The Marketing Strategist:
What is Marketing’s New Value Proposition?
Nearly 150 marketers and business professionals tried to answer that question when they met in Cambridge, MA, on December 4 and 5, for ITSMA’s 19th Annual Marketing Conference. Although the conference was postponed due to Hurricane Sandy, we were thrilled at the attendance. Nearly all of our original speakers were on the final agenda, and 85% of those who originally planned to attend the event in October were able to make it in December, along with some new attendees. At the beginning of the conference, I challenged attendees to think about marketing’s new value proposition and how both individual marketers and marketing teams need to change the perception of marketing through better internal communication. I asked a few leading questions and offered some research and insights: Why does marketing need a new value proposition? As marketers, we know that marketing is contributing to the business. But according to a recent study by Capsicum Group, “senior executives at B2B services companies see the marketing function as being out of step with the rest of the business, lacking accountability for delivering the business results.” This isn’t the first time marketing has gotten this criticism. Clearly, marketing is not communicating its value to senior executives. From our view, companies need marketing now more than ever as they seek to grow in a difficult economy. Marketing must do more to convey how it contributes to growth and profitability. That starts with understanding the business leaders’ goals and implementing the right set of marketing activities to help them meet those objectives. At the same time, marketing needs to continuously monitor and communicate, in business terms, how and where marketing is helping to achieve business outcomes. Bottom line, marketers need to change the way they talk about marketing. What should marketing’s new value proposition be? At ITSMA, we think that marketers have to play three distinct roles. Depending upon your company’s particular business strategy, one of these roles will take precedence as you craft your new value proposition. The three roles are as follows:
- The Business Driver creates value for customers and ultimately for the business. The strategic business driver instills an outside-in orientation, looks forward and assesses the market and opportunities, and provides insights on customer wants and needs. The strategic business driver also collaborates with the line of business/P&L owners to shape new offerings and innovations, and determines the right marketing programs and campaigns to drive business in targeted areas.
- The Relationship Builder builds relations with customers and with sales. The relationship builder nurtures relationships with customers and prospects two ways:
- Aligning with sales to not just fill the pipeline, but also to build and nurture relationships throughout the end-to-end process.
- Developing relationships directly with customers through on- and offline community marketing, customer engagement, and advocacy programs.
- The Effective Executor improves the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing. This means doing more with less, building a dynamic and flexible global workforce, making data-driven marketing decisions, calculating ROI, and using data and predictive analytics to improve marketing’s business impact.