I am of course biased but I really believe Marketing has a fundamental role to play in business growth. It has the opportunity to be the engine room of growth and can take real ownership and provide thought leadership to help direct the future roadmap for any company. Too often though the marketing function does not help itself and it can find itself playing a subservient role particularly to the sales function. The reality is that both marketing and sales are the joint owners of the commercial objectives for any business and the most effective teams I’ve been part of have clearly defined goals and sign up to the same agenda for growth.
For me the most effective marketing starts with genuine insight and this is a real game changer for helping businesses align behind the most effective ‘big bets’ that will drive the greatest impact. Insight also does a great job at neutralising conjecture and hypothesis which are very dangerous platforms to base any strategy. The power of a motivating insight is that it is an easy call to rally behind and brought to life in an engaging programme it can fire up customers and shoppers into buying into your proposition and best of all when it delivers there is a shared sense of collective success.
Teasing out that winning insight is critical and I’ve been fortunate to work with some very talented individuals who have an real knack of using data and information to identify that a-ha moment that will make the real difference. The reality of course is that the answer is very often all around us and sometimes it is the simple connections, actions or information that join the dots and the answer emerges almost before your eyes.
Translating into an effective plan is a critical step and even if you have the most potent insight in the world, the challenge is bringing it to life in a motivating and effective format. Over the last few years I’ve settled upon using a simple egg timer framework as one which works well for me. It allows a sensible flow of logic and insight to ultimately output a set of actions that bring to life thinking that I know is routed in evidence and can pull together a coherent set of actions that ultimately will drive positive impact against the category, engage the customer, inspire the shopper and benefit the business. In a nutshell building plans with ideas at the heart that will sell.
Marketers for me are at their most effective where they think commercially, have a great understanding of where/when/how their brands operate and get out of the office and spend time looking, listening and interacting particularly with trade contacts. I’ve always found sessions with trade contacts a brilliant way to ensure you have not fallen into the trap of becoming an ivory tower marketer, one of my personal pet hates. In a world where brand P&L ownership should sit firmly at the heart of the business and marketers be very familiar with the input costs and prioritise output expenditure, the function should be very well placed to identify and prioritise ideas that will fire up all parts in the chain and fundamentally deliver those critical sales.