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Let’s not forget our purpose…

We, as marketers MUST NOT FORGET… Marketing serves 1 core purpose, feeding sales. And doing this over the past few years has become increasingly complex. I started my career 16 years ago. The methods used for demand generation were far simpler… Direct mail, telemarketing and email. That was about it. Now, the marketing landscape is completely different. The digital revolution has provided us with more customer insight that we can shake a stick at. This causes problems. Not just in what platforms to use and invest in, but which ones we can use to serve that core purpose of generating leads.

I still see far too many marketing teams focussed too heavily on PR and comms, and others obsessed with digital tools and analytics. Both of these groups too often lack clarity and focus over what’s really important Yes they are both vital parts of today’s marketing mix, but it’s imperative they form part of a wider lead generation strategy. Every penny we spend from our marketing budgets needs to be attributed either directly, or indirectly to lead generation. If it’s not, I’d advise you not to bother. The spectrum on how tightly you can attribute spend to ROI is far and wide. Should we sponsor tables and industry awards because ‘our biggest customer is there’? Should we spend time following our customers on twitter, only to find that the person running the corporate accounts is just another social media manager who has no buying influence? Should we spray and pray with generic email marketing campaigns in the hope some of the shit sticks?

No, no, and no.

And the list of no’s is long. Very long indeed.

We need to deliver results. And results as far as business is concerned is revenue. I don’t measure my teams on revenue, or TCV however, just qualified pipeline. It’s the sales teams’ responsibility to drive revenue, it’s our job to open the door. Get this right and the sales teams will respect marketing as a discipline. Create strong, demonstrable pipeline generation and marketing will move up the value chain. This then helps you position marketing in your organisation as a strategic partner and not a reactive department that jumps to the demands of sales. It puts us where we should be, on the front-foot. Most successful businesses are marketing-led, yet too many marketers accept playing second fiddle. It’s up to us to drive the agenda, no-one will do it for us.

Once you have the respect of the business you can start influencing wider strategy. Collaborate with your peers, the C-Suite must buy in to your vision. Gartner predicts that by 2018 the CMO will spend more on technology that the average CIO. The 2 functions need to work hand in hand. We are specialists, don’t forget that, advise HR on talent acquisition through digital channels and employee engagement, advice the Sales Director on lead generation, Advise the CEO on how you can support the growth agenda, advise the CFO on leveraging digital marketing channels to improve efficiency and reduce the total cost of sales AND marketing. Advise your team to advise their peers. The list is endless, but the point is, gain respect, then influence.  That way, marketing becomes an integral part of the success of the business and loses the perception as the team that ‘colours things in’.

So, are you still thinking of doing that award ceremony? Or are you going to shape the future of your business?