Many companies spend massive amounts of treasure on marketing each and every year. Unfortunately, these same companies are not seeing the kind of return on their investment that they would like. Even worse, several of these same companies throw money at marketing without clear to themselves or their team what they want to accomplish. One thing that's uniform across all of these cases is that Marketing is not cheap, and business leaders should rightfully expect results.
Marketing is a broadly multi-faceted beast with numerous rabbit holes that CEO's can throw money at. Certain aspects of marketing are highly technical, others are very sexy, others are more routine, but what of any of this really matters? In this blog we're going to sort out what "marketing that matters" looks like so businesses can purposely align their marketing efforts towards the results they want to achieve.
The number one problem I see across numerous companies is the absence of a clear marketing mandate. CEO's throw money into the marketing machine as if it's some business demigod that demands a sacrifice before revenue can be harvested. Even worse, occasionally CMO's position themselves as the priests to the gods of marketing, and they alone can harness the mystical arts of marketing.
Am I saying that CEO's should defund their marketing department, and put their CMO's out to pasture? Absolutely not! Rather, I propose that the real and robust power of marketing should be focused through the lens of a clear mandate set by the CEO, and this mandate should unequivocally tied to revenue.
Marketing is not a demigod, it is not a magical art; marketing is the means of generating genuine revenue opportunities from a target market. CEO's need to demystify marketing and set a clear mandate for their CMO's to follow to realize marketing that matters.
Like all things this can be easier said than done, and this is especially true for those companies that have a historically flawed take on marketing. However, there are a few simple yet powerful things business leaders can do to set the stage for marketing that matters.
I've already laid out the proverbial red-carpet for this first concept, but it absolutely deserves repeating. CEO's must define a clear marketing mandate that's tied to revenue opportunity generation. It's really nice to have a great blog, uniform email signatures across employees, high pageviews, etc, but unless this generates revenue opportunity then it's all for naught.
How can you expect your marketing team to effectively market your products or services unless they clearly know the domain in which your company occupies? Have you taken the time to describe this to your marketing team? Do they know what problems your prospects deal with? Do they know the measurable impacts these problems have on your prospects? Do the know how these problems impact your prospects emotional state?
It is imperative that your marketing team know everything about the domain you occupy, what challenges your prospects have that your company addresses, and how these challenges impact the practical life and emotional state of your prospects.
There is an opportunity businesses have to "kill two birds with one stone" in this situation. Bring your sales team in to help educate the marketing team on why your company's solutions and/or services matter to your target industry. Your sales team are your boots on the ground team that have conversations with your prospects day in and day out. They are intimately familiar with your prospects challenges, emotional states, aspirations, wants, needs, and goals. Connect your sales team to your marketing team an unleash the transfer of knowledge.
As you do this you can concurrently solve for another issue that plagues most companies; the divide between sales and marketing departments. It's not uncommon that a divide exists between sales and marketing fostered largely by sensations that neither side understands or appreciates the other. This effort will help to tear down these walls and forge greater appreciation, teamwork, and culture.
Many companies are good at speaking to the analytical aspect of what their products/services do for a target industry. Improving all of the measurables such as efficiency, time, cost savings, and so on are great! However, if that's as far as your marketing and sales messaging goes then you're leaving quite a bit on the table in terms of marketing that matters. I'm talking about focusing on human emotion. Having a message that incorporates raw numbers gets you through the door, but it's limited in terms of providing a compelling message. If you can connect with, draw out, and empathetically connect with the emotions of your prospects then you're working with equivalent of marketing TNT. When you connect your solutions to the very real human emotion of your prospects then you're connecting to something far more powerful than the numbers. The numbers help you win your prospects minds, but emotions are gateway to winning your prospects hearts, and it's the heart that serves as the strongest conduit to action that one can ever hope to harness.
Marketing is expensive, but that does not guarantee that the results matter. Too many businesses shamefully waste their marketing investment which subverts the impact they can have on their market. Your customers, your employees, and you deserve better than this. It's time you revaluate your marketing efforts and ask yourself the simple question; do my marketing efforts really matter? If the answer is anything shy of an emphatic "yes" then it's high time you rethink, restructure, and redeploy your marketing efforts so they actually matter. Remember, marketing is no mystical art or demigod that requires an annual capital sacrifice. Focus on the four steps above and create marketing that matters.