It is high time for marketing to claim its place at the table.

4 min read
Apr 29, 2024 2:38:15 PM
Every commercial business is more or less sprung from the mind of the founder/entrepreneur who saw an opportunity or possibility in the market. He or she knew how to free up resources and time to go from an idea to a product/service, take it to market and turn it into a thriving business. That very bringing to market is essential and at its core is marketing. But I think.
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Every commercial business is more or less sprung from the mind of the founder/entrepreneur who saw an opportunity or possibility in the market. He or she knew how to free up resources and time to go from an idea to a product/service, take it to market and turn it into a thriving business. That very bringing to market is essential and at its core is marketing. But I think if you were to ask the entrepreneur what the basis of their business is, few would say it is marketing. You would often be told that they saw the gap, had an idea, a good product, persevered, worked very hard, were able to get good deals, etcetera.

Marketing is part of business

The origin of the word marketing comes from "getting the market." That "getting" can be explained in two ways. First, in the sense of conquering the market. So growing your market share. What we see here is that growing the market share is primarily perceived as a merit of sales, whereas at its core marketing is the basis and a fifty/fifty split would be more reasonable. You can only understand this first interpretation if you understand my second interpretation of "getting the market."

This second reasoning is not so much in increasing your market share, but in "understanding" the market/customers. Do you understand what the struggles, problems, challenges are of your customers and can you be of value in solving these problems. If you do, you have a business model and marketing is at the root of it. So being able to reason from the outside in is essential. Do you get it?

Sales is part of business operations

If this is the start of the business and you get bigger as a company then business principles come into play. You're going to organize your processes more efficiently and effectively and you're going to scale up. One of the first things you're going to scale up is sales because you do need to generate revenue to cover the investments. And because sales and the deals they bring about are essential to the continuity of the company, as the company gets bigger, sales is immediately given a place in the boardroom. Without sales no company.

That is strong inside-out reasoning, and also a tenable model in a traditional seller's market. However, today we are in a buyer's market (read: because of the Internet everyone can get informed/knowledgeable) and as an organization you should focus much more on the first explanation of 'getting the market' and thus see marketing always represented in the board. And that is often not the case.

Marketing as a profit center not a cost center

In B2C it has long been clear that marketing is essential and there it has never really been a question of whether it belonged on the board. This has much if not everything to do with the fact that in B2C it is mainly a transactional market where there is not much risk involved in buying a product, and that it is very often an emotionally driven purchase. In that kind of emotionally driven market, branding and brand plays an important role and so there is automatically a role for marketing.

It's very different in B2B. There it is much more about personal selling and there are generally greater risks/amounts involved. To mitigate that risk, the buyer wants to have a lot of information to best assess that risk. In the past, the selling party had the specific information in their own hands but because the buying process now starts online, you need to be there. On top of that, technological developments are going so fast that the product lifecycle has shortened enormously, so has the time-to-market. All the more reason to give marketing a role on the board.

ROI marketing as measurable as # deals from sales

Today, your marketing efforts are measurable. Measurable in the sense of what it cost and how many customers/sales it generated. Just like in sales. In sales, it has been clear for years that there is a directly proportional relationship between number of salespeople and revenue. More salespeople generally means more sales. That is achievable today in marketing as well. How much does that participation in that trade show generate? How many new employees do we find through linkedin, how many leads do we generate through Google? In short, rationalization and objectification of marketing instead of subjective perceptions related to brand, colors, leaflets and advertising.

Commerce is not a department

Webs itself regularly makes the mistake of talking about the commercial department or departments. This is understandable because this is how we have structured things from the disciplines of marketing, sales and customer service. They want to be helped/served in a good way. So if you say as a company that the customer is central, then these three will definitely have to work together. That is not a wish but rather an obligation.

Marketers who never talk to customers/end users should no longer exist. Neither should sales people who have not sufficiently immersed themselves in the customer and only talk from their product or service. So pull together and really put that customer first. Customer first is only achievable if you have a 360-degree view including a growth team that works together on this.

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