“I feel like I’m in a love/hate relationship with my career,” an underappreciated and overworked higher education marketer told me at a conference last week. This sentiment of not feeling valued has bubbled up into many of the conversations I’ve shared with communications professionals. “I feel like our department is seen as an order taker, we just take orders to push out media releases, solicitations, etc,” another marketer grumbled.
Sound familiar? Many marketers who once loved their work, are disheartened by the monotony and their perceived subordinate position among other departments. If this is you or your department, don’t lose heart.
Here’s 5 tips to keep your team from falling out of love with your work
The bottom line:
Your team needs to realize that everything is about the bottom line. Think about how your work is affecting the organization’s bottom line. You must start thinking like a business; better yet a startup. What if you were taken to a remote island with no resources, what would you do, how would your department survive? You must run at a pace to try things and reiterate to get results that tie to your university’s bottom line.
The strategic plan:
Tie everything you do to the university’s overall high-level plan. When planning your work, each team member should know how their work activities accomplish the overall strategy and vision for the university or college. Using rhetoric born out of strategy will put you in the same language category as your leadership and keep the strategic plan top-of-mind.
Get out of tactical:
As marketers, we get mired in the tactics. Being obsessed with the number of Facebook likes, retweets, etc. could bury us if this is our only focus and leave us with nothing but heartburn. If we can’t answer how the 52 likes on a post effects the bottom line, we need to rethink our tactics.
If you are guessing as to what stories should make the newsletter or magazine, stop. If you are guessing, what time is the best time to send email, stop. If you are guessing what messages resonate with what audiences, stop. Start investigating how to personalize the experience of each member of your audience. There are new technologies that can help automate personalization and give you data that will inform your strategy. Stop guessing, use data. If data isn’t the lifeblood of your department, your vital signs will decrease. Showing how your department’s work increases the bottom line through data will quickly enhance your value and open that coveted seat at the strategy table once again.
Become the consultant:
Using data, keeping up with the latest trends, trying and learning quickly as to what works and what doesn’t, transforms you and your department from order taker to expert/consultant for your leadership team. Having a keen awareness of your university or college’s bottom line, strategy, and data will reposition you as the expert, ultimately increasing the value you provide.
Using these strategies will unearth the ROI on your team’s efforts not to mention keep the pulse of your audience which will pump new love and life back into your work.