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One Year Reflections: 3 Valuable Lessons For Small Marketing Teams

This month marks my one year anniversary at Brandfolder, and what a great year it’s been. It’s finally feeling like spring here in Colorado, so I’ve decided to celebrate with a few reflections on the last 12 months.

I was initially drawn to Brandfolder by the amazing team, who was building a product that solved a real business problem I had experienced in each of my previous roles. The problem: digital assets live everywhere, which makes them tedious to locate and leads to inconsistent branding. The solution: a single online location where people can quickly find the latest assets, so building a strong brand is a breeze. Problem solved.

As a small (but mighty!) marketing team of three, we’ve made some great strides in the past year. We’ve grown awareness of our product while continuing to increase our monthly lead attainment. We’ve built an inbound marketing strategy with tons of amazing content like our blog, our Product Launch eBook, State of DAM Report, and fabulous customer case studies — just to name a few. I could go on and on about the great work our team (and company) is doing, but instead I wanted to share my top three takeaways from the past year.

Lesson One: Always Be Learning

Startups are hard. I’ve spent a large chunk of my time researching best practices, learning about new technologies, and trying to mimic the successes of others. I’ve worked at other tech companies, but never an early-stage startup. They had large budgets, bigger teams, and established processes.

At Brandfolder, we each wear many hats. Some worn by the marketing team include: Salesforce admin, marketing technologist, demand generation expert, content strategist, writer, brand advocate, creative director, business analyst, and more. The change is constant, but also invigorating. In my time at Brandfolder, I’ve read more blogs about startups, growth, technology, and marketing and sales best practices than I have in the rest of my career. One of my favorites? Saas Business Weekly by Hiten Shah. Do yourself a favor and go subscribe.

Before joining Brandfolder, I had never heard the term Digital Asset Management, or DAM for short. And while DAM has become part of my mainstream vocabulary, it’s still not a phrase I love. However, it represents a real problem. As a marketer, I understand first-hand the issues that accompany digital assets — from knowing what you have available, to locating them, to understanding if they are approved as final, and with who and where they have been shared.

I’ve spent another chunk of my time looking at the best way to solve this problem for marketing and creative teams, and using that knowledge to articulate where Brandfolder fits in. This knowledge gathering process has been fun and rewarding, and I especially love the spot our company is in now — adding amazing customers to our portfolio like Salesforce, PVH (think Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger), and Sphero’s BB8 (of Star Wars fame).

No matter your industry or role, I think constant learning should always be top of mind. It’s important to stay up on the latest trends and most successful companies in your field. And it’s equally important to understand your buyers and their needs. You should know their pain points and be able to clearly explain how your product can help them do their job better.

Lesson Two: Ask For Help

Our team is small. But there’s a lot of really, really smart and talented people that work here. As a company, we try to be transparent and listen to others’ feedback. If we’re struggling to solve an issue or come up with content for a campaign, I’ll ask someone else for help. And yes, some of our greatest ideas have stemmed from outside of marketing.

I’ve also formed an alliance with our dev team, often leveraging the genius of our co-founder, Paul Arterburn, to improve our processes. He’s helped us hack an awesome way to track incoming leads (I’ll be writing a future blog post on this later), reduce the number of fields on our forms, and provide better insight into the overall customer and prospect experience. I can confidently say I know more about our leads than I have at any other company, even those 10X our size.

And while it’s not a new strategy, I’ve been trying to focus more on building a network of like-minded marketers outside of Brandfolder. If you aren’t reaching out to introduce yourself to other players in your space, you’re selling yourself short. In previous roles, I didn’t make time for networking, and now realize that I was only hurting myself. I’ve had great calls with VPs and Directors at other organizations which have created larger opportunities for co-marketing and content partnerships. It’s also given me a chance to learn about what’s working (and what’s not) at their organizations, which has given me yet another new source for best practices we might consider implementing here. Finding a few go-to peers for quarterly calls is just another great way we can all help each other be successful.

In the past year, I’ve learned that brilliant ideas can come from anywhere, and it’s important to get outside of your comfort zone and consult with others. Cross collaboration, both at your organization and with other friendlies, not only fulfills the concept of “always be learning,” but also fuels growth and new ideas to propel your company into next-level success.

Lesson Three: Celebrate Your Successes

I was struggling with how to articulate this point without sounding braggy, but I’m proud of the work we’re doing — so maybe it is time for some (hopefully) humblebragging.

Brandfolder has changed A LOT in the past 12 months. And most of it has been for the better. We’ve continued to bring in revenue and have shown growth every quarter. All of this awesomeness is due to the small team that comes in and grinds everyday. I’m lucky enough to be part of the management team and am still surprised at how our actions have shaped our outcomes. In previous jobs I knew I was contributing, but never really felt the impact of my efforts. It’s amazing to watch the company evolve and know that every single person here has played a part in those changes.

These feelings of accomplishment were confirmed during a call with a Marketing Director from another company earlier this month. He asked me what agencies we use to outsource our work. I told him we do everything in house. He was very impressed. While working in such a fast-paced environment, it’s easy to feel like you’re never moving the needle. There’s always more to do. But after the call wrapped up, I was able to take a step back and reflect on all of the great work we’ve done and continue to do. It was really nice to hear how impressed someone else was with our marketing team.

And, not only is the work we are doing making a difference at Brandfolder, but we’re helping other people with their jobs. Our customer experience team often shares tidbits of feedback like “Brandfolder changed our branding for the best,” or “Brandfolder has made my job much easier.” I love knowing our platform is simplifying someone else’s life, and giving them time back in their day to focus on more important things.

To see, how Brandfolder can help your own organization build a strong brand, get in touch by clicking on the button below.