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Signs It Might Be Time to Let Your Marketing Director Go

Nobody wants to let an employee go, especially when it’s someone you might have worked side by side with for months or years to define your vision. But sometimes, parting ways is inevitable. In cases like those, it’s not only best for your business – it can be best for that person, too.

Of course, it’s not your role to say that. Nobody wants to hear they’ve been fired for their own good. But the choice to release someone from employment doesn’t have to be a selfish one. Yes, there’s always a strategy behind it, but it can be the catalyst that helps someone re-assess.

How to Know When It’s Time to Part Ways with Your Marketing Director

As a business leader, it’s crucial to look at all the facts before you decide on terminating employment. Never act on the basis of a single interaction or even a single initiative that doesn’t go as planned. But don’t be surprised if a sober review of the facts tells you something needs to change.

Often, change of great magnitude can’t come without new leadership. Since the marketing director helms the function, that person defines many of your opportunities and challenges. And the worst part is, issues that can undermine your brand might not really be anyone’s fault. It may simply be a mismatch of expectations.

Sometimes, an employee stops trying, and the decision to release them is cut and dried. But the opposite is far more common, especially among high-performing professionals who take pride in their work: They’re doing all they can, “trying their best,” but they only seem to be sinking further and further over time.

At a certain point, cutting someone loose can be the only way to break the cycle.

But that doesn’t mean it’s an easy decision. So, when do you know it’s really time?

Look for these signs that going your separate ways is best for everyone:

1. Marketing Is Under-Budgeted

Marketing can be under-budgeted for a number of reasons. Either there simply aren’t enough funds allocated or what falls under the “marketing” budget isn’t really related to its core mission. In either case, even the best marketing director will find it nearly impossible to move the needle under these circumstances.

One budgeting pitfall is the temptation to cut marketing when times are tough. Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint: When you cut it or redirect the money into “quick win” areas like online advertising, you won’t see the devastating effects until competitors who market aggressively are beating you hands down months later.

2. Marketing Is Understaffed

When a marketing director is hired, that person’s first move is usually to assemble a team. The director provides vision, while others deliver execution. It’s difficult to be a true master of more than one area of marketing, so a company might run out of funds or institutional will to do all the hiring that really needs to be done.

High turnover is one of the major signs marketing is understaffed. If a team member feels overworked, that person’s decision to move on can lead to a domino effect. Filling in the gaps with freelance marketers could plug holes temporarily, but the lack of consistency and reliability will eventually make the problem worse.

3. The Director Is Overwhelmed

Effective marketing is informed by data, but it’s inherently a creative function. Creativity flows best when the environment is conducive to it: Any creator needs to feel properly resourced, equipped with the right amount of autonomy, and supported in doing good work. Constant stress and undue urgency undermine the process.

Unfortunately, when a marketing director is dealing with the other two issues above, “constant stress and urgency” are the end results. Even someone in the lofty position of marketing director will begin to suffer overwhelm. That ultimately leads to becoming disengaged and nonproductive.

Even the World Health Organization recognizes that chronic workplace stress leads to burnout. The effects are real, and they can spread from one person to the next in a team and across functions. Sometimes, stopping the first domino from falling is a tough call you have to make.

Here’s the Best Way to Help Your Brand Recover from a Marketing Director’s Departure

Once you decide it really is time for your marketing director to go, it’s important not to drag things out.

Yes, there are some things you’ll need to do before you make the announcement. Ensure you have access to all passwords for company social media, branded websites, and other digital assets. Have a plan in place to update all passwords and cut off access on your outgoing marketing director’s last day.

Despite how it looks on TV, most outgoing employees have no interest in training a replacement, and that’s even more true of leaders. Don’t expect someone to stick around, documenting their processes or doing other work to safeguard your institutional knowledge – get all the information and insight you can before having The Talk.

Last, but not least: when it’s time to move on from a marketing director, reassess the situation.

We’ve all heard of situations where it’s “wrong person, wrong time.” In cases like those, even the best efforts fall short. It might be possible that your organization will simply achieve more and do better when you decide to outsource your marketing. And the wake of a marketing director’s departure is time to take the plunge.

You can benefit from outsourced marketing even if you choose to maintain an internal marketing function and you’ll still reap savings. An experienced marketing agency you can trust will pick right up from where your last marketing director left off. By analyzing your goals and what went wrong, your agency gets you on track fast.

Business leaders might feel concerned about having less direct control over marketing when working with an agency. While those concerns are valid, they often turn out to be exaggerated. Because a marketing agency centralizes ideation and execution, you end up with a high degree of influence along with clarity on results.

If an agency is truly the best marketing agency in Orlando for you, they’ll start your journey with:

  • A detailed discussion about your business, your goals, and your vision for the future.
  • An analysis of what’s gone right and wrong with the marketing you’ve done thus far.
  • Agreement on the communications process and just how involved you’ll be in marketing.

Far from “losing control,” businesses with a strong marketing agency partnership often find they can still leave their own imprint on their marketing without having to sweat the small stuff. That may mean you can reduce your marketing headcount or stay at your current levels, too.

It’s never fun to let a marketing director go, but the best thing you can do is turn it into an opportunity for a brand new start. Turn the page the right way by contacting us to find out more or get started with New York Ave.

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1 Average median salary in Florida for ‘Marketing Director’, based on research by Glassdoor. 2 Retirement calculated at 3% contribution, based on research by 3 Health premium average calculated by ranges provided from a 2016 Health Benefits survey. 4 Total employee average calculated at first year and includes the following considerations: $4k onboarding and training, $1k software and subscriptions, and $3.75k outsourcing help. Total agency average based on Florida-located, full-service agency.