The Hub

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2 October 2013

Marketers: Don't underestimate your responsibilities!

Last week The House of Marketing organized, together with the Belgian Marketing & Management Association (BMMA), the first lunch where CEO’s talk about the marketing challenges of tomorrow. 
The idea is to better understand the mutual expectations and to provide inspiration on how CEO’s and marketers can be better aligned.
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Inspired by the Yearly Marketing Survey, The House of Marketing performed an additional survey among Belgian CEO’s asking them how they perceive marketers’ tasks & performance.  The results are shocking:  CEO’s not only attach low value to marketers’ tasks, but also rate their performance as below expectations.  To them, the added value of marketers only lies in segmenting the market and providing market analysis.  But marketers rate themselves even lower:  we consider our added value to a company’s growth very limited.

So how should we change this?

Frank Bekkers, serial entrepreneur and Chief Evangelist Officer of Mobile Vikings, had some interesting thoughts about these survey results.  Segmentation isn’t the Holy Grail.  He only targets people open for sharing and giving fresh ideas in order to make a bottom-up approach possible.  His advice for marketers: be more ambitious and proud!  Don’t be satisfied with your so-called low impact, but dare to show your work to your colleagues.  Learn to communicate better internally to create buy-in from other departments.  Learn the language from CEO’s, CFO’s and the board of directors to get your idea through.

But is the problem entirely linked to marketer’s lack of communication skills and self-confidence?  Frank Bekkers also had some advice for CEO’s: instead of acting as a mercenary of your board of directors and merely focusing on figures, be brave, listen to your employees and focus on the consumer.  Be aware of trends and changing consumer behavior, instead of purely paying attention to your own career.

As the CEO of a small company this might be easier, but Mobile Vikings’ success is also linked to other factors:

  • Strong brand that stands for something: offering added value thanks to the community 
  • Strong company culture linked to this brand positioning
  • All employees are embedded in this company culture and propagate the same idea
  • Employee engagement starts with recruitment
  • Consistency in everything you do
  • Agile organization without silos

Remarkably these are some guidelines that confirm the FACTS vision of The House of Marketing.  As a brand builder, the marketer needs to aim for consistency and relevance (focus).  In addition to that, marketers should play the role of a cross-departmental integrator making all employees, across all silos, responsible for marketing and focused on the customer (agility).  Like Frank Bekkers confirmed, employees should be empowered and given the opportunity to fail.  Only by testing new ideas, marketers can take up their responsibility as innovators within the company (creativity), guarantee the organization’s agility and combine figures with strong intuition (tangibility).

In other words, the marketer should revalorize his responsibilities, show his impact on the company’s growth and focus on the ultimate goal: customer satisfaction.

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