Past practice in our industry has been to wrap two critically important responsibilities together under one manager. More specifically, itâs not unusual for the management responsibilities related to sales and marketing to be delegated to a single individual. Why? Candidly, I think this practice has been a function of ignorance and frugality. The result has been to either sub-optimize the quality of sales management, or to sub-optimize the quality of marketing management. In over 35 years in this industry Iâve met many who were more skilled at one discipline than the other (mostly better at sales management), some who were equally incompetent at both, and only a handful who were skilled at both. Iâm here to tell you that times have changed and itâs time to staff each of these critically important positions with separate individuals who possess the unique skills and competencies related to sales management and marketing management.
Years ago the typical understanding and approach to marketing was very basic and elementary. We understood we had to find a way to âdifferentiateâ ourselves from the competition. We narrowed our strategies to three options â lowest price producer, leading edge technology provider, or the best customer service provider. We focused our âmarketingâ efforts on producing slick, overly designed company brochures that touted our newest equipment and lists of our features and benefits. We might get adventurous and place poorly designed advertisements in trade publications, or exhibit at trade shows where we had no idea how to manage the booth. If our sales efforts werenât meeting expectations we focused on what we figured had to be problems with our sales force.
One of my important post-merger responsibilities is to oversee the execution of our associationâs marketing efforts. This has been an eye-opening experience that has helped me to develop a much greater appreciation for what solid marketing practices can do for organizations and businesses. The fact is that effective marketing is the fuel that drives your revenue generating engine. Without effective marketing practices and disciplines even the best sales force will fall short of expectations. Donât get me wrong, Iâm still far from being a marketing expert. We are fortunate to have the support and direction of our friends at InterlinkONE and GrowSocially. However, my involvement has enabled me to develop an appreciation for how complex and multi-faceted good marketing practices have become. Almost everything we do here with our ânewâ association flows through, or is touched by, our marketing efforts. We utilize multiple channels and multiple media to communicate. We create interactivity and opportunities to create dialog between members and with members. And, we measure everything we do to determine the effectiveness of our practices. Each month a strategic plan is created for the month outlining all of our planned marketing projects and processes. Each week we develop a six page âmarketing scorecardâ that reports the results of everything we worked on during the previous week. Every conference, or event, we run is carefully planned in advance by our marketing team.
Yes, itâs a substantial effort requiring considerable resource and commitment, but without this discipline our efforts would be poorly coordinated, poorly executed, and haphazard. We are still working on perfecting our processes and systems, but Iâm convinced that our success is heavily dependent on our commitment to marketing. Consider me to be a convert.
The purpose here has been to recalibrate the importance of marketing to those who still believe it can be tucked under the sales management umbrella. Regardless of where you position it within your organizational structure, effective marketing demands at least the same level of attention and commitment you give to sales management. This is true regardless of the size of your company. Not sure how to get started? Send me a note and weâll provide some guidance. If you would like to see a copy of our âmarketing scorecardâ let me know and Iâll be happy to send you a copy.
More food for thoughtâŚ