Marketing is hard enough if you are a big company with endless resources, but when you are a small team and asked to do the impossible, more with less, where do you begin? Most small teams are not made up of marketing unicorn’s and will look to bring in a partner to help them succeed. Picking the right partner is critical to the short and long term success for your team.
How do you find the right partner, team, or strategy and ensure success from the start? It starts with some very simple and basic techniques. If you know what you want, and know the right questions to ask, you’ll avoid the fly by night marketing guru’s and land on someone who will truly impact your business.
This week on SUMMIT we talk about partnerships for small businesses and small marketing teams. Jill Manty of Manty Web talks about the importance of understanding what you need, who your customer is, and how to leverage a strategic marketing partner to accomplish more. You’re not going to want to miss this episode!
Kyle Hamer: (00:02)
Hello and welcome to the summit, the podcast where we bring you knowledge and insights from industry leaders and professionals. No fluff, no double digit overnight growth schemes. We’re having real conversations and getting really answers from people who do this every day, all day. Today. Our special guest on summit is Jill Manty of Manty Web. How are you today, Jill?
Jill Manty: (00:26)
I’m well, thank you. How are you?
Kyle Hamer: (00:28)
Yeah, well I’m doing awesome. It’s a end of the week. Wrap it up and headed towards a, towards the weekend. Can’t get any better than that, right?
Jill Manty: (00:38)
Yeah, no, that’s true. Especially it seems like this time of year everything is. Um, everybody’s been having long weeks on Tuesday, so, uh, it’s gonna be Friday.
Kyle Hamer: (00:53)
That’s right. It very much is. Well, today we’re going to talk a little bit about a smart partnerships, how small marketing teams can get more by knowing what they do best. And in outsourcing grass, I think it’s just kind of the, the paraphrase there, but really you have a lot of experience with, uh, with small marketing teams in your digital agency. So before we get into all that, tell us just a little bit about yourself, Jill, and then we’ll talk about our topic today.
Jill Manty: (01:20)
Sure. I, um, ah, the owner of Manty web, uh, we’ve been in business 11 years. I have [inaudible] odd pedigree in that this could be a whole show probably in and an unto itself. I have a theater degree and I run a web development, isn’t it? Which doesn’t always seem like a natural and action, but, but it is, so it works for us. It’s kind of helpful because as a business owner, I’m not so tempted to be the person doing all of the work because aye don’t code. So there’s no way for me to do all of the work.
Kyle Hamer: (02:05)
That’s awesome. Now with, with your experience in living years owning Manti web, you have, you’ve seen a trend really kind of explode over the last four or five years where there’s this disparity in talent. When we went, we spent some time talking about it. Tell me a little bit about what you see as the unique challenges that small marketing departments have.
Jill Manty: (02:27)
Well, we’re, we’re entering a time period when it comes to, especially digital marketing and technical marketing where it’s not enough to understand strategy. There’s actual tactics that require technical skill. So that’s [inaudible] that’s difficult for people who went to school sometimes for a communication degree or they went to school and got a marketing degree 20 years ago and it’s or 30 years ago or maybe longer. Um, it’s difficult for them to then transition that to say, running paid search. Okay. So they understand the marketing solid strategy behind that. But the tactics have changed so much and some of are current digital marketing tactics really do require you to go really deep into that tactic instead of being a marketing generalist. So, and that’s probably always been true. Like people who’ve been in marketing a very long time are probably like, yeah, there’s always been a difference between somebody who could ride ad copy and somebody who could write an email [inaudible] which is aye, I’m sure 100% true.
Kyle Hamer: (03:59)
Jill Manty: (03:59)
Right. I feel like we’re coming out of a time when maybe those skills were more applicable to one another. Yeah. Um, and easier to transition from one to another versus we’ve had plenty of really good paid search people working for us who cannot do search engine optimization. Okay. Because [inaudible] can’t do the back end work that’s required. They don’t want to learn code. And so while they might be able to do some of the SEO strategy, they’re not going to implement hers. Mmm. And so we see that same thing in small marketing departments. You get somebody who’s then pulled into the marketing department out of communications. You know, they got hired as a comms person 20 years ago, 15 years ago, when really their job was internal and external communications. And now in the last 10 years, or in some cases even more recently, they’ve been put in charge of the website. Well, I don’t know anything about the website. Mmm. And they don’t have the time or the inclination necessarily to go out and become experts in web development or digital marketing because they still have their original job, which is internal and external communications.
