It can be a marketer’s dream. It’s just YOU. You have complete control. No running copy by other departments or gaining consensus with cross-functional teams. You’re wearing all the hats, which can be so much fun!
It can also feel isolating because you don’t have the aforementioned teams to draw on for their experience or perspective, for a brainstorm, or for ways to better one of your many projects.
I am lucky enough to have worked in both environments over my 15 years as a marketing professional. As I reflect on my experience where I was a one-person team at a healthcare tech company, there are a few key takeaways I thought I would share with those who might be on this same journey.
Get used to feeling uneasy
First, get used to feeling uncomfortable. It means you’re learning. I remember being asked to write my first press release while in the midst of a complete web redesign. For some reason, the web redesign felt less overwhelming to me than writing a press release. Ha! Insert any example and I am sure you have experienced that “I’ve never done this before” panic moment.
Don’t focus on what you haven’t done and realize that most of what we are asked to do, is not as hard as we may (over)think it is. You know you can do this; after all, they hired, you!
Make a plan
Second, put a plan in place of what you intend to accomplish. This provides a north star, creates focus, and establishes goals to follow. Mine was a 5-phase strategic marketing plan that had a 3-year timeline. I realized quickly, as the “Jill of all trades”, there was no way I could get everything done so I gave myself time. You may not need nearly as much time depending on where your company’s marketing acumen stands. I was their first-ever hire so I was starting from scratch.
In your plan, be sure to include major categories such as brand identity, lead generation, content strategy, digital marketing & web, communications and collateral, event presence, and tools for automation.
Rely on trusted vendors
Third, your vendors ARE your teammates. As a one-person team, there was nothing more important than hiring an agency and other project-based vendors. These external voices and eyes proved invaluable to me. I would pull on the appropriate lever when I needed that second set of eyes.
Additionally, look inside your company. Just because you are the only marketing professional, it is likely someone on staff can brainstorm with you, write a blog, or be that second set of eyes. I found most of my colleagues were eager and quite interested to help.
Remember why you love marketing
Lastly, have fun! You’re the expert on staff who is dedicated to this discipline. You have a chance to leave a legacy. You also have the opportunity to educate the members of your organization on marketing principles, strategy, and tactics. Don’t underestimate the knowledge you bring to the table, especially if you walked into an environment like mine where the marketing acumen was in the novice stage.
This last takeaway was the most rewarding part of being a one-person team. I still keep in touch with my colleagues from this company and they tell me the common refrain is “channel your inner Lindsay” when a marketing project is being discussed.