Three golden rules for defining the purpose of marketing

Catherine Howard, UK and Ireland marketing director at Atos, presents her three rules for defining the purpose of marketing

No-one ever asks ‘what is sales?’ or ‘what is finance?’. Why? Because those professions have been recognised for years. But we ask ‘what is marketing?’ because it’s still relatively new, and consequently deemed to be complex and unclear.

Having focused on B2B marketing for over 10 years, listening to the views of others and learning lessons along the way, my personal definition of marketing breaks down into three key areas:

1. Understanding our customers, business and the wider market

Marketing is about understanding what customers want, and using this analysis to drive the business. We should listen to our customers, inform our organisations of new insight and use automated technologies to predict buying behaviour patterns in order to deliver personalised messages to stakeholders. By being experts on our customers, we should in turn be leading our organisation’s strategy and determining the future of our markets. 

2. Delivering business growth and value

Everything we do should deliver growth. Our goal is to deliver revenue – whether that’s through building brand awareness, promoting our offerings, generating new sales opportunities or account-based marketing. We should demonstrate ROI and how this aligns to the sales cycle through continuous communication of results. We need to make sure the value of marketing is fully understood.

3. Providing differentiation, relevance and creative flair

Is your brand truly different and engaging? Really?! Steve Jobs understood the value of differentiation when reshaping Apple’s brand. He focused on defining his organisation’s core values and then used striking creative to convey the message. This element of marketing is probably the area which most gives the profession the perception of complexity. But it’s simple, right?

However you define marketing, I know I’m proud to call myself a B2B marketer and can’t wait to get out there and engage with clients, deliver revenue and be braver in my creative.