Where does marketing fit into your business? Where should it? These questions are essential to determining the success of your marketing in reaching your goals.
If your organization is structured in a way that views marketing as something that will come in after all the other plans are done, something that doesn't get a chance to speak about strategic plans for the organization overall but is expected to somehow then drive your sales successfully, you're in for a disastrous ride.
Here are 3 reasons why marketing should be in your DNA:
1) The Why Drives Everything
People do care about the quality of your product/service. But unless you're the only company providing it, the chances are that there's someone else out there who offers comparable quality. What is it that makes you different? What sets you apart? Why should people buy from you instead of your competitor? Why are you even in business in the first place?
These are not questions to answer after everything is done. These are the heart of your business. Emotional connections are the heart of any relationship. And you need to form relationships with your customers in order to gain loyal customers. Why you out of all the choices?
This is your mission we're talking about here.When you have a truthful mission that drives your company, everyone in your company knows it. They work there because they believe in it - or they should. It should be a source of pride that makes them glad they work there.
So what is it? Why is it important? If you don't know, why are you even doing it? And, why should anyone else care enough to buy from you?
2) Marketing Occurs in Every Department
Actually, marketing occurs every time a potential customer interacts with your company in any way. People make judgments about your brand with every interaction.
It starts with customer service. I believe if a company is structured correctly, customer service should be considered a subset of both marketing and operations. Those who interact with customers should be trained so that every person they meet truly believe that they are out to help their customers - not just make a sale. If someone on your staff thinks customers are a PITA, they need to get more training, or relieved of their duties.
As an example, when I worked at Doner, one of our clients was known for providing a very low cost product. It's how they made their name - for how affordable they were. But their customer service was nonexistant. Staff treated customers like gum on their shoe. They would ignore people coming in so they could continue their conversations with their friends on their cell phones. I remember hearing my boss say to the client, "The reason sales are down for you is that the economy is good. People only buy from you when they have no other choice - because your customer service is terrible!"
A customer who doesn't feel valued won't buy from you, and they'll tell everyone they know. This was true even before social media. Now, every discouraged customer has an online megaphone with the potential of alerting everyone in the world. Customer service can make or break a company.
But it's more than just customer service, every department should touch marketing. Every segment of your business should know what is going on, what you do, and why. When they are not at work, when they talk about work, they should be able to become spokespersons that are on brand - not because they've been given a script, but because they believe in and support the mission.
Can you imagine how much more productive your team would be if every person there thought that they were an important part of your company, doing something that is important and meaningful? "But my company just makes potato chips," I hear you cry. So? Why do you make them? Is it because you have the best recipe? Is it because you know that chips are found at every single get together in modern history in America? Does your product make people happy? What's the reason? This reason is your point of differentiation, your heart. And if your team know it, they can take pride in it. Encourage pride. It makes a huge difference!
3) Marketing Supports Every Department
Marketing finds leads to support sales. Yes. But are you using your marketing to support the rest of the company?
Marketers have their eye on the landscape. They know what's the next big thing because they're used to predicting behavior. They can provide insights into what new products you might consider, how to package them for maximum benefit, what new sales locations will be viable, how you should set up your timeline for entering a new market, where you're vulnerable, and on and on. They pay attention to everything, because it all impacts how they shift what they're doing. They have (or should have if you're giving them access to sales information) all the data to back up their suggestions.
If you don't have scheduled interactions between your marketing department and each of your other departments, you're not utilizing them as fully as you could. Translation: your marketing could be doing more for you, but you need to enable them to do so.
Those are just three reasons why you should have marketing in your DNA. Have any other thoughts? Please respond and share them.