During a recent conversation with a colleague that serves as an advisor to a handful of CEOs in the high tech industry, I asked, “Why do you think it’s so easy to convince these CEOs to invest more in the sales function, but so difficult to persuade them to make a similar investment in marketing?”
His answer caught me completely off guard: “It’s simple. They’ve all hired blue chip salespeople, they’ve all seen what goes into completing a multi-million dollar deal, and they all know that they can get rid of salespeople and programs that don’t work. For many of these guys, though, they’ve gone their entire careers without ever seeing a marketing strategy that truly transformed a company.”
In other words, they accept mediocre marketing, because they’re not sure the 99th percentile is even achievable.
Talk to a CEO who has been a part of a 99th percentile marketing strategy, and he or she will tell you that it represented a turning point in the growth curve of the company.
Here are the concepts that the 99th percentile marketers have mastered:
- Marketing touches every facet of the company. Every department will benefit from a 99th percentile marketing effort, and no department will be spared from a mediocre marketing effort.
- An undifferentiated message will destroy a good marketing strategy. A me too message will lead to me too marketing programs. 99th percentile employees, customers and partners don’t want to work for or with me too companies.
- Decisions matter more than data. We have more data than ever, but data does not make decisions. People do. 99th percentile marketers focus only on the data that will help them make decisions, and focus only on the decisions that will make a significant impact.
- Talent matters more than software. While software may be eating the world, it hasn’t eaten the people. 99th percentile marketers invest in their talent and strategy first, and then let the talent and strategy guide the selection of the tools.
- Sweat the small stuff. Marketing is—by its very nature—public. Customers, prospective customers, employees, recruits, stockholders, and the media all see your work. 99th percentile marketers recognize that there’s no hiding, and they commit to paying attention to even the smallest of details.
Becoming a 99th percentile marketer is hard. Really hard. But choosing between mailing it in and taking a risk to transform your entire business? That should be an easy call.
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