Melissa Romig first started working in digital marketing in 1999, five years after the first display ad showed up on the internet and four years before Google AdSense launched.
We were basically pioneers,” she says. “Nobody knew what was going on.”
Romig spent 16 years with agencies before joining MOO as its Digital Marketing Director for North America. In the last three years, she has built an internal agency to handle the full mix of marketing channels, scaling her team from two to 12 employees.
As the leader of a large marketing team, Romig spends a lot of time helping her employees navigate the company so they can do their best work. In an exclusive interview, she explained how to conquer three common dilemmas facing marketing teams: getting support from other teams, securing budget for new campaigns, and creating new roles to keep up with the ever-changing marketing landscape.
Problem #1: Getting support from other teams
Romig’s team is made up of channel managers responsible for SEO and search, paid social, display, affiliate, email, and awareness marketing.
These channel managers also serve as project managers to get the assets and information they need to hit goals. That might require working with the in-house creative team on a new set of paid ads or working with the business intelligence team on a quarterly report for executives.
“Every day is a bit different, and every day we’re looking at the results from the day before and how we’re trending,” Romig says. “And then we have to react to those things.”
While the digital marketing team can move fast, sometimes that same speed isn’t possible when they have to reach across departments, she says.
“Our biggest challenge is inter-team communication,” says Romig. “Marketing people do not speak the same language as creative folks and those two teams don’t speak the same language as the analysts or as the tech team.”
These communication challenges can lead to roadblocks on important work. To navigate these inter-team conversations, Romig suggests going into discussions with an understanding of the following questions:
- What motivates those teams, and what do they care about?
- What part of your project or problem will they understand?
- How can we get them to understand what we need them to do and why we need them to do it
For more on getting support from other departments and teams, check out our episode with HubSpot’s Sam Mallikujarian.
Problem #2: Getting budget for new campaigns
MOO is a B2B ecommerce company, and its digital marketing team focuses on getting business owners to complete checkouts on the website.
When you’re in the ecommerce or SaaS space, it’s easy to focus all of your paid marketing efforts on the bottom of the funnel. But Romig cautions marketers about the side effects of neglecting awareness advertising.
While branding can be executed through social media, content marketing, and website copy, paid digital marketing should also be a part of the equation, she says.
“Those things are mostly seen by existing customers,” she says. “We have to spend some money to let people know who we are.”
This wasn’t always the case. Not too long ago, Romig and her team had to lobby to secure marketing budget for top of the funnel campaigns.
“A couple years ago, we probably weren’t doing as much awareness as we needed,” she says. “We started seeing declines in year over year business because we just weren’t feeding the funnel anymore.”
Instead of simply asking for additional budget, Romig suggests figuring out attribution, creating a persuasive argument in favor of brand marketing, and educating the company on results.
1. Figure out your attribution
Asking for top of the funnel budget will be a lot easier if you already have attribution data showing how people currently move through your funnel, Romig says. MOO uses an enterprise tool, but she suggests getting a Google Analytics 360 subscription if you’re on a smaller budget.
These measurement tools will help you make a case for what you believe is needed for long-term growth, she says.
“We believe we have to do upper funnel awareness activity. We know it’s not going to be very ROI-positive at the time that we run it,” she says. “But we have the data to start to tell the story that it will trickle down, it’s just a matter of when.”
2. Present your case
Once you’re armed with attribution information, book a meeting with your leadership team to talk about new campaigns outside of your existing portfolio.
For MOO’s brand awareness activities, Romig positioned the conversation around getting more site visits. She says it was simple to make the case that more visitors mean more revenue if the conversion rate stays about the same.
“We did a big presentation to say, we can’t just look at the bottom line with all this activity. We have to keep bringing new people in and introducing new people to the brand,” she says.
The leadership team approved the campaign. Then, the marketing team had to prove that the risk was worth the investment, she said.
“If it doesn’t work we would have to pull the plug. On the marketer’s side, it’s your own risk,” she says. “We are basically investment managers. We spend money to make money.”
3. Educate stakeholders on where you’ll see revenue
Finally, Romig says to educate non-marketers on where you think ROI will be visible and where it finally nets out.
“I think it’s a lot of education on our part to explain to people how long it make take for that activity to turn into revenue, where it might manifest because it’s probably not going to manifest in the places you ran the activity,” she says.
For example, video campaigns are unlikely to directly refer a lot of conversions. However, the brand awareness from them might influence revenue coming in through SEM or SEO.
“We are basically investment managers. We spend money to make money.”
Problem #3: Getting approval to create a new role
As the leader of a 12-person team, Romig is constantly helping her staff set and achieve career goals. In the past three years, she has even helped two people move into roles that had never existed at MOO.
Romig shared some advice for managers looking to create new opportunities on their team and for employees hoping to carve out a new role for themselves.
1. Create a relationship of trust with your team
For Romig, creating new opportunities starts by maintaining a relationship of trust with her team. She starts by hiring people who are smarter than her and fill in her weaknesses.
“Each one of my channel managers knows so much more about that channel than I do,” she says. “They just have to trust and respect that I know more about the overall picture and that I’m their bridge to the other departments and the other teams.”
Romig fosters this trust with monthly one-on-ones dedicated to talking about career goals, with employees setting new goals twice per year. These serve as opportunities for uncovering skills and interests that might be underused in their current role.
2. Monitor changes within the company
Recently, Romig helped an employee move into a new marketing operations role at MOO. The person had previously shared their deep interest in technical marketing and data, she says.
“Martech and marketing ops are growing opportunities and there are different ways you can grow into those,” she says. “It’s not something that a lot of marketers want to do because it’s very tech and data heavy.”
Romig monitored the company’s growth and performance before creating such a specialized role.
“As we got bigger as an organization, we were spending more money, we had much more data coming through,” she says. “There was just this need for this person.”
3. Build a business case for leadership.
After she knew the company was ready for that particular role, Romig worked with the employee to build a case for her management team.
“We built a business case... to go and present to the executives to say we need this role, and we have someone who is perfect for it.”
Their presentation included information on which problems the role would solve, how other companies approach the position, how MOO would approach it, and how MOO would benefit from the specialized team member.
“Most businesses should be open to having these discussions if you present it as a business case, and you really identify for them how this change would help the business,” she says.
Get the details on all of this and a whole lot more…
Listen to our full podcast to hear Romig discuss all of the above plus:
- How managers can measure employee success
- The challenges (and awesome workarounds!) of marketing a luxury ecommerce project
- How to do advanced attribution on a startup budget