Everyone’s writing self-serving pieces about the future of advertising, yet few of them seem to realise that the true subject is the future of marketing. Central to that is the future of the marketing director, an important role that has, all too often, relegated itself to some kind of administrator of outsourcing.
The reversal of that trend starts with knowing what marketing really is: acknowledging that it’s not just promotion, that it involves every touch-point with customers (how ever tangential) and knowing therefore that it includes the work of a lot of departments outside one’s own.
This means that the classic role of evangelist must be for much more than simply the product/service, it must also evangelise on behalf of marketing itself as well as its specific aims within the company. The future of the marketing director will therefore involve:The marketing of marketing.
Firstly, the Board and senior management have to be convinced of the value of marketing as an integral part of the product/service (in accounting terms, an element of cost of goods sold rather than an expense). Until this is achieved, marketing will be under-valued.Relating marketing to corporate strategy.
By relating it directly to corporate strategy, the business credibility of marketing is enhanced. It also serves to ties in all stakeholders, most notably customer-facing staff. Moreover, it encourages longevity of vision and consistency of voice and thereby reduces short-term gimmickry.Marketing to third parties.
The outsourcing of the creation of certain marketing elements may be inevitable, but your partners will serve you better if they are convinced of your mission. Faking such conviction is part of their job spec, but it’s better if they can truly be persuaded.Becoming the account manager.
Being the manager not the outsourcer (internally with other departments and externally with third-parties) ensures a flattening of hierarchy, a continuous exchange of ideas and information and an increased ability to oversee processes so that there’s no need for sudden deadlines and rushed creativity. Realism regarding your customers.
Acknowledging that you’re not marketing to your colleagues, your agencies or your imagined self is key. Spend lots of time with them - not in focus groups but in the real world – and know everything they do in relation to your product/service and to the rest of their lives.Shaping the culture.
Marketing by creating the culture is more effective than marketing by interrupting the culture. The goal is to shape the ecosystem around and within your business through your interactions as described above and by all your promotional activities.
The result can be a unified marketing effort and that, after all, is what a marketing director should be ensuring.