Winning requires engagement which, on the other hand, requires thorough understanding of where the organization is heading and what kind of expectations this lays on each individual. To get the best return on company’s marketing investment, it is necessary to understand the complex role of this crucial support function.
The main purpose of marketing is to provide the company with sufficient tools and support to reach the overall business objectives. As success is quite often measured and determined by the volume of sales, that is also the area in which marketing’s role becomes perhaps the most evident and essential. While the overall task sounds extremely versatile and even insurmountable at times, the fundamentals are quite simple.
The simpler you manage to keep them, the better results you are likely to achieve.
The basic purpose of marketing is to make your product or service more attractive than the alternatives. Based on numerous variables such as target groups, market situations, competition, consumer behavior, the current level of awareness and what we actually want to achieve at this point, the right combination of messages and activities can be put together.
To keep things simple, we will get back to these in more detail in the upcoming articles. For now, let’s focus on explaining what marketing does in a company.
Imagine your favorite soccer team.
Marketing is the midfield. The engine. Its main purpose is to create opportunities for the strikers (sales) to score goals (close deals). Leaning on reliable and high-quality defense (production), it has all the confidence it needs to be active and put together a show that brings results.
At the same time, it keeps a close eye on the opponent (competition) to make sure our team is the one controlling the game.
Marketing does not invent the game, nor does it rewrite the rules. A good marketing team is able to play the game in a way that gets noticed and makes the difference – under all conditions, against any opponent. The tactics may focus on superb technical skills, ability to understand the game, or simply on demolishing the competition with actions that are on the borderline of foul play. More often than not, winning requires a balanced combination of all the above mentioned.
The goalkeeper (CFO) ensures no unexpected setbacks (expenses) will occur. When the team keeps a clean (balance) sheet, one goal is enough to secure a positive result.
However, marketing loves to play a game that is creative and entertaining. It will rather win 6-5 than 2-0, even though the latter provides a greater margin. While the strikers want to secure the victory as soon as possible they tend to agree, but this approach drives the goalkeeper nuts. That is why good marketers are, among all other skills, equipped with selective hearing.
For the ultimate win, the team has to play together in a synchronized manner, according the playbook designed by the coach (CEO). The midfield of marketing has to consist of talented individuals, each with their own area of expertise. They have to (somewhat) respect both the defense and the strikers so that they are able to provide support that is not only adequate but perfectly fits the given purpose and situation. They have to pay attention to the supporting staff (HR, legal) that is yelling their instructions on the sidelines, no matter how vain they may sound.
They have to understand even they can’t do it on their own. The team is, especially in the corporate league, only as good as its worst player.
But deep down, they know they are the stars that can ultimately make it all happen. They know how to excite the crowd, how to win new fans, how to get that positive result in a way that will be discussed and returned to, time after time.
Even though their brain says that only the outcome matters, their hearts keep reminding that every now and then, there is nothing wrong with showing off your skills a little.
They listen to their hearts. And, after making sure the CFO is not looking, they smile.
That what makes them marketers.
This article kicks off the series of marketing-related columns. New episodes will be published in due course.