Cody Strate is Managing Partner at The Upward Spiral Group, and is a marketer with a salesperson pedigree.
Many companies spend massive amounts of treasure on marketing each and every year. Unfortunately, these same companies are often not seeing the kind of return on their investment that they would like. Even worse, several of these same companies throw money at marketing without making what they want to accomplish clear to themselves or their teams. One thing that’s uniform across all of these cases is that marketing is not cheap, and business leaders should rightfully expect results from it.
Marketing is a broadly multifaceted beast with numerous rabbit holes that CEOs can throw money at. Certain aspects of marketing are highly technical, others are very sexy, and others are more routine, but what of any of this really matters? In this article, I’m going to sort out what “marketing that matters” looks like so businesses can purposely align their marketing efforts toward the results they want to achieve.
Why Many Companies Are Wasting Their Marketing Dollars
The number one problem I see across numerous companies is the absence of a clear marketing mandate. Many CEOs throw money into the marketing machine as if it’s some business demigod that demands a sacrifice before revenue can be harvested. Even worse, CMOs occasionally position themselves as the priests to the gods of marketing — as if they alone can harness the mystical art of marketing.
Am I saying that CEOs should defund their marketing department and put their CMOs out to pasture? Absolutely not. Rather, I propose that the real and robust power of marketing should be focused through the lens of a clear mandate set by the CEO and that this mandate should be unequivocally tied to revenue.
What Marketing That Matters Looks Like
Marketing is not a demigod, and it is not a magical art; marketing is a means of generating genuine revenue opportunities from a target market. CEOs should demystify marketing and set a clear mandate for their CMOs to follow to realize marketing that matters.
Like all things, this can be easier said than done, and this is especially true for those companies that have a historically flawed take on marketing. However, there are a few simple yet powerful things business leaders can do to set the stage for marketing that matters.
Four Ways To Create Marketing That Matters
Have A Clear Marketing Mandate
I’ve already laid out the proverbial red carpet for this first concept, but it absolutely deserves repeating. CEOs should define a clear marketing mandate that’s tied to revenue opportunity generation. It’s really nice to have a great blog, uniform email signatures for all employees, high page views and so on, but unless this generates revenue opportunities, then it’s likely all for naught.
Expand Marketing’s Domain Expertise
How can you expect your marketing team to effectively market your products or services unless they clearly know the domain in which your company operates? Have you taken the time to describe this to your marketing team? Do they know what problems your prospects deal with? Do they know the measurable impacts these problems have on your prospects? Do they know how these problems impact your prospects’ emotional state?
It is important that your marketing team knows everything about the domain you occupy, what challenges your prospects have that your company addresses, and how these challenges impact the practical life and emotional state of your prospects.
Align Sales And Marketing For Boots-On-The-Ground Insights
There is an opportunity businesses have to “kill two birds with one stone” in this situation. Bring your sales team in to help educate the marketing team on why your company’s solutions and/or services matter to your target industry. Your sales team members are your boots on the ground. They have conversations with your prospects day in and day out. They are intimately familiar with your prospects’ challenges, emotional states, aspirations, wants, needs and goals. Connect your sales team to your marketing team and unleash the transfer of knowledge.
As you do this, you can concurrently solve for another issue that plagues most companies: the divide between sales and marketing departments. It’s not uncommon that a divide exists between sales and marketing and for this divide to be fostered largely by a sense that neither side understands or appreciates the other. This effort can help teams to tear down these walls and forge greater appreciation, teamwork and culture.
Focus On Winning Hearts, Not Just Minds
Many companies are good at speaking to the analytical aspect of what their products/services do for a target industry. Improving all of the measurables, such as efficiency, time, cost savings and so on, is great. However, if that’s as far as your marketing and sales messaging goes, then you’re leaving quite a bit on the table in terms of marketing that matters. I’m talking about focusing on human emotion. A message that incorporates raw numbers gets you through the door, but it’s limited in terms of providing a compelling message. If you can connect with, draw out and empathetically connect with the emotions of your prospects, then you’re working with the equivalent of marketing TNT. When you connect your solutions to the very real human emotion of your prospects, you’re connecting to something far more powerful than the numbers. The numbers help you win your prospects’ minds, but emotions are a gateway to winning your prospects’ hearts, and I’ve found that it’s the heart that serves as the strongest conduit to action one can ever hope to harness.
Marketing is expensive, but that does not guarantee that the results will matter. Too many businesses waste their marketing investments, which subverts the impact they can have on their markets. Your customers, your employees and you deserve better than this. It’s time you revaluate your marketing efforts and ask yourself the simple question: Do my marketing efforts really matter? If the answer is anything shy of an emphatic “yes,” then it’s high time you rethink, restructure and redeploy your marketing efforts to ensure they actually matter. Remember, marketing is no mystical art or demigod that requires an annual capital sacrifice. Focus on the four steps above to help you create marketing that matters.