Marketing Misaligned: Your Buzzwords Aren’t Helping
You probably already know this, but there is a problem in marketing. Specifically, marketers are not getting the job done. They are not getting the results they were hired to achieve. It is my opinion this is because businesses don’t really get marketing, and marketers don’t really get business. Simply put, marketing is out of alignment.
Aligning Marketing to the Business
I’m a CEO, I get the perspective the most. I didn’t launch Tactical to be famous, I launched it to make a ton of money. My customers pay me very well to get results they can take to their executives or to their board rooms, and I’m very good at it. Having said that, I’m good at it because I understand the essence of marketing and how to run a business.
Marketers are mercenary storytellers, and every one of us knows that we can get sales to the starting line, but it’s the product and the sales team that will ultimately win the deals. Whether you are the marketer or the business leader, if you want the most from your mercenaries, you have to give them specific, achievable goals that are aligned with your business.
As an agency, I’m an outsider, and this affords me the opportunity to start with the basics on every project. I get to ask questions about your company, your business, your customers, and your sales process. As an outsider, my questions are often insightful and expose gaps in the business. People are impressed and wowed at the impact and ramifications of their answers on their business, sales, and marketing strategies.
I also know that it would be political suicide for an insider to ask the same questions.
For business leaders – it’s time to give marketing the safety they need to ask the right questions. Marketing has to ask these questions: “Why would someone need this?”, “What value do we provide?”, and “Why are we their best option?”
If the marketing team has to be creative to answer these questions, you don’t have a marketing problem, you have a business problem. These questions are fundamental to the success of your business. If marketing cannot clearly define them, then they fail to deliver – that’s on you, Mrs. CEO.
Firing the CMO won’t change the fact your business is not aligned to your customers. Equipping the CMO with the answers to these questions will allow her to succeed in aligning Marketing to the Business.
Aligning Marketing to Sales
Every time someone talks about Sales and Marketing alignment, they really mean, “Marketing gets with the Sales program. Deep inside the heart of every marketer that really gets marketing, they all know this is a problem. Lost in the corporate buzzwords and revenue goals, there is a simple truth that marketers know and can’t say.
• Every time a CEO says “the only thing that matters is the bottom line.”
• Every time the CRO says “no one cares about engagement, the only goal is revenue.”
• Every time the CFO says “unless you can show me ROI we can’t approve more budget.”
The heart of every marketer wants to give one very real, very honest answer.
That’s not how this works.“
– Every Marketer Ever
Marketing is like an engine.
Fuel, fire, and air create explosions that move pistons that turn crankshafts that transfer energy to the transmission, which spins axles that turn wheels. You can’t measure its effectiveness by any component, and you can’t succeed when any component is missing. Asking “What’s the ROI of my email campaigns?” is like asking, “What is the gas mileage of my transmission?” That’s just not how it works.
But they don’t say that. The marketer works to show the ever-elusive “ROI” measured in top-line revenue and bottom-line profitability. But no matter how much data they give, no matter how many facts they present, no matter how many reports connect their efforts to the company’s success – it’s never enough. Never enough leads, never enough revenue, never enough proof.
Sales and Marketing alignment is just that, an alignment. It’s a covenant between both groups around a common message and set of goals. These two organizations cannot be silos.
This is math, plain and simple. It requires crystal clear funnel goals that start with the total revenue number and work backwards from there. You have to build the engine.
• What is the revenue target?
• How many Opportunities do we need to win to reach that target?
• How many Opportunities do we need in the pipeline to win this deals?
• How many Marketing Qualified Leads do we need to become Opportunities?
• How many Leads in Nurture will generate those MQLs?
• How many engaged audience members do we need to generate those Leads?
• How big of an audience do we need to get that engagement?
• Will the market support this?
• Where will we find this audience?
• How do we communicate with them?
• How much will it cost?
• Is that budget approved?
If the Sales and Marketing teams are not both involved in this conversation, if they are not both in agreement about every single step in this process, prepare to miss your revenue target.
Neither of these organizations can function without the other. It is a symbiotic relationship, two legs on the same body. If sales is demanding “more leads” and marketing is demanding “more budget” they are both trying to solve the same problem. Pointing fingers is unproductive. Sitting down and making a plan is the only solution.
What’s the ROI? If you have to ask that question, you didn’t make the right plan. Neither team won on their own.
The ROI is your Quarterly Sales divided by your Quarterly Marketing budget.
Aligning Marketing to Marketing
This seems dumb, but it’s very, very real. Marketing departments are rarely aligned to the science of Marketing.
Marketing is an industry that is full of artists. The person who enters the field of marketing is typically not an analytical business driven professional. About 80% of persons in digital marketing have no formal training in marketing, and are trying to figure things out as they go without the skill set required. That’s OK, it works.
I believe marketing is a science. It’s predictable, measurable, and when done right, very scalable. I know that I can generate 1/300 marketing qualified leads for every database. I know the open/click rates on cold emails, warm emails, opt-in emails. I know how many submissions I will get on a form before I ever deploy a campaign.
I’m am not a better marketer than anyone else in the field. Armed with the same insight, I’m confident that any marketer who’s worth their salt will accomplish the same thing I can. I am very good at asking the right questions to define the business objective, form the marketing strategy, and make a tactical marketing plan that will accomplish the goal.
They key to aligning a marketing team around the science of marketing is to give them a plan. The artists don’t have to understand the objective, they just have to play their part very well. Overwhelming a copywriter with demands to generate leads is a fast way to failure. Giving that same copywriter the tactical marketing goal of “We want people to feel…” will equip them to accomplish the tactical marketing goal and the strategic business objective.
This is why it is so important to have a plan. Leaders must be leaders. Soldiers must execute well. If Marketing is aligned to the Business and to Sales at a leadership level, all that remains is effective management of the team.
As Leaders, it’s up to you to hold the stress and pressure of performance while the team you have built executes against the specific tactical marketing tasks you have assigned.
Then watch the magic happen.
So what’s next?
Every marketer wants to feel successful. Every marketer wants to know that they have the praise and admiration of their colleagues. They want to be recognized for the hard and brilliant work they are doing.
I love helping people, it’s what I do. As such, Tactical Marketing Automation is going to be starting a series of blog posts, white papers, and and videos designed to help companies develop their marketing business plan, strategic marketing plan, and tactical marketing plan.
If you haven’t signed up to our mailing list – now is probably a great time to do so.
Philip, CEO, has nearly 20 years of marketing experience and has served as a consultant, advisor, and resource for thousands of companies like yours.