The world of marketing is under more pressure than ever, with a whole new set of hurdles to overcome. From fickle customers and multiple challenges through to larger budgets, new tech and the ever-looming focus on ROI, it’s safe to say that organisations are facing a huge variety of challenges when it comes to marketing their products and services, and in turn, marketing professionals may begin to feel the strain.

With advertising spend set to increase by 3.2% in the UK this year, according to an AA/Warc Expenditure Report, and the boom of digital marketing showing no sign of slowing down, there seems to be more work than ever for marketing departments to tackle.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that businesses are placing increased importance on the marketing function, particularly with regard to retention. As marketing becomes more complex and vital to your business’s success, how can you ensure you hold on to your top marketers?

Give them new skills

As an industry driven by creativity and innovation, marketing inspires passion among those who work in it. No matter how talented and experienced your marketing people are, there is always something else for them to learn, new technology for them to trial, tools to use and strategies to employ. Managers who don’t come on board and offer such training and development may find themselves left behind.

Indeed, a recent Marketing Week survey found that just 16% of marketers believe their company performs ‘very well’ with regard to access to training. This is in stark contrast to the 89% who say that training is important to them, showing a disconnect between marketers’ clear desire to upskill and their employers’ willingness to facilitate it. This is an issue in industries all over the UK, and it’s clear that business have a long way to go in developing their people – particularly when it comes to those at the beginning of their career. According to Accenture data, 80% of 2016 graduates expect their first employer to provide formal training. Meanwhile, just 54% of 2014 and 2015 graduates experienced such training in their first job.

It’s up to you to ensure your marketing team is stimulated, invested in their work and feel invested in as team members. Formalise training and development programmes, make sure each marketer has a progression plan in place, and make the most of the vast number of different tools, channels, technologies and techniques on the market to help keep your team interested.

Give them responsibility

Marketers’ thirst for learning new things means they also have a thirst to apply this knowledge to take on new responsibility. We know that career progression is imperative for marketers, with 68% of them declaring it ‘very important’, according to Marketing Week, yet just 15% say their employer does ‘very well’ at offering such progression paths. And it’s not just about climbing up the ranks. While job titles and salaries are undoubtedly important to your marketing team, so too is their sense of achievement.

Marketers who are given more responsibility and opportunities to prove their worth may not only be more loyal in the long term, but also prove to be more than capable of developing into senior team members. Just over three-quarters of employees who don’t feel valued look for other job opportunities, according to LifeWorks, while 90% of millennials say they would stay in their job for 10 years if they were promised regular salary rises and upward career progression. This shows that those team members you commit to with regard to training, development and career progression will be much more likely to commit to your organisation.

The level of responsibility you place on your marketers depends on the size of your business, but some examples could be:

  • Appointing someone to be in charge of all your social media channels
  • Asking an entry-level employee to help out with a more senior project
  • Having a mid-level marketer mentor and train a new team member
  • Introducing a new technology and appointing someone or a team as responsible for rolling it out across the department

Make them part of a team

By nature, marketers are creative people. This means that they generally need environmental stimulation and interaction with team members in order to bounce ideas around. This team doesn’t have to be other marketers. This is particularly important to remember if your marketing department is small – make sure you include your marketer/s in wider business meetings, ask them how their projects are going and if they’d like a fresh pair of eyes to have a look at something they’re working on. The creative nature of marketers means they’ll often have new ideas on how things can be approached across the organisation, so ask them what they think about things outside of their day-to-day work. It’s also important that there is a common understanding and cohesion among your team with regard to the products being marketed and the sales teams that sell them.

A huge 86% of employees, executives and educators believe that a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication leads to workplace failures, according to Salesforce, which shows how important it is for ideas to be shared not just among teams, but broader businesses too. Encourage marketers to use workplace communication software such as Slack or Teams to communicate with others in the business, and conduct regular brainstorm sessions among the creative members of your organisation to help make marketers feel more included.

Get help from the experts

When it comes to recruiting the right talent – and holding on to them – external help can be incredibly helpful. At BMS, we can help you recruit and retain marketing superstars to keep your business thriving. Contact us here to start a conversation.