I’ve seen it over and over again – professional services firms struggling to accomplish marketing tactics and goals – all because no one can make a decision.  When decisions aren’t made do you know what happens?  Absolutely nothing!  Last month, my colleague Brianne Dawson blogged about what you should do if your marketing plan stalls.  Well, this blog post is dedicated to addressing one of the crucial necessities to help move specific tactics of your firm’s marketing plan forward.  The answer?  You need to form a marketing committee!

This sounds easy enough, but if you don’t go about it the proper way, even having a committee won’t do much good in terms of advancing your marketing goals.  How should the committee be structured, you ask?  And who should serve on the committee?  Below are some tips for forming your committee.

Structuring your marketing committee.  There’s no use in forcing someone to serve on the committee who has no interest in marketing activities and initiatives.  Aside from the obvious – having your in-house marketer (if you have one), on the committee, you need to enlist people who understand the true marketing goals of the firm and are willing to be involved in the planning, decisions, and approval process.  They must be dedicated to advancing the goals of the firm, and able to work together to discuss and weigh the pros and cons of various marketing activities, making careful and timely decisions for the good of the business.  Ideally, a four to five person committee is a good size.

With more than five, it’s likely that decisions will be delayed, and thus, activities will by stymied.  Select a mix of seasoned, more senior level professionals who’ve been at the firm longer and some junior level professionals who are interested in marketing and professional development. With this balanced marketing committee team in place, you’ll have well-rounded insights and opinions which lead to better decision-making.

Stick to a schedule.  Sure, everyone’s busy, but if you don’t set marketing committee parameters, like scheduling bi-weekly or monthly meetings, then nothing is going to get accomplished.  The strength of the marketing plan relies on the strength of the marketing committee and if this team falls apart, or skips meetings, then the plan starts to unravel.  My advice is to stick to regularly scheduled meetings.  If something extremely important gets in the way, don’t delay rescheduling the meeting – get it back on the calendar ASAP! If an in-person meeting won’t work then make it a conference call.  Something as important as marketing and business development should not be put on the back burner.

Identify roles and responsibilities.  Think of your committee as the driving force behind the marketing and business development strategy and planning.  While the firm’s short- and long-term goals, marketing priorities and budget decisions should be made as team, each member of the committee should play a distinct role, helping to advance specific initiatives within the overall marketing plan, whether it be market research, media relations, advertising, content creation, promotions, or helping to launch new products or services.  No one person can do all this work, but with the resources of a team, the plan can be set into motion and can progress toward the overall goals.  As the plan evolves, the committee should closely monitor all of the activities, measuring key performance indicators to determine if the plan is indeed working and bringing favorable results, or if it needs to be readjusted and/or restructured.

Set and maintain expectations.  Marketing isn’t something you can fake your way through, and it’s not just one big ‘to do’ list that you can just check off line by line.  (See an earlier blog post about the marketing “check box mentality.”)  Those involved in marketing should be in it for the long haul.  It takes time to achieve results, and sometimes this can be discouraging.  The marketing committee typically reports to senior level firm management, and if they aren’t seeing positive results right away, they are sometimes quick to blame the marketing team.  The committee must set expectations for firm management so they understand that marketing is an investment.  Results aren’t immediate, and oftentimes it takes a solid year of “planting the seeds” and putting the structure in place before the efforts of the marketing plan can start to be seen.  Think small steps, rather than leaps and bounds.  It takes real heart and determination to stay the course and keep the marketing strategy and tactics moving.

I hope I’ve convinced you that it’s necessary to form a marketing committee in order to make strategic marketing and business development decisions, set priorities and goals, track progress and measure results and cost effectiveness.  Don’t delay – get your committee up and running and begin your marketing journey today!

If you need help with structuring your marketing department, forming a committee, and training your young marketing professionals, take a look at Marketri’s Fractional Chief Marketing Officerservice or contact me at [email protected].