When Will Marketers Be More Business Focused?

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It’s laughable that the vast majority of marketing professionals are still seen as those who spend the money on the TV commercials.

Here’s what’s really happening: The c-suite is pushing back (and hard). They’re asking marketers to do more than spend money on advertising they want them to:

  1. Get in line with the CEO’s objectives.
  2. Help drive organizational change.
  3. Deliver timely results.

Anything shocking there?

That’s what the 2014 Korn Ferry Marketing Pulse Survey is saying. So, while marketers are using words like "content marketing," "social media" and "mobile apps," the CEO is looking for marketers to act more like… marketers. You know the person who actually owns the Four Ps (Product, Price, Promotion and Place) within the organization. The MediaPost news item, Marketers Face More Pressures Than Just Marketing, paints a very interesting picture of the current state of marketing.

"’It’s not surprising that more organizations are taking a hard look at how marketing spend impacts over-all business outcomes. What is surprising is that, despite this knowledge, many CMOs are not as focused on this part of the equation and keeping a majority of their focus on customer engagement,’ said Caren Fleit, senior client partner and head of Korn Ferry’s Global Marketing Center of Expertise. ‘Customer engagement is critical and must be a key focus, but CMOs need to remember that the overarching purpose of driving this engagement is to drive business results. In order to be successful in today’s business environment, CMOs and marketing executives need to be learning agile and strike a balance, achieving both internal and external objectives.’"

It’s the same old song and dance.

Marketing drives business. The CEO isn’t interested in native advertising or newspaper ads. What they are most interested in, is how do these channels and opportunities to connect with consumers convert into real customers? On one hand, you have a CMO looking to engage consumers. On the other hand, you have the CEO just wanting to sell stuff. If only it were that simple. Marketing is a process. It’s a dance. Consumers don’t walk into the door wanting to buy (but, then again, maybe some do?). They walk into the door (and that door can be physical or digital) in any array of interesting states. How brands process this information, and turn it into a healthy sales funnel, is the real challenge. In recent years, nothing has crystallized this process as cogently (for me) as Avinash Kaushik (Google‘s digital marketing evangelist and author of Web Analytics – An Hour A Day and Web Analytics 2.0) has done with his See – Think – Do – Care Business Framework. Yes, stop reading this blog post and spend an hour or so reading what Avinash has to say. What Avinash has done so well (and yes, his post is over a year old) is this: it’s a practical and adaptable framework that works for all brands, because it is highly customizable and relies on you, the brand marketer, to think with more of a business perspective.

Customer engagement is important.

There is no arguing that. It’s just not everything. Selling to a consumer (more than once). That could be everything. In between those two worlds is a very new and different journey. The variances of what makes a consumer act and react has – without question – become much more complex. How marketers adjust and adapt their marketing in a world where they can get in line with the CEOs objectives, help drive organizational change by better understanding the digital landscape and, ultimately, deliver timely results because we now have access to this type of information and data like never before, cannot be diminished. If marketers are failing to satiate the c-level suite, there is no one else to blame but ourselves and the dogma of an industry that used to be all about the sizzle.

It’s time to move on. The CEOs are demanding it, and the CMOs have the ability to deliver on it.