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7 tips for developing marketing capability for your business—and how it enhances your PR

by | Mar 28, 2024 | Marketing, Public Relations

Marketing is the route to getting your brand into the public arena and building its presence and reach. But to achieve this your marketing capability needs to be fully developed and up to the task.

Marketing capability, that vital mix of skills, knowledge and know-how, is as crucial to a business as creating a long term PR strategy. But while your PR strategy is important, without capabilities such as great copywriting, digital marketing and market research, your PR strategy has no foundation on which to grow.

We’ll look at how to develop marketing capability to boost your business.

marketing capability

Capability vs. capacity

First of all, let’s clear up one possible point of confusion. Capability and capacity are not the same thing. You might hear talk of developing capability and developing capacity in the same conversations. But it’s important to know the difference.

In terms of business strategies, capacity is about volume. It relates to how much work a business can handle given the current staffing levels, time and other resources. In terms of marketing efforts, capacity describes how much work a marketing team can do.

Capability on the other hand is about what marketing teams have the skills and knowledge to do. The clue is in the word capability: ‘ability.’ That’s not to say that capability is only dependent on human knowledge and skills. A team with access to excellent B2B lead generation tools will for example have more capability than a team without.

In one sense, capacity can be a finite commodity, you can’t always create more time, or afford more resources. Capability on the other hand, is something that you can easily increase. One person after all, can have many strings to their bow, i.e, many skills.

Understanding marketing capability development

Marketing capability development means adopting strategies to positively impact areas such as your content marketing and email marketing. The end result should be future business success, enhanced brand awareness, customer loyalty and ultimately higher profits.

Implementing effective branding strategies is essential in shaping perceptions of your business and fostering strong connections with your target audience.
This could mean training and coaching; upskilling your team, or encouraging the development of leadership skills. But it could also mean optimizing already existing processes and systems, strategic planning, and the development of digital marketing capabilities, including combining social media and content marketing.

Overall, it means aligning your skills and processes to your overall business vision and goals to ensure your business thrives in competitive landscapes and challenging times.

In short, developing marketing capabilities really matters. If you look at the headline and chart below you’ll see that gaps in marketing capability are a real danger to business. 

marketing capability

Image Sourced from McKinsey

How to develop marketing capabilities

Developing marketing capabilities means first having a clear inventory of your current capabilities. Look at everything from human resources, to specific skill sets within your team, to access to tools and technology. A clear picture of your capabilities will give you the best foundation from which to plan development. It will also allow you to measure success against a clearly defined starting point.

Start with the bigger picture

Strong marketing capability means starting with a sound long-term strategy. It’s not possible to get into the fine details of team structure, roles and responsibilities, before seeing the way ahead in terms of marketing.

This means having a thorough and effective general marketing strategy. Without this it won’t be possible to align your plans to boost capability with your big picture marketing goals.

It can be worth leveraging specialist technology to assess your business infrastructure and assets. Utilizing enterprise architecture as strategy can provide vital information about where your business currently is, which will help you make informed decisions about your future trajectory in terms of marketing, and your plans for increasing marketing capability.

Decide what needs to be in-house

To aim for high-level marketing capability, you may need to look beyond your in-house team. To truly increase capability, it could well be that outsourcing some tasks is the way ahead. This one step can often have a dramatic effect on your marketing capability.

Perhaps you want to increase capability in one time-consuming aspect of marketing such as social media monitoring or steps to trigger email marketing

Outsourcing sales email campaigns, for instance, can streamline your processes and free up your team’s valuable time.

Decide which capabilities really need to be under the control of your trusted in-house team, and what can be safely outsourced more cheaply, and to better use your team’s valuable time. 

Ensure that when considering outsourcing, such as for social media management, your outsourced team are equally committed and capable to protect your brand reputation on social media as your in-house staff.

marketing capability

Don’t leave process to chance

Process will likely need an overhaul before you can get to work on structures, skills and staffing. Work out the best process for your team and marketing objectives. For example, you might look at how the relationship between SEO and PR is approached by your marketing team. Can improvements be made? Is your company currently following best practices? 

