Asking the Tough Marketing Questions


You work hard in your business… developing products and services, running operations, delivering expectations. Your marketing team is busy putting together campaigns, developing ads, building websites. But should you be expecting more?

In recent years, marketers seem to be doing themselves a disservice. By specializing in one tactic or strategy, many claim to be able to “generate new business with email”, or “drive leads with direct mail”, or more recently “raise awareness with social media”.

Truth is, there are hundreds of tactics that you can use to help catapult your business growth. [Check out the Mullen Marketing Ecosystem that we shared earlier if you want to see just how many.] The role of your marketing team is to put them together into a flexible, functioning SYSTEM that communicates effectively and passionately with your clients and prospects.

In the 2010 Global Marketing Effectiveness Report by The Fournaise Marketing Group, CEOs revealed their expectations of a CMO. I’ve shared my thoughts on the 5 expectations… how does your marketing team stack up?

  1. Marketing: Business DRIVERS
    Rather than simply promoting your existing products and services, an innovative marketing strategy can uncover related business opportunities for your current clients – and also look for new markets. There are dollars hidden in your business, you just need to know where to look.
  2. Marketing: Your Clients’ Advocate
    As a marketer, it’s our role to get as far into the mind of customers as possible. Different from the short term focus of Sales, Marketers look for insights into the unspoken needs of people. Is your marketing team regularly talking to, surveying, meeting with customers? If they can tell you the conversation that is already going on in your clients’ head, they’re on track!
  3. Marketing: More Science than Art
    As creative and fun as marketing looks from the outside, it’s really more about numbers than we’ll ever confess. Response rates, conversion rates, customer lifetime value, cost per acquisition, and top line revenue impact is the language of marketing. Creative aspects like brand, design, and aesthetic are part of marketing, but they are secondary to the business impact.
  4. Marketing: Balancing Short-, Medium- and Long-Term
    It’s always a juggling act, but the marketing team is not only looking at how to support and accelerate the immediate sales funnel. We’re also looking forward. What other things could you provide clients – both upstream and downstream? What other markets could you serve today or tomorrow? How can you improve your customer experience over the whole life cycle to create raving fans?
  5. Marketing: Leading Change Internally
    Now this one seems to be more of a challenge in modern corporations. But your marketing team can align functions behind a common goal (or a common enemy!). How is your marketing team telling the business story – not only to your clients and prospects, but also to your internal team? Does everyone march to the same drum?
Your marketing team is working hard doing the things they are measured on. Are they being measured on the right things? Are your expectations high enough?
I’m asking lots of questions, but I think that’s the role of leaders.
Ask the tough questions and give the marketing tacticians the opportunity to step up to marketing strategy.

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