marketing integrationOne of the biggest questions in marketing is ‘what is the role of marketing in the future of business?’  So as we start to wind down the Future of Marketing interview series, I am happy to be addressing that question here.

In case you are just catching up, previous interviews have discussed Social Employees,  Digital MarketingPersonal BrandingContent BrandsCustomer BrandsCreativityBig DataCustomer ExperienceThought Leadership, the Future of Search, the Science of Marketing and many more…

Today’s interview is with Chris Herbert. Chris is the founder of Mi6 Agency. Mi6 Agency creates B2B social networks & communities that build reputations, generate results and make markets. He is also the founder of ProductCamp Toronto and the Hi-tech community Silicon Halton. He tweets under the handle @B2Bspecialist.

What is the greatest challenge in marketing?

Chris-HerbertThe greatest challenge for any company (small or large) is integrating the discipline of marketing across the company. Whether a company is small (less than 10 employees) or large (thousands of employees) the organization can no longer view marketing as a siloed function.  Every employee regardless of their role and department needs to think, act and be accountable for marketing the company. But, before they do, they need to understand what marketing is supposed to do.  The meaning of marketing has been diluted since the day when Peter Drucker said:

Marketing is so basic that it is not just enough to have a strong sales department and to entrust marketing to it. Marketing is not only much broader than selling; it is not a specialized activity at all. It encompasses the entire business. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is from the customer’s point of view. Concern and responsibility for marketing must therefore permeate all areas of the enterprise.

Marketing is the responsibility of all employees because it’s purpose is to get and keep customers. It is that simple. Marketing is not a silo, it’s not a department and it’s definitely not supposed to be creating communications materials that buyers consider “fluff”! Marketing is not the group that provide sales reps with “leads” that they never follow up with because they’re “no good”.  Marketing covers: Product, Promotion, Place  and Pricing. It has and should always be the case.  But for some reason sales has been separated from marketing (sales falls under direct promotion) and product management has been severed from marketing.

Another challenge, at the individual level, is the fact that some marketers have no interest and no skills in understanding the underlying technologies that drive interaction, engagement and conversions. This coupled with old age thinking about controlling “the message” and head in sand positions on the use of social media and networks to listen, learn and engage with customers is a very close second place! Today’s marketer must be technologically savvy, integrate marketing across the organization and be taking the company in to new spaces and directions of market and customer engagement.  S/he needs to recognize that the brand is no longer only being defined by corporate positioning but is most likely being defined externally. By the way, this has always been the case especially in B2B. How often do you believe an advertisement without validating it with people you know, people you trust and people who are impartial?

What are some best practices/tips for overcoming that challenge?

Marketing must be integrated into the business and those who traditionally didn’t do “marketing stuff” must start doing so. Marketing leaders need to put in place programs that involve other groups who will contribute to the execution of marketing programs that focus on getting and keeping customers. They, ideally should involve those group leaders, in understanding what the needs of the group is and how marketing strategies and tactics can help them achieve their core goals.

From there core marketing and business development programs are developed with product managers, sales, customer support/service and operations that are more relevant, integrated and focused on the needs of the business and core groups that operate within them.

We use a framework that helps us stay on course when helping organizations adopt marketing across their organizations. That framework includes:

  • Branding and Offer Development
  • Content, Communications & Community Development
  • Promotion and Business Development
  • Processes
  • Principles
  • Platforms, Systems & Tools

What is your prediction for the future of marketing?

The future of marketing is bright as long as the organization focuses on integrating it across the business so the day to day marketing activities are shared (and deemed important) by all groups.  This will require organizations to collaborate and work together to make it possible for marketing to span across all groups and the day-to-day activities of key members within them.

———-

Now it’s your turn: Let me know what you think in the comments below. And please follow along on TwitterLinkedInFacebook and Google+ or Subscribe to the B2B Marketing Insider Blog for regular updates.

———-

Photo Source

About Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is the Vice President of Global Marketing for SAP where he leads content strategy and serves as the managing editor of the company’s award-winning Business Innovation thought leadership blog site. He is also the author of B2B Marketing Insider, a contributor to Forbes and a frequent speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, social business, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding.  Follow Michael on Twitter (@BrennerMichael)LinkedInFacebook and Google+ and Subscribe to B2B Marketing Insider by Email

15 Comments

  1. Frank Strong said…

    Love this line here, “Marketing is the responsibility of all employees because it’s purpose is to get and keep customers” — and believe every word.

    • Pascal said…

      At this point why those employees don’t start their own business and be the owner of this hard emotional work ?

      Let’s face it, this is the biggest challenge for everyone and every businesses.