Kyle Hamer: (05:28)
So when you, when you have a department like that or where you have teams that are small and in, you know, you have a tag team of maybe one person is communications, internal, external, the other person is, I don’t know, they’re supposed to be digital marketing. How does it,
Jill Manty: (05:48)
who’s still there, who’s supposed to be making pictures to go in the emails or there might be somebody who’s supposed to be adding to the website. There usually is like a marketing assistant type position that sits is kind of the second chair in those departments. Um, but it’s a usually pretty specific skillset that they were brought in for.
Kyle Hamer: (06:12)
And, and you know, based on what your experience has been, are you seeing that organizations are now asking this marketing leader and and assistant whatever their pedigree is to begin doing and taking on things like ad buying, SEO, website optimization and content strategies, et cetera with it is that they’re asked to do everything?
Jill Manty: (06:34)
Yes. Mmm. Typically these are not companies who are going to talking about industrial companies. So B2B as always, not so maybe [inaudible] the same way about marketing that a consumer based company feels about marketing. Just say that. Um, industrial definitely doesn’t always feel like marketing is that in inbound marketing or you know, we talked about trade shows, people that are accustomed to trade shows, they’re accustomed to sales guys who have their book of business. That’s then the way that business gets done within these industries for a very, very, very long time. And so that’s their comfort level. So as things expand and as they get younger, people either in the C level or they get younger people at the director level or in sales and all of a sudden questions start to get asked about, well, what are we doing with our website to get more leads?
Jill Manty: (07:45)
Okay. And that’s going to 100% fall to whoever’s in charge of the marketing. [inaudible] because it sounds like a marketing question. I mean, it is a marketing question. Hmm. But it’s a different marketing question than was being asked of that person five years ago. Okay. And, but you know, that doesn’t necessarily mean that an organization is like, and here’s three times the budget in order to make that happen. So go hire yourself a department. Usually it means here’s some more budget maybe and figure out how to get all this done. So at that point in time there are, mm. Let’s say four options. There’s probably more I’m going to go with four. One is you hire somebody, so that’s great. If you have enough
Jill Manty: (08:38)
work, two need to hire somebody. Okay. If you have more sporadic work or sometimes you have a lot of work and sometimes you don’t have a lot of work that’s [inaudible] difficult. Dang. Then what do you do with that person when you’re not super busy? You hire, you can bring in a freelancer, so an individual who shows up and helps you when you need extra help and then goes away. Okay. Mmm. The, that’s sometimes it’s the perfect solution. It also kind of depends on how much work you need done because [inaudible] you want to make sure that you have enough work that they stay engaged, but not so much that you cross over into now. They probably should be an employee if you don’t want to hire an employee. Uh, so, and, and you also have the added kind of risk of that person six months from now may not be doing the same thing. Maybe they go get a job. Okay. Uh, you just don’t ever, okay. The investment’s a little less on the freelancer side of things then if somebody has a business [inaudible] Mmm. You can hire a full agency, uh, which may cost you more than you’re willing to spend. Mmm. Yeah. And depending on the agency may or may not be willing to serve in kind of an [inaudible] ad hoc capacity. Okay. Mmm. Or you can hire, Mmm. A company like Ayers. Mmm. We loosely refer to ourselves as an agency depending on who I’m talking to.
Jill Manty: (10:20)
Our whole point is not to come in and do discovery and run your marketing campaign. Our whole point is to come in and do an evaluation of what you’re doing well, where you need help and fill in the holes. Okay. And so, Mmm. I think that each company needs to figure out what’s the best solution for their particular need because it’s not always us or a company like ours. Sometimes it is at full agency. [inaudible] Mmm. If you have somebody who’s like, I really, really, really am a comms person and I have a comms department that I need to be running and I also need a marketing department and I cannot build a marketing department, they may need a full agency because they don’t need holes filled. They need a new vote. [inaudible] Mmm.
Kyle Hamer: (11:16)
So how did, how would, how would you, how would you encourage a marketing leader or marketing team, business owner to kind of assess Mmm, what their, what they’re like, how would, how would they know what they’re looking for? What would be the things that they would need to ask and understand?
