When it comes to a CMO/Marketing Coach or a Virtual Assistant, you may need both, and sometimes at the same time.
I’m sharing the biggest differences between the two, and the exact questions that you need to be answering for yourself to understand which will work best for you, with where you are in your business right now.
Why You Need a Marketing Coach
The biggest difference can boil down to the fact that a Chief Marketing Officer, Marketing Strategist, or Marketing Coach, helps you set the overall direction for your marketing, including a lot of aspects that are designed to help you be able to scale and grow your business. Virtual Assistants usually handle marketing implementation, such as posting on social media.
Virtual Assistants usually have much less overall experience than you will find with a CMO, marketing strategist, or marketing coach (we’re using those terms interchangeably in this article). For the most part, those job titles by their usual and customary definition would be someone with at least 10 years of marketing experience, and in the case of a CMO you will regularly see 15 or more, plus a college degree in the field, at a minimum for these positions. When a VA gets to the level with that kind of experience, for the most part they are no longer calling themselves a VA.
That’s why we actually provide marketing packages with both – the strategy and vision of a CMO or marketing coach, combined with the lower-priced implementation of a VA. It lets you get a lot more bang for your marketing budget since not only is your marketing done efficiently on your budget, but it’s done strategically as well.
Our marketing packages are a done-for-you approach. For those who want a bit more of a do-it-yourself marketing option, our marketing coaching program is the best option.
Here are some of the biggest questions to ask yourself:
Do you already have set marketing goals and KPIs?
And are they the right ones to take your business to where you want it to go? If not, you need a marketing coach or CMO.
Have you already outlined your target audience?
Are you comfortable with the selected demographics and traits for your target audience? If not, you need the marketing coach.
Do you already have a solid understanding of your branding?
Branding isn’t just the logo and colors to use, but also the overall visual direction, and most importantly the communication. What to say, how to say it, when to say it. If not, you need the CMO level.
Do you know which marketing strategies you should be using?
This goes beyond just selecting the marketing strategy that you saw someone else use. Do you understand the marketing strategies that would be most effective and efficient for your target audience and your goals? If not, you need the marketing strategist level.
Have you developed a comprehensive written marketing plan?
While not all businesses need a full written plan, those applying for any type of funding will, and in that case you need a CMO or Marketing Director level expertise to help.
Do you have all of your data analysis tools set up?
Do you know for sure that you’re using the right ones, and that they are set up properly, so that you can regularly be tracking effectiveness of any marketing campaign? If not, you need the focus and direction of a CMO or strategist.
Are all of your marketing systems integrated?
Are all of your systems already set up to talk to one another as much as possible, with automations tied in and functioning properly, so that your onboarding and follow up is flowing smoothly? If not, you need the the level of a CMO.
Let’s talk about when you’re ready to use a Virtual Assistant instead.
We had mentioned that Virtual Assistants, for the most part, have less experience than someone who can help you focus in on strategy and direction. When using a VA, you need to be the one responsible for the guidance and direction of what strategies to use, where when and how. This is the whole reason that we have packages that contain both – so that we can be the one responsible for the guidance of the VAs for the pieces of your marketing that they’re handling.
The first basic piece you must have in place before hiring a VA:
A solid understanding of your own brand voice.
And we’re not saying that you understand your brand in your own head, but that you can clearly communicate this to another person, and do it so effectively so that they understand it as well.
Often, reaching that level of focused branding requires you to bring in some assistance, like the benefit of having a CMO, marketing coach or strategist to help you reach that level.
Without being able to communicate your own vision and voice for your brand, you won’t be able to successfully hand over even the simplest marketing tasks effectively. You’ll be caught up doing all of the work creating the graphics and the copywriting and simply having someone physically post what you prepare. That’s honestly only going to save you a few minutes a week – which, granted, is better than nothing.
But sometimes the management piece that you need to do in these cases takes just as much time, if not more, than it did when you were doing it yourself.
Where you find the real benefit to yourself, in freeing up invaluable time so that you can focus on those pieces of the business that only you can do, is by handing projects over to a VA in a manner that means you aren’t needing to micromanage.
One of the biggest pushbacks I hear about handing over marketing, and I know that you’ve heard this too, is people that say “but I need to be in charge of the message” and “I need to be in control of my marketing so that I make sure it’s right”.
What this most often means is that the person saying it doesn’t have that solid understanding of their brand and goals and best strategies – all of those questions asked above – to be able to relay it to another person so that the other person understands it well enough to be able to process the work in your brand voice.
If this is you, you’re likely feeling pushback right this second reading that statement. But there’s a solid business reason why you need the right kind of help.
Unless you’re a marketing company, like we are, or I suppose a social media influencer, you don’t make money by the process of handling any piece of marketing that you do. Yes, obviously if you’re setting up advertising and different lead generation strategies, those are designed to make you money. Yet … you don’t make money by YOU doing those activities. You make money by you providing whatever service or product that you are selling.
Now in the case of a product, it can be easy once you have the specifications down, for someone else to assist you in making the widgets so that you can sell them. In the case of a service, you’re possibly the only one who can provide that service, or oversee the provision of the service to make sure that it’s up to your standards. We probably can’t come in and do that for you.
Or you need to be the person, or one of the people, personally closing the sales. That’s a piece you need to do, and having more time means you’re able to do more of this.
Or perhaps you have several people on board making the widgets or providing the service, which is great. You need to be the one providing direction and overseeing quality and customer relations. That’s a piece that needs to be in your hands, until you’ve grown so large that it’s impossible to maintain, and you need to free up your time and focus from other areas (like marketing) so that you can make the biggest impact possible in your business.
Most people make the mistake of starting with a Virtual Assistant, before they’re ready for one by having a solid understanding of all of these pieces that they need to be providing guidance to the VA.
A business owner falls into the trap of thinking, oh a few hours a week of a VA doing these social media and emails and things frees up my time. And this is true.
Yet, if you’re doing all of those tasks and they’re all directed at a wrong goal, you likely aren’t having as much success as you otherwise could.
It’s like that old saying …
If you climb a ladder, only to find when you get to the top that it’s been leaning against the wrong wall all this time, then you’ve wasted a lot of resources of time, money, energy, focus.
And, if you don’t already have a solid understanding of all of those important marketing issues we discussed, you’re probably going to be spending more time managing the activities and results, possibly than you would have spent actually doing it yourself.
Directing your personal resources to the proper place allows you to grow and scale faster. You don’t need to worry about having too much work to handle … it’s going to be easier for you to hire people to handle that work, and them use your skills that you’ve gained to oversee that process.
Ready to take your marketing – and your business – to the next level?
Request a free marketing strategy consultation.
Vicky is the CEO and Chief Creative Strategist of Vicky Wu Marketing. She draws from 30 years of experience at the CMO level, the CEO level, marketing for Fortune 500 companies and multi-million and multi-billion-dollar organizations, PLUS strategies learned helping startups and nonprofits with limited budgets … now focusing on providing SMBs with effective and efficient marketing strategies – giving them access to the same level of expertise as the really big guys with deep pockets, that they may not otherwise be able to access.