Marketing is THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect of your business. It drives revenue, reputation, and retention more than anything else.
Disclaimer: I am in the filed of marketing. This is my perspective of 2 decades in the industry and I realize that I cannot fully remove my bias. The purpose of this is to prime your thinking and conversations in more places than I can participate personally.
I am not suggesting that the marketing department gets the lion’s share or even a larger budget, nor am I insinuating that marketing be the only discipline of focus. I simply believe that principles of marketing MUST represent and be represented by every other department, decision, initiative, and thought in the organization. Rather than being an isolated or contained department, threads of marketing should be woven into the fabric of organizations.
Everyone associated should be able to speak concisely about the brand, what it means, and where it is heading. They should be trained, trusted, empowered with tools, and able to support the brand in ways they see fit. Boundaries should be created as ways to keep everyone focused and allow for coaching/improvement opportunities.
So what is Marketing?
My favorite definition is: The sum total of all communications by a business, organization, or entity. EVERYTHING is communication – even silence.
Here are three key advantages to building a culture of marketing.
We can start with a benefit everyone wants to have. Many of the first and easiest customers are people with a direct connection to the brand – they know someone who works there. These customers might not be aware they are interested in what we offer, but develop genuine interest. Gaining customers is good, unless the ones you gain distract from core purpose.
We can only understand our users/customers to the extent we have casual and intimate conversations with them. Interactions with sales, marketing, and customer service people are inherently biased and we often get filtered feedback. Regular employees are great opportunities to serve as listening posts and first responders, helping us obtain critical insights as to the ideal customers we want to attract.
Attracting ideal talent is perhaps more important for growth than customers. This applies to seasonal line-workers to C-level leaders and advisors. People are the culture of the organization.
The dysfunctional relationship between marketing and sales often plays out as… Marketing says sales cant close the leads they generate. Sales says marketing provides terrible leads. The same generally applies with HR, but replace ‘leads’ with ‘candidates’.
Incorporating a culture of marketing into job postings could allow job descriptions to more accurately represent the requirements, environment, and organization. The goal is to attract talent AND passion that will facilitate/support growth.
Whether playing in the start-up arena, stock market, privately-owned, or non-profit; the way organizations are funded has significant impact on the way it will operate and grow. The same principles of marketing that allow us to identify the right talent and customers, also find relevance in attracting the funding we need to grow.
Investors are humans. Thus they are prone to ego, emotion, preferential blindness, and every other challenge humans bring to business. In accepting investment dollars, we must also accept input, recommendations, restrictions, and preferences that may or may not distract us from core principles.
By creating a culture of marketing, we bring a deep sense of consistency to and throughout our organizations. Everyone is on the same page, speaking the same voice, and understanding how our small roles helps us all grow.
Feel free to connect with me if you would like to learn more about how this might work in your organization.