Jill Manty: (11:35)
Sure. It’s always going to start with what the strategy is. So, you know, I like mind mapping or just sitting down with, I’m big on bullet pointed list, um, that are very loosely outlined. And so, you know, sit down and say, well, what are we hoping to accomplish this year? What do we think we need to do that? Mmm. Whereas where do all of our properties fit into that? You know, where does email fit into that? Where does our website fit into that? Where does R R whatever other capabilities we have trade shows, whatever fit into that and then start to say, well, what do we need in order to accomplish? What does success look like and what do we need to accomplish that? So obviously for me, usually it’s the question of stuff that touches the website. So first, do we have a website? Hi.
Jill Manty: (12:41)
Enlarge the answer to that for, unless you’re a startup, the answer to that now is yes. [inaudible] okay, well [inaudible] what happens if we need to change something on the website? Do we have a person for that? Maybe yes, maybe no. Mmm. What kind of changes can they make [inaudible] website? Like, what if we really want to make a change to the website? Can they do that? Mmm. And then sitting down and saying, how are we utilizing traffic? You know, are we, do we care? Um, I would like to assume that the answer to that is always yes, we care. But it is not always the answer. So it really is about just sitting down and kind of mapping out what you have, what your capabilities are, what you’re really good at. Sometimes it’s what you’ve been asked to do by farther up the food chain. Um, okay.
Jill Manty: (13:38)
And looking at and just writing down everything that you have to do yourself, everything that you want to do yourself or with people that you already have in the department and then what’s leftover. Um, and then it’s a matter of looking at how, so what’s leftover going to get taken care of. So, okay. If you have a company that, you know that this year you’re buying another company and you’re going to completely rebrand. Yeah. Are you comfortable rebranding everything? Um, are you comfortable rebranding collateral, web collateral names, you know, all those pieces? Or are you like, well I will re, I will be happy to write that press release.
Jill Manty: (14:33)
That’s the only part of this that I’m comfortable with. Then you start mapping out as best you can. I mean at that point in time you really aren’t going to have to at some point in time depend on an expert or a professional who does that to say, this is what you need to know. These are the questions you need to be asking. [inaudible] and so at some point in time, you just need to find somebody that’s willing to sit down with you either as a paid consultant or Mmm. As part of their sales process too. Kind of do some of that inquiry for you. Mmm. I’m a [inaudible] big believer in big fan of audit and paid plans so that you’re not beholden to the person who did the auditor wrote the plan. So you may need to, if you really, really, really don’t know what your holes are, you may need to pay for somebody to come in and do a marketing audit and say, or a digital marketing audit, if it’s specific to digital and say, here’s what you have, here’s what you don’t have, here’s what that means. Mmm. And, and maybe get a little educated on what those pieces are that you don’t have or that you don’t understand or that you think maybe you don’t need.
Kyle Hamer: (15:56)
You know, I think it’s, it’s, it’s interesting you talk about mind map. Mmm. And it sounds to me like there’s maybe a, a bit of polarity here in these small teams where you have certain people with certain skills and as the business changes or the market changes, the demand changes, there’s gotta be some fear that comes with, Oh, I don’t know that. How do you, how do you find the, these teams, um, had the ability to either educate themselves enough to go, yeah, I really don’t want to do that. Or, um, more importantly, can can be honest enough with themselves or self aware enough of where they’re at to know, Hey, I’m not worried about my job. I just need to make sure that this gets done well. And with success, like how do you, how have you seen people work through that [inaudible] and be successful?
Jill Manty: (16:47)
Aye am only really in a great position to say how the people that work with me work here too because the ones who aren’t talking to me, like it usually ends up that it’s a kind of a private one on one conversation after there’s some level of trust established.
So to be able to say, I really don’t understand this thing over here, I have a question. Or I’ve been asked, you know, I have this proposal but I don’t really understand what I’m paying for. Okay. And sometimes they can go to that person and ask, but that’s not always the best way to get a straightforward answer.
Sometimes you get the sales pitch, which does not help you to understand what it is that you’re actually paying for sometimes. So, you know, there are obviously a million digital marketing classes out there. Okay. Hmm.
