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Big Team or Small, Marketers Share Some Universal Truths

In my time with the Pardot marketing department, I’ve witnessed many different stages of growth. I started as the first and only marketer at the organization. Two acquisitions later, I get to work with an enviably large team of wonderfully smart marketers — and an even larger contingency of shared services and trusted colleagues that I collaborate with on a regular basis. When people hear that I’ve been with Pardot for more than eight years (an eternity in tech time!), they always remark “wow, it must be really different today, huh?”

Well, yes… and no. Some days I look around and marvel at what a well oiled machine we’ve built. Others I feel just as in the weeds as I always did, pivoting on a dime to meet constantly changing priorities, and juggling more than I think I can handle.

Coming off an amazing week at Salesforce Connections 2016, where I got to spend three days talking with marketers of all shapes and size about their goals, dreams, and struggles, I realized that there are just certain universal challenges that we all face — no matter if you are a team of one or a team of one hundred. Here are some of the common themes I heard — and relate to myself. See if you agree!

Technology rich, strategy poor.

There’s a wealth of marketing technology available, and we’re all about it. Marketers have budget, and they are ready to dive in. However, we get so excited about our new toy that we don’t always pair our shiny technology purchases with a thoughtful strategy. Nine(ish) months in many people are wishing they had spent more time thinking through their implementations and ongoing strategy. Luckily, it’s never too late to go back and put a little polish on your plans. In fact, it’s a must, because nine months is a lifetime in marketing years! Plus, you’ve now collected a whole bunch of new data about how your campaigns are performing and how your customers are responding. So don’t stress, block off some time on your calendar and get to planning. Current Pardot clients can join our ongoing Office Hours to talk techniques — just slide out the Help Drawer in our app to find upcoming sessions!

Content, content, content.

Content was a hot topic at Connections. I talked to a number of marketers at our booth about how our team approaches content, and our session on content marketing was one of the most highly attended breakouts (view the slides via the Success Community – login required). Marketers in all types of companies and at all levels of sophistication are trying to figure out how to make content work for them. The top challenge? Scalability. Marketers are a creative bunch, with lots of ideas — but also lots of priorities. Many of us are still struggling to produce enough quality content to fuel our big campaign dreams. One of the tips picked up in our session? Don’t be afraid to curate other’s content (with credit, of course!).

And that leads me to our last truth…

There’s never enough time in the day.

Well, I don’t think this one is exclusive to marketers, but one of the things that’s always amazed me is that regardless of your available resources, things never slow down. I know that I am busier today than I was when I was a team of one. There’s always a new channel to try, a new blog post to write, and a new A/B test to run. An echo of challenges above, if we just had more hours in the day, maybe we could plan smarter strategies or write more content. Determining priorities is hard, and they seem to change every hour. Time sensitive demands like live events and the end of quarter scramble keep us from working on long-term initiatives (big rocks, as I call them), that we know will yield huge results. I feel ya, and I don’t have an answer for this one. Just know that we’re all right there with you, fellow marketer. And we’re all figuring it out as we go.

Luckily, through teamwork, technology, creativity, and tried-and-true prioritization (or our best effort, at least!), we are able to face down these challenges and chip away at our big marketing goals. Set aside time to refresh and renew your tech tools and strategy, even if it’s just once a quarter. Reach out to partners, other departments, and industry experts to help you create more content. You’ll be better off for it, because you’ll expose your audience to new points of view. Finally, remember that tomorrow is another day — and they’ll always be more work to do — so give yourself a break sometimes. Step back, survey your hard work, and enjoy all that you’ve contributed to your organization’s success. Recognize and reward your team members who helped you get there. Now, dream on, marketing dreamers! New challenges are on the horizon.