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Who’s Heading Marketing?

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Thu, Aug 28, 2008

Marketing is often considered to be a creative position. If you want your marketing to sparkle and get results you need to hire someone who has great creativity right? At Gazelles we’ve discovered that’s not necessarily true. Marketing is knowing who your cus tomers are, where they are, what their needs and perceptions are, how to communicate with them, and how to attract them.

Who would you say is the best marketer on the planet right now? If your answer is Steve Jobs, from Apple I’d say that is a pretty good answer. Did you realize Steve Jobs College major was physics? Not the most likely path for the leading marketer in the world right?

Marketing today is a numbers game. Getting the numbers to register so that more of the prospects you want are knocking at your door. 

Who is in charge of marketing at your company?   More than likely if you’re a small to mid-sized company either you the President are in charge or no one is. At one of our Gazelle’s coached companies that was doing close to $8 Million in sales their answer when asked who was in charge of marketing was, “we all do this!” What did that mean? [The answer is nobody!]

One of the company’s I work with looked at 2008 as a real opportunity. They heard the rumors of “recession” and a slowing state side economy. They decided that their competitors would probably turn their horns in and reduce their marketing, so they decided instead to be aggressive. They figured that if $10 last year got them 1 prospect; than it would probably take $20 to get the same prospect shook lose this year. They invested more in marketing this year and it’s producing. So far they have substantially more leads than a year ago [in fact almost double] and they are ahead of last year’s revenue pace. 

That’s marketing. That’s the numbers of marketing. Whoever is in charge of marketing in your business must manage the numbers. They must know how many leads you need to get to convert one into a sale. Then they must move that back to determine how much money must we invest to produce a lead. Then they need to determine the message, who’s are customer, where are they, what are their needs and perceptions and then through which media do we communicate with them. It’s a difficult task in today’s market to determine all this, but the bottom line to marketing is producing leads or prospects. 

If you operate a mid size company chances are you can afford to hire an advertising agency to help you produce your messages and even place them in the right media. However, caution must be exerted here. Expecting an ad agency to know your business and your customer better than you do is a major mistake. You must do your own homework and recognize who your customer is and what their needs are. Creating a quantifiable Brand Promise is one process we spend significant time with our customers helping them develop.   Here again the importance of numbers influences your decision. If you’re going to build a brand promise you need to measure it.

Southwest Airlines measurable Brand Promise consist of their 3 L’s, low fares, lots of flights and lots of fun. They measure each one of these to ensure they are delivering them. If you’ve seen their ads you know that “Want to Get Away?” doesn’t carry the low fares, lots of flights and lots of fun. In fact it’s more toward the lots of fun idea. However they’ve done a tremendous amount of advertising to press home their lead promise “low fares.” I’d suspect very few prospects are unaware of their low fare promise. 

So who’s in charge of marketing in your business?   Do you have a measureable Brand Promise which you regularly quantify to make sure you are delivering on it?   Does the person in charge of marketing bring the numbers to you indicating how well the message you’ve developed is producing new prospects?

I’ve been away for several weeks, on vacation, meeting with clients and attending my son’s wedding in Washington DC. I visited several Civil War sites and found some lessons there I’ll be offering in my next blog. What can we learn about your Brand Promise from the Battle of Fredericksburg?

Topics: Marketing

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1. Priorities: Determine your #1 Priority. Achieve measurable progress in 90 days.

2. Metrics: Develop measurable Key Performance Indicators. 

3. Meetings: Establish effective meeting rhythms. (Cadence of Accountability)  Compounding the value of your priority and metrics. 

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Certified Gazelles Coach

Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
- Metrics
- Meeting Rhythms

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