But it’s really helpful, I think for senior marketers who, whose education [inaudible] predates digital marketing classes, I think they just need to find a resource where they can get some digital marketing foundations information. Mmm. So sometimes you could go to like, uh, American marketing association events that [inaudible] based on those topics and that might help. It might at least help you identify what the holes are.
Like if you go to hear a talk and it’s on, um, data and you think, Hmm, don’t know anything about that, then that’s probably a whole, so now are you willing to go learn more or do you just need to find somebody who can come in and help you with that? And is it even a need for you? Like, do you, you know, are you there yet? Even w I know from your perspective, you’re like, yes, always.
You’re always there. You always need the data. Um, so, and, and I agree, but, uh, that, that’s helpful. Like listening to podcast, you know, just looking at things, um, events that are going on. But most people are, they, they just need to know enough so that they can figure out what they aren’t going to do and how to manage it. I am a F I don’t know that somebody with an MBA in marketing needs to go back and learn how to do SEO or Hmm. Actively managed their website.
Jill Manty: (19:34)
I’m just not convinced that that’s the best use of their time. Um, so at that point they need to be in a position to just go and sit down with somebody who willing to talk through that with them. Um, and finding, you know, there are a lot of marketers out there, digital marketers, regular marketers, any marketers, there are a lot of people who really do want to educated and share and make sure that you’re doing what’s best for your company. Um, I don’t want to pretend that we’re the only company out there doing that because I think a lot of people are trying to provide a good service, um, to their clients. And I am noticing a trend with agencies where there is a lot more education and questioning going on instead of just walking in the door and saying, well, we can just do it all for you. Uh, and I think that’s great though. I think that’s a good sign. Um, I think that’s a good direction for the industry. So that’s, I think they just to find a source that they trust.
Kyle Hamer: (20:49)
Jill Manty: (20:49)
And if they don’t no anyone, then chances are if they’ve been in marketing that long, they know someone that they can ask and say, ask them questions about our website. Who can I talk to?
Kyle Hamer: (21:09)
Well, I, you know, I, I think in many ways, Jill, as I listened to you talk, it reminds me of Mmm. [inaudible] what I would say is probably a very common common experience for late gen X early gen Y when you would buy a computer and it would be brought to the house and then the parents would expect you because you were young and you had computers in school to know exactly what to do with computer. Um, just just cause you’re in marketing or just cause you just graduated with a marketing degree doesn’t mean that you have all of the technical aptitude to manage or even understand the right questions to ask for. Yeah. What’s the difference between programmatic, uh, programmatic advertising by digitally or paid search or, um, you know, what’s the difference between SEO and local SEO or local search? Excuse me. What’s the, you know, you, you start getting into some of the technical nuances. It’s like, well, I know where the power button is on my computer and I have to type on the keyboard, but it doesn’t mean that I know how to get the ransomware off of it.
Jill Manty: (22:12)
Right, right. Exactly. Yeah. And so it is a little bit of a challenge for younger graduates as well. Sometimes they get kind of thrown in the deep end when it comes to this type of thing. I think that what advantage that they have is they’re like right there where they just finished learning a bunch of stuff they didn’t know. So they may be a little less afraid. You know, if somebody says, well, you’re in charge of digital marketing now they’re like, all right, I’m just gonna figure out how I do digital marketing. You know, is there a class I can go to? Um, and so they’re a little, uh, they’re just [inaudible] closer to that learning experience. But to your point, you know, sometimes people are really great. I, I, my personal philosophy in life is that we are all born with unique gifts and talents to serve a specific purpose in our life.
Jill Manty: (23:08)
So if your specific purpose is not coding websites, but you’re great at communicating, then it feels like a waste of time and a waste of energy. Like you’re going to spend so much energy trying to figure out how to fix the website that you could have put into this fantastic communications plan or to writing 47 blog posts or to completely rewriting the website content. And it just feels like it’s okay. A waste to waste that energy if it’s at all within your capacity financially. Um, and from a resource perspective to be able to turn that over to somebody else. So [inaudible] Mmm. In my business I am really, really good at talking to clients and I’m good at understanding what people need and educating them. Yeah. I every once in awhile have to step in and do content entry for websites just cause that’s, you know, like the work needs to get done and people are booked with other things that I can’t do.
