I feel very privileged to have pursued a career in marketing and one of the great aspects of any marketing role is the ability to feel like you have temporary guardianship of an entity that genuinely matters and means something to (hopefully) a large or at very least increasing number of people. Done well and marketing can make all the difference, done badly it can make no difference.
The benefit of perspective offered to me by currently sitting away from the corporate roles of yesteryear has helped solidify a strong sense that capable commercial marketers can be a real game changer for businesses and marketing done well can reap real rewards. Marketers that really focus on effectiveness and impact are to my mind those that really deserve recognition. No-one (certainly in the board room) will thank you for stellar awareness or engagement scores and other equity measures if the reality is your brand is not delivering against the required commercial KPI’s.
There are some simple things that I believe marketers can do to help themselves and by their very nature their branded responsibility;
- Never lose sight of the important of insight; insight is critical to neutralise conjecture and root marketing thinking in genuine needs and white space. It allows thinking to be built from fact and evidence and allow a much more seamless passage through the inner workings of the organisation before it ever sees the light of day by your shoppers, consumers etc etc
- Think commercial, be commercial; Marketers need to be all over every aspect of their branded P&L, it’s unacceptable to devolve that responsibility elsewhere. Treat every £ as though it is your own and challenge every aspect, input cost or output spend. Step away from your ivory towers and spend time with sales colleagues, customers and shoppers – it’s some of the most powerful time you’ll ever spend and will be a great source of insight and learning. Finding innovative ways of engaging your customer base will likely win you great support from your sales colleagues and give you a better chance of standing out from the competition.
- Planning really is everything; as I wrote in another post, proper brand planning is critical to joining the dots in any organisations strategic intent. Taking time to undertake the process properly, including relevant stakeholders and have a rolling plan based on evidence stands a far better chance of winning. Being prepared to reflect and learn and being big enough to realise that elements can always be optimised and improved is an aspect of a grounded and humble marketer I’ve always valued.
- Be brave and be prepared to take calculated risks; safe marketing is normally missed. Bravery doesn’t necessarily mean taking silly risks but well evidenced ‘brave bets’ stand a way better chance of cutting through and being impactful than doing the same old thing. Some of the best examples of great marketing typically have had some degree of bravery associated with them. The same applies to people, some of the best marketers I’ve ever worked with have not been classically trained but intuitively and strategically they can be really effective, be prepared to be brave and give people opportunities and chances.
- Stepping outside the silo and looking around; Inspiration for marketers surrounds us every day but marketers can have a very nasty habit of trapping themselves in their silos and navel gazing. Some of the most effective ideas I’ve been privy to have been inspired by stepping back and looking around, be it at other categories, other businesses, other brands or simply time spent listening and learning from everyday goings on. For instance, the Knitted by Nana’s campaign for Shreddies was simply born out of a briefing session that took place in the factory (and yes Nana’s really do knit Shreddies!).
- Recognise you are a temporary guardian; great brands will long exceed the guardianship which you have been granted. My ambition has always been to hand off a brand when changing roles in better shape than when I inherited it.
- Enjoy the variety and keep on learning; marketing roles are what you make them. It’s often an enviable role and offers the great privilege of interaction and leadership across the functions of any business. It also offers a fantastic opportunity for continual development as many of the fast moving aspects of innovation will closely interact with a marketer’s day job.
I honestly believe that marketing is one of the most rewarding career paths available, the challenge is to ensure that the people developing and delivering your marketing programmes really buy into what they are seeking to deliver and have the capability and commitment to make a commercial difference. Good marketing makes a difference, poor marketing gets missed.
Like the title says….
Marketers and their brands usually get what they deserve.
Want to cut through and develop meaningful brand thinking that can deliver real impact?
47 Marketing are pleased to offer a workshop designed to help deliver a systematic approach to brand planning that will reap the dividends of attracting the attention of internal and external stakeholders and ultimately help you achieve your commercial KPI’s.