The role of “marketing” is one of those subjects that often raises as many questions as answers. Now if people don’t excactly know what it is that you should be delivering, it is pretty easy to not deliver to a CEO’s expectations.
(I wrote about a related issue, how marketing is rated within an organisation, here in response to an Accenture report with some interesting findings)
THis is obvious from the fact that Marketing Executives have some of the shortest tenures in business.
Eric Kintz from HP (who has one of the most poetic titles I have seen for a while by the way: “Vice President of Global Marketing Strategy & Excellence”) writes an interesting article on the subject; “What is Marketing responsible for?”
My blogging friends over at Marketing Profs sent me an advance copy of their new book “Marketing Champions” (Wiley Editions) and I like their thinking. Their main argument is that CMOs have to a great extent failed so far to draw the linkage between marketing and the harvesting of cash flow.
They have developed a hierarchy of cash flow responsibilities that I resonate with at a high level. In their pyramid model, the responsibilities gradually build in their relevance to cash flow.
Level 1: Communications
Level 2: Lead Generation
Level 3: Revenue
Level 4: profits
Level 5: Customer equity (customer acquisition, customer profitability and customer retention)
There are not many companies I know where Marketing is responsible for all of the above.
If you would describe these responsibilities to someone and asked who was responsible, you might hear “the CEO” or “The Sales and Marketing Manager” but not “Marketing”.
Not that Marketing couldn’t do it. The problem is much more difficult. The problem is that the brand “Marketing” is not associated with it. “Marketing” is associated with communications, advertising, spending money.
And I doubt we can convince people otherwise. We can’t re-position marketing.
Time to re-brand. A new term, a new concept. Let’s get to work!