Your admin assistant (or other non-marketing trained employee) is not your marketing director

Published: January 27, 2014

Ok, I can’t take it anymore.

Marketing is not just some fluffy, easy, "I can pick this up in a week or two" skill. It’s not an afterthought. It is the lifeblood of your business.

Marketing is the area of your business that is responsible for lead generation. Do you know how you make more money? You make sales. Do you know how you make sales? You generate leads. Do you know how you generate leads? Marketing.

Despite this fact, a disturbingly high number of businesses assign marketing to someone on staff as an afterthought. It’s often the (already overworked) admin assistant. Because marketing is easy, right?

Often it’s another employee who already has a full-time job doing something not related to marketing. But marketing is easy, so he/she should be able to pick it up, right?

Often it’s an intern. The glorious promise of getting an inexpensive (or free!) young person in your company who, simply by nature of being under 30, magically know all about marketing.

I've seen the job of marketing handed to not only admin assistants and interns, but IT consultants, industrial workers, medical staff, receptionists, and the boss's nephew. All of these people were really good at their primary jobs but they were not marketing professionals.

Here is a snapshot of an average week as our team delivers a marketing campaign for one of our clients:

  • Keyword research for SEO
  • Blog post and creative offer concepting
  • Design work to create beautiful ebook, calls to action, and website updates
  • Development work to connect systems together
  • Writing blog posts and ebooks
  • Producing video
  • Creating, sending, and testing email campaigns
  • Interviewing customers to create case studies
  • Managing the website
  • Analyzing metrics to learn from the data and optimize efforts
  • A/B testing
  • Social media publishing (as well as creating images to go with it)
  • Learning the personality and tone of the business
  • Reaching out to influencers to boost visibility
  • Cross-promoting with partners
  • Managing and configuring marketing automation software
  • Analyzing and optimizing sales process
  • Designing and setting up webinars

Each one of these activities takes skill and understanding of the marketing process. And by the way, these things are accomplished by a team, not just one person.

By assigning the task of "marketing" to someone untrained in this area, or with little time to devote to it, you are effectively admitting that you don’t value lead generation.

Now before you get all up in arms and tell me how talented your admin assistant or intern is, I will say that I have sometimes seen it work. Every now and then you do find the extremely talented employee who is not trained in marketing but who just happens to have a knack, passion, personality and motivation to be great at it. However, this is typically the exception rather than the norm. So if you’re the exception, awesome! Stop reading this and go high-five your team member.

However, if you've fallen into the usual trap of treating marketing as an afterthought and expecting someone to simply pick it up in their spare time, you’re wasting resources.

Hire a proper marketing director, or hire an agency. Better yet, do both and let your marketing director work with your agency. Set your business up for success. Commit to generating leads. Set a real marketing budget.

De-valuing marketing can be a dangerous thing for your organization but if you start to treat it with the importance it deserves, you may be pleasantly surprised with how far it takes your business.