Fact: Marketing and marketing professionals are misunderstood, undervalued, and considered non-essential. Ever see a marketing team set up to fail from the get-go? Of course you have. We all have. Maybe this was due to insufficient information from product and engineering, zero lead time for launches, or total misalignment on the parameters of a marketing qualified lead. These all-too-common messes we find ourselves in just reinforce the negative opinions of folks who have no idea what we do.
To make matters worse, company leaders often consider marketing a cost center rather than a revenue center. So what’s first to go when budgets get cut? Marketing. Marketing budgets. Marketers. And by so doing, companies cut off their own legs, losing valuable revenue and momentum in the process. In fact, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen leaders assume a company can run just fine without marketing. Hmmmm, not so much. Just think, at an absolute minimum, marketing creates and manages the brand presence, website, all outward-facing content, social media, advertising, and email campaigns. Try running a business without those.
So what do we do about it? Short answer: Get marketing involved in planning—if not owning—the go-to-market strategy. Instead of learning about the GTM plan at the Friday town hall like everyone else, use your God-given toolkit of data, industry knowledge, marketing, and sales know-how to show leadership that marketing is the core of the business. This will give the company the best chance of success, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Let’s back up. First you need to get your shit together with these absolute basics:
- Become one with the customer’s journey. Know what your prospects need to make a decision, what Sales needs to close them, what customer success needs to onboard them, and then what keeps them engaged and using the product.
- Make repeatable content. Think strategically about how to build content that can be repurposed for a variety of personas, programs, channels, and sales stages. This is especially critical if you sell into the B2B space and enterprise and have a long sales cycle with multiple decision-makers.
- Build predictable campaigns and programs. When you understand your prospects and can articulate the expected return for every dollar invested, your campaigns are predictable, and you know what needs to happen to hit your company’s revenue goals.
- Measure results. Good data removes bias and points you in the right direction when it comes to campaigns and programs. Use it to connect your activities to the specific results your internal audiences (Executives, Marketing, Sales, and everyone else) cares about.
Using these particular areas as a base and then—and this is crucial—marketing them internally enabled me to succeed in companies that were otherwise a complete cluster. No matter the mess you’re stepping into, these points will give you a process and the tools to see what really drives results for marketing to deliver on the revenue goals of the company. In other words, you’ll be able to flip the script and make sure marketing is a revenue center, not a cost center. Ultimately that’s what gets the attention of leadership and ensures your seat at the go-to-market strategy table.
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