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The First 100 Days: What Every New Marketing Leader Needs to Know

The first 100 days of a new marketing leadership position can be both exciting and stressful. Whether you are new to your organization or the role, you’ll be tempted to come in and start making changes on Day 1. After all, you’re an experienced marketer and that’s why you’ve been put in this position, right? It is true that your experience and enthusiasm have helped you get the job, but now is the time to listen before you act.

Before You Start: Be Prepared

Particularly if you are new to the organization and position, make sure you have done enough preparation to hit the ground running. Chances are, you learned a lot about your new firm during the interview process, but now is the time to dig deeper. Before you start making big decisions or dispensing advice, do your research on the industry, your customers and your competitors — and anything else you can learn about the business. You want to make a good impression on your first day, and you will feel much more confident with a little research in your back pocket.

If this is a new role but you’ve been with the organization for a while, you should already have a sense for the business. But you should still do a little outside research to refresh your perspective. Sometimes when we’ve been with an organization for a while, our view becomes clouded. We think we know who our competitors are and what’s happening in the market, but it doesn’t hurt to take another look. And taking on a new role is a great opportunity to do just that. More often than not, you’ll find that things have changed.

Days 1-30: Listen & Assess

The first 30 days is more a time to listen than a time to talk. Resist the urge to walk in on day 1 or even week 1 and declare a major change. You and the organization need time to get acquainted.

Meet with as many people as you can

Start with your team, including your external vendors/partners. Learn as much as you can about what’s working, what isn’t, and why. At the same time, meet with key internal stakeholders, including executive and practice leaders, as well as your peers in sales, finance, HR and IT. Gather their perspectives on marketing and keep an open mind. It is easy for people to say, “marketing isn’t working,” but dig in and try to understand at a deeper level what that means to them. You may find some common themes that you can address later on.

Assess the skillsets of your team

As you meet with members of your team, start assessing the skillsets you have in-house. At the same time, consider what skills you may want to add to your team, and which ones you will need to outsource. The tools and techniques of marketing are continually evolving, so it’s important to know your team’s strengths and limitations.

Review the data

Gathering the perspectives of others is important, but it won’t necessarily give you all the intel you need. To broaden your view, dive into any relevant marketing data that you are able to get your hands on. Review your website analytics, marketing automation reports and any other marketing metrics available to you. Look for trends and seek answers to any anomalies or gaps you find. The data may tell you a very different story from your conversations with staff.

Days 31-100: Strategize & Plan

You’ve spent your first 30 days building a foundation. You’ve likely gathered a mountain of information. Now is the time to make sense of it all. You may find questions that have gone unanswered, or you may be struggling to reconcile conflicting perspectives or information. If finding answers to these issues will help develop a more robust marketing plan, now is the time to conduct research to help fill in the gaps. Often, this means hiring an impartial third-party research firm to survey your marketplace and/or your internal team. A plan built on anything but a solid understanding is not going to give you the results you expect.

You should also spend some time reviewing the firm’s existing marketing plan (if there is one) and budget. Depending on where you are in the planning cycle, you may need to see the existing plan through while you begin thinking about modifying it for the future. If the timing is right, and you find that the current plan is not sufficient to accomplish your goals, now is the time to outline the changes you will make. Use this time to build a solid, strategic and executable marketing plan.

Days 100+: Execute

Now is the time for action. Share your plan with your team and key stakeholders. Figure out which pieces of your plan you will execute in-house which you will delegate to outside resources. For the pieces of your plan you will outsource, be sure your marketing partners are willing to work as an extension of your team. And make sure that everyone on your team — inside and outside your firm — knows their roles and responsibilities. Measure, test, and adjust as you go.  You’re now off to the races. Give it everything you’ve got.

Additional Resources:

  • Find out how to turn your firm into a high-visibility, high-growth business. Download our free executive guide, The Visible Firm®, in which we layout a detailed roadmap of this research-based program.
  • Keep pace with the marketplace, generate leads and build your reputation all at once: Marketing Planning Guide.
  • Need to train your marketing team in cutting-edge growth strategies and marketing techniques? Check out Hinge University. These are the same resources Hinge uses to teach our professionals!

How Hinge Can Help

Don’t know where to start? Hinge can help put your firm on the road to greater visibility. Our research, positioning and branding services — as well as our flagship Visible Firm® program — are designed to take your firm to new heights of marketing performance.

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Alexis Whitehouse

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