It’s been 7 years since the Fournaise Group published a survey stating that “80% of CEOS admit they do not really trust, and are not very impressed by the work done by Marketers.” It’s an old article that I find immensely insightful in my everyday work and life. In my career, it focused me on the right priorities, making sure that every marketing activity was aligned to the priorities of the CEO. I had no idea that this simple change would one day lead to the formation of my owner marketing agency and consulting company.
However, just saying “marketing should be aligned to the business objectives” is stupid obvious and very unhelpful. I’ve never met a marketer who said: “I don’t care about the business I just want to make pretty pictures.” In fact, every marketer I’ve worked with throughout my career has been extraordinarily passionate about their work, the results of their work, and the positive impact it has on the business.
As I take a moment to reflect, I think about some key influencers on my path. Great marketers like who not only taught me skills, they challenged me to be better and think differently. They were passionate about their work, committed to the business, and celebrated by the Sales team. Until the company missed a sales number – then it was their fault. As silly as this is, every marketer has been there; we all know that marketing can sometimes be a frustrating, disheartening, and thankless job. If marketing was easy, there wouldn’t be an entire industry dedicated to it.
It’s my experience that the biggest reason marketers “miss” is because they didn’t know what they were aiming at. They are told to find leads, and they do, but they aren’t the right people. They are told to find the right people, and they do, but they aren’t converting. They are told to create better-qualified leads, and they do, but it is taking too long. On and on it goes, such is the nature of poorly defined goals that are not part of a well thought out plan.
So how do we take the statement “Marketing should be aligned to the business objectives” and make this more practical? How do we turn a platitude into a plan?
1) Executives Set Data Driven Goals
Every successful marketing organization has clear, actionable marketing objectives and it is the role and responsibility of a company executive to set these goals. You don’t have to know how to make it happen. It will be the job of the marketers to figure out how to do “it”, but it is the executive’s job to define what “it” is.
We have invested a considerable amount of time unpacking this concept substantially in our new whitepaper – Aligning Marketing to Your Business. The feedback has been excellent and we trust you will also appreciate the insight. DOWNLOAD WHITEPAPER
2) Form a Sales and Marketing Covenant
Neither of these organizations can function without the other. It is a symbiotic relationship consisting of two partner organizations working together to accomplish the same goal. With the executive goals set, the leaders of these organizations should agree to a strategic marketing plan, a tactical marketing plan, and a specific timeline of execution. If either party deviates from the plan, they should be proactive and provide this information to the other the way we would in any other healthy relationship.
3) Apply the Science of Marketing
Marketing is to Psychology as Engineering is to Physics. Humans in a given culture behave predictably, and great marketers know how to use this. Great marketers always define their target audience, always define their buyer’s journey, and always develop tactical marketing plans to target each stage of this journey with relevant content to keep them moving. When done right, marketing is predictable. Lead generation, opportunity conversion, and customer retention become statistical norms that can be counted on and invested in.
Write it down.
Formalize the expectations, the strategic plan, the tactical execution plan, the timeline, and the signoff. These formalities create accountability and unity among companies. If I have helped you, I’m happy, if I have engaged your mind, I’m glad, and as always, if you’d like to entertain hiring Tactical Marketing Automation as your agency, I welcome the call.