What Is the Marketing Department for?

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Dave Jackson posted an interesting comment on my earlier post about Returning to Marketing’s Roots.

He describes a situation where the MD of a UK Financial Service firm whilst berating the lack of measurable return in his industry, was not up to looking outside his immediate area of responsibility, to understand why that was and thus, what to do about it. This situation is all too common. Executives in the C-suite are generally rewarded for achieving specific targets, often closely related with financial value creation and backed up by budgets for specific activities. Too few of them are willing (or able) to look a little outside their immediate remit, to the origins of the value that they are hoping to subsequently harvest.

That may be as simple as the CMO, (responsible for marketing), being unwilling to work closely with the COO, (responsible for customer service), to provide an end-to-end solution for customers on the receiving end of one of the CMO’s direct marketing campaigns. The CMO could quite rightly say that that was not his responsibility. But that would be foolish if one looks at marketing as having a broader remit of being the organiser of market-facing activities, rather than just being responsible for inside-out marketing to market segments.

Or it may be as complex as the CMO being unwilling to work with the COO and the Chief Innovation Officer (a title that I have made up that is too often lacking in organisations) to feed insights from marketing and customer enquiries into customer-driven innovation that results in superior new products. Similarly, the CMO could quite rightly say that that was also not his responsibility. But that would also be foolish if one looks at marketing as also having a broader remit of feeding the voice of the market in all its forms back into the innovation process.

It should come as no surprise that the three top challenges identified by the recent CMO Council report on Define & Align the CMO all involve collaborating with other functions and building marketing’s influence within the organisation. Doing this requires that the CMO starts to look outside the narrow area of marketing at other market-facing functions and at their enablers.

Far too much of marketing is still about tools & techniques, rather than about its real purpose.

What do you think? Is the CMO right to focus on the tools & techniques of marketing? Or does marketing have a much broader purpose in organisations?

Post a comment and get the conversation going.

Graham Hill
Independent CRM Consultant
Interim CRM Manager

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