Jill Manty: (24:27)
And that’s where I can step in. And for the first 30 minutes is exciting because it’s different. It’s not what I do every day. [inaudible] and the next day, however long it takes [inaudible] misery personified. And not only does it take me longer, but then I’m done for the day because I’ve just spent an hour and a half doing something that I really don’t like and I really don’t want to do. Okay. And for me, if you’ve got a small marketing department, like you need that marketing department doing what they do best to the utmost of their ability. And if you are sucking up all their energy doing things, and I’m not talking about like we all need to be able to learn new skills, but you’re really just asking them to work against who they are, four 20 plus hours a week, then even the [inaudible] 15 to 20 hours of what they’re good at that you’re left with is probably not as good as it could be.
Jill Manty: (25:32)
So to me, that’s why it’s so important for those small marketing teams to get the resources that they need because it’s not just a question of can you do it? You know, it’s really question of should you do it? Um, but even beyond, should you do it [inaudible] it’s not just if you say, well, it’s just going to take me five hours a week. Yeah. Great. What impact is that five hours a week going to have on the rest of your work? Because I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t understand how taxing it is to do something that’s true. Just a poor fit.
Kyle Hamer: (26:13)
It’s like a, it’s like going to the gym after you haven’t gone for a while. I mean, this is the beginning of the year. Lots of people who resolves to getting in shape. They know how incredibly exhausting it is. And they only spent 20 minutes at the, it’s a treadmill. They didn’t even make it over to the weights. Right.
Jill Manty: (26:28)
Well I think it’s even more so than that. I think it’s like if you take a professional baseball player and you say, okay, now you’re going to go to a football combine, that’s a professional athlete. They’re great. They know what they’re doing. You put them out on the baseball field, fantastic. You ask them to go run a 40 maybe not so fantastic. Because that’s not where their strength is. Like they’re not a football player. They’re a baseball player. And that’s right. Different skillset. You know, if you ask a pool, somebody who’s great at pool, they’re great at pool and you’re like great. I mean kind of a, you know, [inaudible] an activity that requires some [inaudible], some eye hand coordination. And it requires, you know, that you’re comfortable with places where there’s a lot of cigarettes. And so if you’re a pool player, obviously you can bowl. Cause, I mean it’s basically the same thing. It’s not at all the same thing.
Kyle Hamer: (27:40)
Oh, it’s about the same.
Jill Manty: (27:42)
That person who goes to bowl, who’s a pool player or vice versa is going to probably be much more tired at the end of a two hour bowling match or pool game. Then the person who that’s what they do all the time.
Kyle Hamer: (27:57)
Sure. So in the last, in the last couple of minutes here, um, we’re, we’re, we’ve got, I’d be really curious to know if there are some key questions or key things that these departments, leaders, owners should look for when, when selecting and finding somebody that’s a good partner. Like, okay, so I’ve determined that I don’t have the skills or this is something that we need to go get. How does, how does, uh, w what are the right things to ask? What’s the right way to think about it in order to, to find somebody that’s a good fit to get the most out of that partnership?
Jill Manty: (28:33)
Sure. I mean, let’s assume for a second that you know what you need. You know, somebody who you’re looking specifically for somebody to help you with lead generation, you know, you need more traffic to your website and you want that traffic to turn into [inaudible], um, people filling out a form or placing a phone call, then it’s a little easier because then you can say, Hey, tell me about the strategy. Tell me about what you do. Tell me about how you approach these problems. Probably if there were okay company that’s, you know, a solid company, they’re not going to walk in the door with those answers. They’re going to have a lot of questions. You need to give them the time to go away and formulate a plan. And if they say that’s a paid plan, then you need to be willing to pay for the paid plan. I’m a big advocate of a plans and audits, so I think that those are good opportunity to, to find out more information without having to commit.
Kyle Hamer: (29:35)
Just give it, give it a little, give a little context as to why you’re a, you’re a fan of the paid plan and or audit.
