This is Why You Pay Your Marketing Leadership the Big Bucks

July 14, 2010 •

We live in a business world, and in particular a marketing world, that is dominated by what lots of people call “solutions”.  Software solutions.  Automation solutions.  Content management solutions.  Social media solutions.  You name it, and someone, somewhere is peddling the latest solution to fill the needs of the enterprise space, the small business space, the startup space, or perhaps the going out of business soon space.

Can you tell I am not a big fan of the word solutions?

Marketing has not become any easier over the last 15 years.  That’s right.  I’d argue that marketing has become far more complex and difficult to manage with the explosion of Internet usage and the growth of the small business sector.  We certainly have better tools and better tracking mechanisms, but we also have seen a massive increase in competition in just about every industry, a leveling of the playing field between small and large businesses, and an influx of marketing talent that, well, has minimal marketing experience.

That’s why your marketing leadership still represents the most important asset in your marketing department or organization.  We’re working with a few clients at the moment that don’t fit in any type of well-defined box.  “Solutions” cannot solve their problems or build plans around their opportunities, but the right people can.  With that in mind, here’s why you pay your marketing leadership – whether internal or outsourced – the big bucks:

1.  Identifying the Actual Opportunity and the Potential Obstacles

This is a multi-billion dollar market just waiting to be addressed!  If I had a nickel for every time I heard that one from a CEO or Founder…

Good marketing folks are able to take the pie in the sky predictions and bring them back down to earth (or sometimes even agree with them).   Great marketing folks do that, plus identify potential obstacles and ways around those obstacles.

2.  Creating the Plan and the Process to Implement the Plan

Anyone that reads this blog regularly knows that I harp on the lack of marketing planning that goes on in most organizations.  Some people get intimidated by a plan, fearful that it represents some lengthy, gut-wrenching and perhaps useless document that won’t get followed anyway.  If you’re one of those, get yourself a new marketing leader because you’re not seeing the right plans.

3.  Assembling the Right Team

You know how giddy Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra must have felt last week?  As President and Head Coach of the Miami Heat, they began the assembly of  a team with unmatched talent, starting with keeping Dwyane Wade and then signing Chris Bosh and Lebron James.

OK, so assembling a marketing team is not that much fun, but it’s pretty invigorating when we’re able to pull all the right pieces together to create teams that we know can deliver on the agreed upon plan.  This team assembly process involves art and skill, and even a little NBA-style salary cap management as well.

4.  Managing Execution

How many times have you run into the launch and then stumble marketing plan?  Everything goes towards some type of launch.  That launch goes extremely well, and everyone is psyched about the results in weeks 1 and 2.  Week 3…slow.  Week 4…slower.  Week 5…people start getting fired.

It’s difficult to resist the allure of a big launch, but the great marketers are managing execution of a plan on a daily, weekly and monthly basis starting months prior to launch and continuing on months after launch.

5.  Deciding What to Measure and How to Measure It

Everyone wants a dashboard these days.  Dashboards are visually appealing, easy to read, shareable, and all those other good things.

Here’s what dashboards are not, and that is useful.  That is, unless you’re measuring the right things, the things that actually drive the business, and not just metrics for the sake of metrics.  Great marketers know what to measure, and how to measure it, and if they can’t measure it they look for…wait for it…”solutions”!

You can take this list and extend it to other functional areas, but it works particularly well in defining what you need out of your marketing leadership.  What am I missing?  What other components of marketing leadership do you value the most?

About the Author

As managing partner and chief strategy officer for Right Source, Mike Sweeney is responsible for all content marketing initiatives, including growing the company’s content marketing practice, guiding all client content marketing strategy, and recruiting and growing a team of modern marketers. Mike received a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in marketing from the University of Notre Dame. You can find Mike on Twitter and Google+, connect with him on LinkedIn, or read his other posts.

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