January 3, 2017

Who’s playing in your marketing orchestra?

Every few months I watch a chamber ensemble play at Sheffield cathedral. December’s concert had a Viennese theme, with music by Strauss and Schubert.

It’s a beautiful place to listen to music, and completely different to listening from a CD. In a live venue with good acoustics, the strings bring a reverberation which can never be recreated through a stereo.

The members of the ensemble and the instruments they play vary each time, but there is usually between 7 and 12 members. It got me thinking that producing excellent marketing is like organising your own concert.

First, you need to decide what music you’re going to play. What music will your audience respond to? What message are you trying to deliver?

Next, you need to pick your musicians.

For a small audience you could hire a single individual, or virtuoso. Many musicians will turn their hand to multiple instruments, just like many marketers will offer expertise in multiple tools. Still, a single musician can only play one instrument competently at a time.

The next option is to assemble a chamber orchestra. The marketing equivalent of a chamber orchestra has a handful of team members, who work together to deliver a bigger output than could be achieved individually. There will usually be no conductor, although one of the players will lead the group.

Finally, you could choose to assemble a full philharmonic orchestra. The marketing equivalent of the full orchestra is a large team or perhaps 20 people or more, where all skills and competencies are covered. The full orchestra requires a skilful conductor, whose role is to organise everyone and makes sure the desired sound is produced.

Instead, most small businesses seem to be doing one of two things:

1. Trying to hire the full orchestra without paying for a conductor

2. Trying to do everything themselves in a superhero virtuoso act

The answer, for most people, lies somewhere in the middle. Hiring a full orchestra is beyond the budget of most small businesses, so it makes sense to select the most appropriate musicians for the message to want to deliver.

You also need to think about your own role. Are you going to be the conductor at the middle, organising everyone? Or are you a part-time member of a smaller orchestra, who guides the other members?

Remember, when you’re playing in an orchestra it is almost impossible to hear the music that reaches the audience. All you can hear is the noise from your own instrument.

This should be an active role that you choose, not a passive role you fall into. If you’re still making plans for 2017, make this one of your decisions.

Rob Drummond

Rob Drummond runs the Maze Marketing Podcast and Maze Mastery. Rob specialises in content production, ad creation, storytelling and CRM systems. He has two published books, Magnetic Expertise and Simple Story Selling, affordable on Amazon.