opinion

Labor resources for marketing

Scott Rabinowitz
Where do you spend your labor dollars related to the overall marketing and business growth of your pay sites? When you look around the industry, you can see different approaches to how best to spend money on business people to grow your business. Note that regardless of the titles: marketing, sales, business development, affiliate relations, traffic management, public relations or otherwise, the goals are generally the same for pay site operators. You are looking to increase visibility, traffic and customer volume for your site(s).

Some companies have entire business side departments with multiple staffers and contractors handling various tasks that will increase their bottom line. Other companies have one person in place to handle everything. Which is better/more efficient? At first glance, it’s not an easy answer since companies with both heavy and light marketing payroll budgets are hitting their goals. Some companies in the industry have high turn over in their marketing departments, which means that more time than necessary may be spent on sourcing talent, rather than training talent and providing the needed resources for marketing professionals to accomplish their tasks and do their jobs well. Other firms will see great returns from matching needed company resources to talented pros that can bring their companies’ business to the next level.

If you are in a decision making role and trying to determine whether to set up a team or hire a full charge person to handle this side of your business, consider a mixed approach to the solution. You may not want six people on payroll to make sure that affiliates and traffic buys are being cared for efficiently, but note that if you focus on the efforts of one person, you will still need to provide a range of resources beyond personal compensation to allow that person to shine for you.

Assume that your marketing pro(s) are going to need a robust affiliate back end that will allow for multiple levels of methods of tracking performance of everything from brand campaigns to keyword specific media buys and everything in between. While you may only have one ‘marketing’ person, this individual will need to be supported by some labor hours from graphic designers, programmers and others on an ongoing basis. This is realistic and you should plan accordingly.

An ideal scenario from my point of view: get yourself someone who can manage the overall business development and marketing process to start with. Make sure that person has access to realistic promotional budgets, programmers and a designer (even if programming and design are outsourced in your company). Allow this manager to create a strategy for overall growth while they grab the ‘low hanging fruit”, i.e. – traffic sources they are already familiar with that will be profitable for your company. Make sure that the manager knows your operational methods, billing processes, traffic counting methods, etc. inside and out.

Once the manager gets good traction, only then should you look at expanding your business development/account management team to include specialized staff (or contractors) that will contribute to the overall growth of your business. Always remember that labor costs need to be factored into your marketing and growth budgets and that these expenses should be treated as investments for the mid to long term, not as short term gambles to make a quick buck.

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