The size of marketing departments tends to rise and fall in close correlation to general markets. When times are good, they grow. When times get tight, one of the first to get cut is marketing – the very lifeblood of the organization. The best I can explain this phenomenon is that these decision makers do not understand the role and importance of marketing, or perhaps how it works.
I like to explain marketing as the sum total of communications regarding an organization, business, or brand. It is crucial to know that it is impossible to not communicate. Even our silence communicates volumes of information.
Since everything is communication, and communication is marketing; everyone now gets a new entry on their resume as Marketing Associate.
Here are a couple simple examples of how non-marketing departments represent and impact the company.
Leadership: The overall tone and culture is indicated by the actions of top leaders as well as management throughout the organization. No matter what is said formally; people respond and form opinions based on the actions they see. Few others get as much time in the spotlight besides members of C-suite.
Operations: The quality of the product is one of the most distinguishable aspects to customer retention and the ability to create ‘Raving Fan’ experiences. Too many organizations boast high quality while sourcing for lowest cost to produce. The result is a mixed message and unimpressed customers.
Customer Service: This should be one of the most obvious opportunities to invest in quality systems and people as this is where customers – especially ones with questions or concerns about product – look for answers. By outsourcing this volume of requests to someone halfway around the planet who merely follows a flow-chart of information they are allowed to share; organizations are essentially telling customers they don’t care!
Human Resources: The selection of applicants that get hired/fired/promoted broadcasts almost as much about the company as the rate of pay and overall work environment. The processes used throughout talent attraction also indicates the culture and priorities of the organization.
Today, consumers prefer to support brands that treat people fairly – they are even willing to pay a slight premium in product for it.
Marketing happens with every interaction between people inside and outside the organization. Every time the phone rings or door opens (even if it is a courier or delivery), an experience happens and impressions are formed. It is our collective responsibility to make sure these are positive experiences that represent us authentically.
One of the most critical aspects of making this happen in your favor is by having a refined core purpose. Rather than stringing together a bunch of idealistic well-intended words; organizations need a solid foundation in order to focus their energies towards achieving.