a little bit by the seat of their pants. 

That’s a very different approach than I’m used to. I’m very structured. I like clarity. And I like to know what I’m doing.

I want to understand the business plan so I can create a marketing plan that is aligned to that. What that’s really taught me is to be flexible and think on my feet a little bit more. 

Things change quite regularly in smaller firms and you’re going one direction. Next thing, you’re going another direction. And it’s my job to come in and understand what the business goals are, and then give my marketing judgment and approach on how best to align what we are going to do with what they want to do. 

Not Enough Time

The other challenge that I have is my clients rarely have time for me, and I don’t mean that in a bad way, they are running their business. 

They have billable hours, they’ve got other things to focus on and I have to make decisions on their behalf quite regularly. I’m absolutely fine with that. I know what I’m doing, but it is a challenge. 

Sometimes you must realise that this is a decision that you’re making on behalf of someone else. And it’s their business. When you are in a larger firm, those decisions don’t seem so scary, but when it’s smaller and you can really see how a decision will impact the business, you really have to take your time and think about it.

So, although my clients might not necessarily have the time for an hour call every week, sometimes I don’t even talk to them for two months. I am just there and being relied on to get things done. And that can often be a challenge if I need sign off on something really, really serious. This has also taught me to just go with the flow and get things done. 

Sometimes things move slow

The other main challenge is kind of a subset of the above in that sometimes things move slower than I’d like them to. I am very proactive. I like to get things done. I like to write a marketing plan. I like to get straight in with the outsource marketing director retainer.

I want to sort things out. I want to get processes in place. I want to get resources in place. I want to make sure that we have got marketing activity that is running and being aligned. That doesn’t always happen in real life! 

So what that has taught me is to be a bit more patient. That was hard for me. I’m better now. After six years of working for myself, I’m being able to slow the pace down and try to match it with my clients.

I’m just a doer. I think when I was working at Speechly Bircham, my old marketing director said you like to get things done. And I was like, that’s exactly me. 

For me, when things move a little bit more slowly, that is a challenge because I like to progress things as fast as possible and get things done and tick my to-do list off.

So anyway, there’s a couple of things that are the challenges that I’ve come across since I’ve started my business being an outsource marketing director. Not that I can’t overcome them in any way, but you know, these things, they just crop up and you’ve got to be flexible, agile and resilient!

Need help?

If you would like help with your marketing then bringing on a marketing consultant with a fresh pair of eyes can make all the difference. I work with B2B businesses and professional service firms in London, Kent, UK and Europe. Please get in touch or book a free 30-minute consultation.