Four Marketing Imperatives

It's time to crank up marketing. Not only marketing for customers but for talent. You have to go back almost a decade to find a time when marketing was as badly needed as it is today  Four marketing imperatives, or steps, are listed below.


Separate function

The first step is recognising the need for a distinctly separate marketing function with someone clearly accountable. Though marketing needs to work closely with sales, it must come out from underneath the sales function and stand alone. Marketing requires different metrics, different conversations, and different personalities than sales. And in many cases the head of marketing should report directly to the CEO.


In identifying someone to drive marketing, it is vital to recognise that marketers are different from sales people. One process is relationship-driven, the other is process-driven. Highly quantitative in nature, it is not surprising to see marketing leaders with degrees in physics, engineering, or even accounting. And if you, the CEO, are the best person to drive marketing, then it is imperative you clear your plate of other functions and focus on marketing. Marketing is a full-time job from day one.


Gathering data

You need market intelligence to drive your marketing decisions around price, place, promotion, and product, the classic four Ps of marketing. You cannot make these decisions in a vacuum. The simplest approach is for each executive to call one customer per week and talk to one frontline employee per week. Find out about their priorities and pains; enquire what they are seeing in their own industries and neighbourhoods; and ask them what they are seeing and hearing from your competitors. Only last do you ask for their feedback on your firm. You also need your sales organisation calling in daily and reporting on what they've learned in the field. And the best way to get them to do this is threaten to make them send in weekly written reports. Not surprisingly, one of the first initiatives of Dell's new CMO was launching IdeaStorm, where customers submit ideas and feedback. A parallel process was launched for the employees. In the first six months, over a half million pieces of feedback have been submitted by customers.


Meeting and metrics

The third step is setting up a weekly one-hour marketing meeting, distinct from your weekly sales meeting. Here you will discuss what has been learned from the marketplace, any updated decisions around the 4 Ps, and also set marketing priorities for the coming week. This has been the universal key to driving marketing that the famous high tech marketing adviser Regis McKenna (Apple, Intel, Genetech, etc) has shared with our audience of growth firms over the years. Besides the CEO and head of marketing along with any outsourced marketing resources you're employing, I encourage as many of the other executives to participate as possible. Besides what I mentioned above, you also want to brainstorm this key question: "What are the key influencers we need to reach this week that can fuel the word-of-mouth marketing of our products and services and how will we reach them?" As for metrics, the main function of marketing is the generation of warm leads. All your marketing activities must eventually drive leads or you're wasting your resources. Therefore, measure hits to the website; page views; enquiries tied to various promotions; and so on.


Student of marketing

Lastly, to continue feeding ideas and topics for your weekly marketing meeting, become a great student of marketing. Read every book, attend every workshop, and visit every company that represents world-class marketing. In the field of marketing, it takes just one great idea.


The writer is author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, founder and CEO of Gazelles Inc, an outsourced corporate university with a faculty of top business experts. It is represented in the Middle East by Dubai-based biz-ability.

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