Jill Manty: (29:43)
So you know, um, we all know
Jill Manty: (29:46)
that you’re either yeah. Customer or you’re the product. Okay? You’re only the customer if you pay for something, okay? Yes, you’re not paying for an audit. That’s just a sales pitch opportunity. You’re going to get what’s needed in order to get money from you, period. So if you actually pay for an audit, then what you should be getting [inaudible] a plan that includes not just what’s wrong with your website or what’s wrong with your SEO or what’s wrong with your paid search, but also a clear plan for fixing that. Um, maybe not every single detail, maybe not, you know, it’s not a class, but it should have information that you could take to another vendor and get a quote on it and get it fixed. Um, ideally would also come with a cost if you’re going to have the same person fix it. But so from just a practical perspective, that’s why I’m a big believer. I’m also a big believer because it’s an opportunity to get to know each other without a lot of risk. So if you are looking at bringing in someone to do, let’s just say paid search and you’re going to pay your ad spend, plus you’re going to pay a management fee that probably starts at let’s say around $500 a month and may go up a lot from there.
Jill Manty: (31:26)
Then. So you’re looking at, Mmm, you’re looking at committing to somewhere around $6,000 plus a year plus ads. Yeah. [inaudible] to me it makes a lot more sense to spend, um, 1500, $2,000 that has [inaudible] definitive end that you can walk away with a product and a plan and decide whether you actually like working with these people versus committing to this much longer engagement with someone that you really don’t know. So the whole dating versus marriage idea of everybody is great on the first date. Um, just because you had a great sales meeting doesn’t mean that’s somebody that really you’re going to love working with. So figuring out a smaller thing that you can engage on first, um, in order to figure out if this is a good match, but don’t just [inaudible] pay for paid search for three months because then you’re right back to squares, you know, square.
Jill Manty: (32:39)
If you decide, Nope, this is not the right company. Um, so try to pick something that has like, that’s a project that has a beginning, middle and end, and that the end has a deliverable associated with it that is valuable to you, regardless of whether the relationship continues on or not. So like from an SEO perspective, you could engage someone to Mmm, speed up your website. If you decide that you don’t like working with him and you don’t trust them or you don’t, it’s just not a good fit. Your website’s still faster so you can move on, not feeling like you’ve wasted money because that’s the number one thing that I hear all marketers and all business owners and everyone who has to deal with marketing hate the idea that they’re going to and money and it’s going to be a waste.
Kyle Hamer: (33:37)
I think that, um, you know, if I were to, to summarize what I’ve heard today, gel and kind of look back over the conversation, you, you almost nailed it on the head there. If do you want to get the most out of your marketing, whether it’s internal, external, or a combination of both. You have really three core elements. One, you’ve got to have the ability to be honest with what you want to do and can do and what you know and what you don’t. [inaudible] you have to be able to identify what the right, uh, what the right things are that you need, right? And, and that can through educating yourself or if you’re talking to partners, but then three to getting the most out of your partnership, you need to make sure that the money you’re spending or investing internal or external is always working for you. So you shouldn’t be investing in or spending money on things that doesn’t help move you towards your end goal. And know being strategic can also be very important in how you pick your partner and pick the, get projects done,
Jill Manty: (34:49)
right? Not really large companies that have,
Kyle Hamer: (34:53)
Jill Manty: (34:53)
Budgets set aside for experimentation. Um, if you know any of those or it to be one of those, I’d be happy to talk to you. But most of us are not in that place. We don’t have 20% of our budget set aside to like, well, if it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. So it really is important that people are being smart, Mmm. Wise, more than smart with their marketing dollars.
Kyle Hamer: (35:23)
Sure. Makes complete sense. So if somebody wants to get ahold of you, uh, and in follow up, Jill, what’s the best way to find you? And if you get a hold of you?
Jill Manty: (35:35)
I’m on LinkedIn. Mmm. Jill Manti. That’s always a good way. Uh, also emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I always do welcome a phone call, but typically it’s best to email me first just to make sure that our schedules match up so that I’m not, I will almost always answer my phone, but sometimes it’s not the most convenient time. And so I want to be able to really pay attention to people. So an email or or reach out through LinkedIn.
Kyle Hamer: (36:05)
Right. And for our listeners, we will have Jill’s information in the description as well as on the the website Hamermarketingroup.com/summit-podcast. I’m Jill, thank you so much for being a guest today and sharing with us the, the insights that it takes to be a successful small business, small marketing department, and getting the most out of your partnerships.
Jill Manty: (36:33)
Absolutely. Thanks for having me.