Those endless debates on the need for a respectable marketing programs budget? They’re far less common. And remember the guy who knew half his advertising was wasted, but didn’t know which half? He’s dead and buried.
Today’s marketers (even those in B2B) can actually close the loop between revenues and marketing expenses. They know if they ultimately pull in $20, $10, or $5 for every dollar in marketing spending. Marketing is as much a sales machine as … sales.
Speaking of which, the ancient battle between sales and marketing is finito. Sales can stop complaining about lead quality and marketing can stop complaining about complaints from sales. Marketing automation allows marketers to follow the behavior of prospects over time, score leads, and route them to sales based on a pre-determined definition of sales-worthiness. It’s faster, easier, and cheaper to get started with marketing automation than you may think.
Marketing remains both art and science. Non-marketing executives are discovering that smart marketers make more decisions than ever based on facts – rather than on speculation, opinions, and biases.
Now let’s discuss what executives outside marketing can and should do to help the marketing team fire on all pistons.
DON’T COMMAND – COLLABORATE. In some cases, the biggest barriers to marketing success are internal rather than external. Organizational and cultural hurdles are one reason many businesses never see breakthrough marketing outcomes. Choose collaboration over command and control. Discourage unhealthy competition between functional teams. Keep everyone focused on doing what's right.
MAKE IT SAFE TO EXPERIMENT. The best marketers are the best testers. Testing is to marketing what R&D is to manufacturing. The value of successful tests tends to far exceed the cost of failures. Joe Sugarman, who sold millions of BluBlocker sunglasses said, “I have failed more times than anybody I have ever known.” Encourage your team to dare to be great.
TAKE MEDIOCRITY OFF THE TABLE. Some executives outside marketing pressure the marketing group to run what’s comfortable. Familiar. And perfectly ordinary. A few are even quite adept at locking out innovation. There’s never a good excuse to run undifferentiated advertising in any media. Marketing is, more than anything, a business of ideas. Big, bold ideas. Don’t stand in the way of innovation. Support it.
THINK ENGAGEMENT. Three words sum up the 20th century marketing model: Sell, sell, sell. (With a veiled sales pitch disguised as education in some cases.) Now, thanks to social media, marketers have an exciting new way to make new friends. Try putting the pitch aside from time to time, and bring together people with a shared interest or passion. Start fascinating conversations. Bring the power of television into the mix with Web video. Do something extraordinary.
PUT ROI AHEAD OF COST MINIMIZATION. Marketing isn’t simply about keeping costs as low as possible. It’s about maximizing lifetime customer value. Building major revenue streams. And optimizing profits. Many marketing skeptics never budget for innovation and find themselves perpetually disappointed in the results. Avoid self-fulfilling prophecies. Budget to do the job right the first time.
DON’T DO IT ALL YOURSELF. Marketing is more complicated than ever. Those who do everything internally generally do few things very well. Monopolies stifle innovation. Outside teams bring diverse experiences to the table that often prove invaluable. Since they serve multiple clients, it’s often easier for external teams to introduce unconventional ideas and raise everyone's level of play. Get the help you need to do great stuff. Bring in outside experts. Give them what they need to succeed – and make you as successful as possible.
And finally, keep it real. Have fun. Marketing is, after all, the rock ‘n’ roll of business.
What say you?