Marketing is probably the most ‘misunderstood’ profession and function in organizations. Many a time, a lot of people think they can do Marketing forgetting that there are University Degrees, Professional Courses and Diplomas to support Marketing. Without a solid marketer, an organization can end up executing mediocre campaigns informed by corridor hunches & still call that Marketing.
Marketing is NOT just about printing collateral like brochures, flyers and T-shirts, neither is it about putting up billboards, flighting TV & radio adverts or Social Media posts. It is also not about Corporate Sponsorships nor is it Sales or PR. Marketing is way more than just what is commonly assumed.
I am going to call out my top 5 nuggets on ways to become a great marketer, hopefully that will give clarity on what Marketing is about. I will not dwell on the Marketing Ps as these are known already. I am going to touch on the elements that I feel are the REAL deal breakers for a great marketing person.
1. Understand that Marketing is NOT just a business function
First things first, a great marketer needs to recognize that marketing is not just a business function but is a central and integral pillar of a business. It therefore starts with the marketer understanding this simple reality! I came across the quote below from Salma Jafri & it struck me as it captures exactly what marketing is.
‘Marketing is NOT a department, it’s a human behaviour. Marketing is not some special thing you do in isolation of the rest of the business efforts.’ Salma Jafri
Marketing is part of a bigger strategic agenda of the business. Understanding that marketing drives business growth is one of the most important ways to become a great marketer. With this in mind, a great marketer needs to be revenue and sales driven with complete understanding of the business purpose, vision, mission & objectives. That way the marketer is able to develop strategies that fully support Sales Activities, Revenue growth, Profit and in daily marketing lingo ‘drive Return on Marketing Investment’. Know your full P&L in order to be able to have meaningful business conversations.
2. Putting The People You Serve First to deliver Brands with a Purpose ( Putting Customers/Consumers First)
Notice that I said, ‘people’ not consumers. Consumers aren’t just consumers, they are ‘Real People’ with dreams, hopes, ambitions and fears. A good marketer recognizes that the so called customers/consumers are REAL PEOPLE with REAL needs. The moment we start to say ‘consumers’ we box them and miss opportunities to serve. Businesses don’t sell Products or Services, they sell dreams!! One other angle is that businesses sell the problem they solve not the product or service.
‘Good marketers see consumers as complete human beings with all their dimensions as real people have’. John Sacha
A great marketer needs to get under the skin of the target market. They need to get seriously close to the customers so that ‘they can even tell them what they need before they realise it themselves’.
Great products and services are born out of deep consumer understanding in order to mine insights to feed into the business for Product Development, Communication & Media Strategy & Sales Channel Strategy
Everything starts and ends with the people we serve One needs to clearly define the actual target people not ones the business wishes for: define your bulls eye target! Articulating the target and clear segmentation enables the business to market efficiently. It helps the marketer to work with agencies to develop insightful and relevant campaigns that resonate with consumers in a purposeful way. Consumers have now become more discerning and relate better to brands with a real purpose.
3. The Devil is in the Detail ( Flawless Execution:)
We all need to know that anybody can copy the products and services but nobody can ever copy execution. It is only when one understands the business & most importantly the consumer that they are able to deliver flawless execution & remarkable customer experiences. As Margaret Molloy notes:
‘Great Execution is the ultimate differentiator’ Margaret Molloy.
A great marketer understands the importance of planning and cross functional collaboration in order for the execution to be flawless. This means one has to work with Technical, Research & Development, Procurement, Legal, Sales, Human Capital, Finance & Customer Experience teams plus external Agencies in order to land GREAT marketing.
To be a great marketer you just HAVE to be in love with the DETAILS. For me this is the greatest nugget of them all as it defines your brand expression in the market and how consumers will experience your brand. Remember people vote with their pockets meaning that if they get disappointed they will just not come back.
Another critical element as part of the detail is ‘Tracking & Monitoring’ of activities in the market. ‘If you can’t measure it you can’t improve it! In this modern digital world, marketers are now able to make data driven decisions which drive efficient marketing. Measuring performance allows businesses to adapt and course correct on the go! Great marketers pivot & adapt their focus! They thrive on change.
A good marketer is able to build ‘Repeatable Models’ from executions that work & thus ‘Scale Up’ for impact.
4. Learning Spirit: Never Stop Learning
This point sounds easy, but it’s not. Everyday is a learning day for a marketer. Learning doesn’t necessarily mean going back to college, it’s simple habits like reading books, case studies, marketing articles from platforms like LinkedIn. If you want to be a great marketer, never stop acquiring new marketing knowledge. The latest area to learn is the Digital Space. There is so much to learn daily in that space, I encourage marketers to continue learning.
5. Passion, Energy, Enthusiasm: ‘The Marketing Flair’
They say ‘Good energy is infectious. Pass it On’. This is very true, great marketers are passionate about what they do! They don’t look at the job as a job but a passion. This trait will inspire confidence in the organization & literally sets the culture & tone of the organization. A great marketer needs to have what I call ‘Marketing Flair’.
- Steal with pride : if you find yourself starting afresh all the time there is something wrong with you! Rest assured, someone, somewhere has tried to do what you are trying to do! Learn to copy and improve!
- Courage & Tenacity: a good marketer should have determination to get over roadblocks, tenacity to overcome tough situations & patience to never give up. This in turn gives confidence to others and others FOLLOW
- People Builder: A great marketer builds a good team and develops
Article credit: Juliet Ziswa