Traditionally, marketing has been associated with the four P’s – price, placement, promotion and product. However, if you were to look at a typical business-to-business marketing organization today, this function is being diluted.
For example, marketing doesn’t typically own the product anymore; that’s the responsibility of product strategy or product development teams. And, in some larger companies, there’s typically an entire team that manages pricing as well.
Another area that has shifted is demand generation. With customer relationship management technology, the customer funnel is now controlled by sales. This new structure could mean more dilution of marketing responsibilities and a one-step-removed approach from revenue-generating activity.
What can B2B marketing leaders do to guard against the watering down of their departments? We share these steps from Debbie Qaqish, a principal partner and chief strategy officer at The Pedowitz Group.
A New Mindset. Your mindset is the collection of thoughts and beliefs that shape your behavior and habits. How do you think about marketing? What do you believe is marketing’s role?
There are two beliefs about marketing that shape today’s successful B2B marketer. First, B2B marketing is a revenue- and growth-driver of the organization. Next, B2B marketing is enabled by technology.
In companies where marketing is a revenue- and growth-driver, marketing isn’t facing dilution. Marketing in these organizations is actually acquiring more responsibilities. This realization is often the most difficult step because not just marketing, but sales, finance and the executive team may have to change as well. In organizations where marketing is diluted, marketing is often viewed as a “pens and mugs” and “activity-based” department. Once the right mindset is established, it can then be supported by the right skill set and the right tool set.
A New Skill Set. More attention is being paid to new technology than training marketers to acquire new skill sets, creating more opportunities for marketing to be diluted.
For example, imagine a large company where the marketing team is not viewed as very technical or analytical. That may have happened because when the marketing ops group was formed, it fell under the IT department. This is often a mistake as marketing ops is not an IT function. Had marketing acquired the right mindset and skill set, it could have owned marketing operations.
A New Tool Set. The concept of marketing automation today is typically not a problem, although some B2B marketers still operate without marketing automation. The issue today is that most marketing teams have too much technology; they don’t know how to optimize the tools they have. Determining what to buy, how to integrate and what to capture becomes a highly technical and analytical role within the company. For this reason, it’s common for marketing to borrow this capability from other parts of the organization — especially around analytics. This is a big mistake. If you want to own all of your potential, you need to have this capability entirely in marketing. Not doing so sets up more potential dilution and eliminates new responsibilities.
The Plus In The Equation. Positively, marketing is now impacting customer engagement. Marketing is beginning to lead the pivot away from product -focused to customer -focused companies by creating optimal customer experiences at every stage of the lifecycle. Customer engagement is an exciting set of new responsibilities for marketing, but marketing teams that are highly diluted will never get the chance to lead and participate. As the role of marketing continues to evolve, marketers must also evolve and become customer-focused change agents, accountable for revenue. As a modern marketer, you must guard against dilution by understanding these changes, challenges and possibilities. Then, take proactive measures to get your mindset, skill set and tool set in alignment.
Source: Debbie Qaqish is principal partner and chief strategy officer of The Pedowitz Group. She manages global client relationships and leads the firm’s thought leadership initiatives. She has been helping B2B companies drive revenue growth for over 35 years.