If sales is the lifeblood of a business, what does that make marketing?

It’s a well-marketed fact that sales is the lifeblood of any business. This got me thinking, what does that make marketing? Achieving sales is an outcome and in most walks of life – take sport for example – the person delivering the outcome gets the glory. This got me thinking some more.

We receive over 3000 marketing communications everyday and a large share of these are whilst we work- marketing is everywhere. Marketing is the brand experience and the acquisition, the conversion, and the retention of revenue. Marketers are the true heroes then, right? So, where is the glory?

I started my career in sales and was recently told that those moving from sales to marketing have either matured or were perhaps, not so good at it – a low blow or fact? So, I have experienced the glory and until now, as a business owner, have never quite appreciated the role of our marketers.

More and more of the selling process seems to be owned or influenced by the modern marketer and they are being asked to perform more miracles each day without reward or recognition like their counterparts in sales; something else that needs to be addressed, right?

No generation of marketer has had so many channels to work with – my last count reached over fifty and the skills required are growing exponentially: scientific analysis, automation, full-on digital, customer service, the art of conversation, the list goes on. This modern marketer is as rare as the great salesperson. We should be draping our marketers in glory!

This got me thinking some more about what marketers could focus on, to continue their rise:

Prove your worth
Track and measure everything. Set goals and not just around revenue. Digital brought about a revolution in tracking marketing effectiveness – it is your tool. Set metrics, split test and track success. And shout about it!

Increase budget efficiency
In most cases budgets aren’t increasing but targets are. Get smart around what works. We don’t have to settle for knowing just half of what works. And understand the business levers you can affect directly.

Embrace the mix
The world of marketing is converging and digital is at the forefront. It’s not just web strategy anymore. Leading the business through change and applying consistent messages across all channels will set you apart.

Bridge that gap
Successful businesses feature effective teams. Sales and marketing have history but they must be aligned in the pursuit of revenue. Marketing start the process, manage it through so should take the lead. Education and communication is key.

Fear nothing
Don’t fear social media, embrace it. Lower your expectations and start by listening, that’s 90% of it. It is just relationship marketing after all, something you have been doing for your whole marketing career. Don’t forget your social media policy and to train your colleagues.

The modern marketer has more skills, more influence, more responsibility and more revenue to find, but more tools in the kitbag. The marketing function is increasingly being relied upon by business owners as reputation and perception becomes key to lead generation. It must begin to be recognised.

So, what does that make marketing?
I’d say the heart and the soul of every business.

As published in B2B Marketing magazine – July/August 2011