Branded pens and Christmas parties
Somebody said to me last week: “Marketing doesn’t do anything other than organise the Christmas party, and order the branded pens!”
Whilst I know he was only joking with me, it has lead me to think about my profession.
Just why do so many business owners recoil in horror from marketing?
Why has marketing earned such a bad reputation?
In the corporate world, there is often much antagonism between the sales and marketing functions. The sales team get frustrated because marketing won’t give them what they want to sell, and seem to have a big budget for the “soft, fluffy stuff”.
Marketing find the sales team’s desire to sell whatever the customer wants, without worrying about the aftermath, galling – ruining the customer relationship before it gets off the ground.
That sounds very harsh, and perhaps it is, but it is true in many organisations.
And in smaller businesses, there are often the same frustrations.
Much of this is around a lack of understanding of everyone’s role, and the need to work together towards a common goal.
I believe, no matter what position the business is in, that goal needs to be the same one – developing and maintaining great customer relationships.
Nurturing good customer relationships has enormous benefits:
- Your customers remain loyal
- They want to do more business with you
- They are happy to recommend you
- They are understanding when things go wrong
- They want to grow with you – and help you
It is the role of the marketing team to grow the customer relationship
Everything they do is about helping to cement that bond, making it easy for not only the sales, but every other function of the business, to work with the customer.
The trouble is, that’s often easier said than done.
There are no guarantees with marketing. It’s not an exact science. You can never be 100% certain about the outcomes of any activity – but then again, that’s probably true of most things in life.
For marketing to work effectively a number of things need to happen:
- A number of activities need to be done over a sustained period, not just one task as a tick in the box – you’ve got a new website so that’s it now, is not the right thought process
- Recognition there is no such thing as an overnight success – it takes time. Marketers need to stop making promises they can’t deliver, as they aren’t helping themselves or the business.
- Test and measure – every activity needs to be tested, measured and refined to achieve the best outcome
- Rinse and repeat – once you have achieved a good result, you need to do it again and again – but without losing sight of trying new activities too
- Communication. This is the biggie. If sales people fed back to the marketing team what the customers were saying it would make the marketing team’s life so much easier. Equally, if marketing shared their plans it would help the rest of the company to get on board.
Time and time again, I hear business owners talk about bad marketing experiences. They’ve been sucked in by empty promises, backed up by little or no delivery.
Ultimately, I’m afraid it is up to the marketing team to prove themselves. They need to deliver on their promises.
No doubt, I will be talking more about this in the future!