Fundamentally, is Marketing strategic?

Is your Marketing strategic?If you want results, yes.

I reconnected with a former Marketing colleague for lunch the other day. We got to talking about perceptions of Marketing with different companies and clients over the years. Common across our experiences, we’ve seen the “Marketing = fluff” companies, the “Marketing = PR” companies, the “Marketing = events” companies, the “Marketing makes things look pretty” companies. Less common for both of us have been the “Marketing is strategic” companies.

But here’s the thing – and I admit to bias having worked in B2B Marketing for the last 20 years – companies that run Marketing as a strategic part of the organization often develop Marketing departments that perform better, attract higher quality talent, and deliver stronger results for the business. But how do you get there? How do you make Marketing strategic, activating its intrinsic value?

The key: be purposeful. Align efforts with the company’s objectives. Don’t succumb to the quantity vs. quality temptation, or the “let’s start running ads because it’s cheap and we can” agenda. Executing scattered emails here, display ads there, growth hacking on Monday, a webinar on Tuesday, a little retargeting on Wednesday, a new pitch deck on Thursday and some account based marketing on Friday is only going to serve up whiplash, for yourself, your team and your prospects.

Before getting to this level of execution, challenge yourself, challenge your colleagues, challenge your leaders to articulate who are we doing this for, and why? Perhaps most importantly from the Marketing perspective: What’s the intended outcome of any engagement? Until you align on these points – at least for purpose of testing for a designated period of time – you will never achieve great success with your Marketing efforts, because you will be battling mixed expectations and more importantly, mixed results.

These questions force an understanding of the motivations of your buyers and the buyer journey – what are they thinking about and responding to at each stage of the journey? How do you help move them forward to the desired outcome, namely the purchase of your solution? By understanding. With better understanding comes better execution, better results. Understanding drives the identification and prioritization of which Marketing components to accelerate, and when. And of course, which metrics to adopt and drive towards.

As you figure these things out, don’t lose sight of the need for transparency: others must see and understand what you’re doing and how it’s adding value. I’ve found that internal newsletters, cross-functional Ask Me Anythings, monthly dashboards – all with a view to letting others see what, how and why – quickly dispel questions about Marketing’s efficacy.

Across Marketing, do it with purpose. Challenge why, what and how. More on all this – especially the metrics – in future posts. I love this stuff.

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