Marketing = Advertising

Jerry Rackley

By Jerry Rackley

No, we here at Demand Metric don’t believe the headline of this blog post. Far from it. We marketing insiders know better – there is so much more to what we do than just make sure the ads get run. Unfortunately, I think I can safely assume that most of the marketing professionals in the Demand Metric community have worked with someone who believes this.

It’s frustrating when someone in the organization doesn’t “get it” when it comes to the value and contribution of the marketing function. It’s scary when that someone is in a position of authority over marketing.  As marketers, we don’t like it, but is it possible that we are at least partly to blame? It happens when we don’t draw the bigger picture of marketing strategy for the organization to see.

Many marketing organizations are pretty lean, operating just under the ideal threshold of staffing and resources. What often happens in marketing organizations like these is that strategy unintentionally gets tossed out the window. It doesn’t happen all at once; it’s a slow burn. Pressure to deliver starts to build, and the marketing staff soon feels like the only thing there is time to do is churn out project request after project request. Since there isn’t time to create and refine strategy to drive the projects, the organization slowly moves toward having the projects define the strategy.

You can tell if you’re in this marketing twilight zone using this scenario: if a company executive approached you to ask, “what’s our marketing strategy?” would you begin articulating the well-defined strategy you’ve been nurturing and following, or start to sweat? Another way is to candidly assess the nature of your projects: are they truly important or just urgent?

The value of a marketing strategy is more than just providing direction to the organization. It empowers the marketing team to intelligently discriminate between the myriad of project requests with which it is typically bombarded. It’s pretty easy to say “no” to all the distractions when there is a bigger “yes” in the form of a marketing strategy in front of you. Without such a filter, many organizations try to do too much, lose focus and feel guilty that they can’t do everything they’re being asked to do. No doubt, an energetic, creative marketing leader can carry such an organization a long way just on hard work and charisma alone. But eventually, a vacuum in the marketing strategy area creates more drag than the leader’s lift can overcome. You just can’t function long term without a marketing strategy.

The only way to overcome the tyranny of the urgent – those requests from all quarters of the organization that just don’t stop coming – is to erect a barrier in the form of a marketing strategy. This is why we created our series of methodologies, like our Marketing Strategy Plan methodology, to help you turn your strategic thoughts into an actionable plan. If your marketing strategy needs a dust-off, take a look at how this methodology can help. It’s just the thing to help you show that marketing is so much more than advertising.


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