      Cheers everyone
      @icipascal

  2. Chris Herbert said…

    Frank,

    I’m not sure how marketing has gotten a bad reputation in some circles, but when done properly and with the best interests of the customer in mind, it just naturally permeates through the organization.

    In fact it becomes a mechanism to learn, engage, generate interest and eventually an opportunity to do business or continue a relationship with a customer.

  3. Emilie Petersen said…

    “Marketing must be integrated into the business and those who traditionally didn’t do “marketing stuff” must start doing so.”

    I have to admit it can be slow going to get those who aren’t “in marketing” to make the mental shift that they are a very valuable part of marketing. And as written, a big step is getting “marketing” to believe this and not feel threatened by it. Thanks for the interview. I appreciate the best practices and tips.

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Emilie. I appreciate the support and your insights. I agree with you that it can be slow going and a mental shift for marketing not to feel threatened. But the payoff is worth it in the end.

  4. Amber said…

    Marketing should be integrated to all. Whether you are a secretary or CEO, you represent the firm.

  5. Ryan said…

    In my opinion, the future of marketing is really in relationships. Relationships stemmed from social media and with each person you meet, you dig to find the co-marketing potential. Co-marketing potential can appear in the form of blog opps, social sharing, content creation partnerships etc. I think eventually, enterprise organizations will look to harness the potential of social sharing within each employee in the company.

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Ryan, I think you’re right. That i the vision and the promise of the social business.

    • Chris Herbert said…

      I agree with you in part Ryan. Relationships are important but they ebb and flow and you weave in and out of customers and prospective customers professionals lives. The key is to find intersection points and overlaps where you can develop the relationship in a setting of mutual interest.

      This sounds theoretical so I’ll give you a examples.

      1) Silicon Halton is a technology community I cofounded in 2009. It’s designed for members by members and we have mechanisms in place that make if more probable for people to connect and re-connect. These mechanisms include: a live and/or work local requirement, a series of monthly meetups, a Linkedin group and peer to peer groups for CEOs, Solopreneurs, Developers, Big Data/Analytics Professionals and Agile practitioners.

      2) This post is another example. Michael Brenner is a thought leader (sorry about the “buzz word”… maybe a practitioner is the better label) in the B2B space and he works at SAP. I know him professionally and was pleased to offer my thoughts in this post. SAP is also a client of mine. His blog, my relationship with him and my ongoing work with SAP are key intersection points and strategic overlaps.

      Marketers need to understand how to engage in their markets and interact with the people that matter to them and their organization.

  6. Andrea Hadley said…

    Hi Michael,
    I just caught up with you via this tweet The Strategist < #Digital #Strategy is out! paper.li/DMEClub/136270… ▸ Top stories today via @dstrategycon…which brought me here. By happenstance our Digital Strategy Conference is fully aligned with your Future of Marketing series as if we'd been following each other this past few months, only we have not been.

    Our perspective is a 'digital' perspective as opposed to marketing. We believe that digital is ahead of most marketers and that it is the digital strategy that needs to be plugged in alongside the business strategy (as opposed to marketing). Perhaps we stand a better chance of overcoming the silos if we approach from this perspective as digital has the ear of the C-suite in a very unique way. Across all sectors: public, private and not for profit all are scrambling to catch up.

    Our customers have been so impacted by digital, that their expectations are ahead of what most businesses can deliver, hence the need for a digital strategy (not to be confused with a digital marketing strategy).

    We are also in agreement that this is a temporary situation, we must wait for organizations to transform (and help lead the way). When we reach the point where there is no divide between digital, marketing, overall business goals and an organizations ability to meet or exceed its customers expectations and needs.

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Andrea, I agree with you completely and feel the same way about social. Digital (including social) needs to drive the social / digital business forward. This is bigger than marketing and encompasses the whole business.

  7. Matt Crawford said…

    It really is staggering how many marketers still focus on controlling “the message”. I’m also often surprised at how many businesses don’t even think of themselves as ‘marketers’.

    Important message(s) in this post. Nice job Michael.

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Yes Matt, I totally agree. When I speak to small business CEOs, I often ask them “what is your marketing strategy?” and I’m shocked at how many cannot answer the question. When they do “market” they are really just selling their product and trying to control the message. Instead, they should be listening the market and wading in to the conversations.

  8. Goran Maric said…

    Marketing really do need to be integrated into your whole business! That is the only way how to get max of it!

  9. R.K.KANWAL said…

    I ALWAYS TELL MY EMPLOYEES
    “COMPANY DOES NOT PAY US SALARY
    IT IS THE CUSTOMER WHO PAYS”
    SO SERVE THE CUSTOMER & THAT’S
    MARKETING

Leave a Comment