Additionally, consider integrating logistics management into your processes. Efficient logistics can streamline supply chains, reduce costs, and enhance customer satisfaction, all of which contribute significantly to the overall success of marketing endeavors.

It’s tempting to think that the process will take care of itself if the training, technology and tools are improved. But this is a mistake. How your business approaches marketing tasks is often where real improvements in capability can occur.

marketing capability

Stay customer focused

Customer relationship management, as you will see from the image below, is vital for any business. But it’s particularly important for marketing teams. Make sure that in addressing your marketing capabilities, and reaching for more and better processes, tools and skills, you don’t lose sight of your consumer base.

Keeping customer centric as you develop your marketing capabilities, will guide your actions and changes so that they align with serving your all important consumers. Capabilities which are built around your customers rather than the demands of your internal business operations are likely to be much more effective in achieving your ultimate goal; increased business and profits.

marketing capability

Image Sourced from Hubspot

Choose your team

Perhaps you already have the perfect team, but is it possible you have the right people but in the wrong roles? It’s worth considering as you push forward with improvements to your marketing operations. Could making changes breathe new life into processes and tasks?
Don’t be afraid to make changes and to redistribute human resources to maximize efficiency and results.

The thoroughness of your initial appraisal of your marketing capabilities should include an honest assessment of each team member, their skills, special qualities and talents. This will help you choose the very best team to develop your marketing capabilities.

Invest in training

However qualified, skilled and experienced your marketing team are, as you plough forward with your goals for increased capability, it’s highly likely you will need to invest in training. 

Whether it’s keeping abreast of what is technology risk? Or getting the most out of short-form video content and social media for marketing, your team may need help upskilling. 

This includes not only technical skills but also a deep understanding of ethical marketing practices. In today’s socially conscious market, consumers are increasingly demanding transparency and integrity from brands. Therefore, training your team in ethical marketing principles is essential to ensure your strategies align with ethical standards and resonate positively with your target audience. 

As you can see from the image below, knowing which channels give the most ROI is vital in guiding your team to make the right choices when it comes to marketing campaigns.

marketing capability

Image Source

Training is where you can make sure your business is keeping up with new technology, approaches and tools. Importantly, your competitors will certainly be training their staff, the only way to keep up with them is to do the same. But there’s another aspect to staff training. From the employee’s point of view it demonstrates investment in them as people, and shows that you value them enough to bring them along and make them central to any changes and future plans.

Make sure your training also includes business-wide new systems and software as well as marketing specific technology and skills, such as training in how to use an enterprise application inventory. This type of technology is part of a modern business landscape and enables efficiency, innovation, and customer satisfaction. 

Analyze your results

It’s vital to check back with where you started, how your capabilities measured up when you embarked on developing them. You can then compare this starting point with what you have achieved in the short, medium and eventually long term.

Always look at the strategies that didn’t work so well alongside the successes. This will give you important information about where to go next, and where to further develop your marketing capabilities. 

Get your team on board with the analysis, their input is as valuable as any data you gather. Make sure you thoroughly interrogate what your team feels is working and not working, this is important for team morale. You want your team to come with you, especially if you plan on making further changes, or implementing further training. 

Conclusion

Marketing capability is vital for keeping your business competitive and agile, and future-proofing it against being left behind by your competitors. It’s a process not a one-shot action, and it requires an honest look at your current capabilities before you even start.

There is no one approach that fits all when it comes to developing marketing capabilities. One business might desperately need more training and upskilling, but another might need new technology to increase capability. It’s very much a case of being sure of what you want to achieve and having clear goals, which are measurable and realistic.

Marketing is one part of a whole business, so working to develop capability with that in mind is a wise move. In part, the success of a marketing team and its strategies depends on how well the team understands and aligns with the goals and strategies of the business as an entity. 

If this understanding is in place, developing marketing capability will be in tune with and empowering to the business as a whole.

Cynthia Kristensen
Cynthia is a Product Marketing Manager at Ardoq. She believes that the far-reaching benefits that Enterprise Architecture has on a business tend to be unknown and underestimated. She is on a mission to make those benefits clear.

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