We can talk community. We can talk loyalty. We can talk brand value. We can talk 30-second spots. We can talk Social Media. All of that is fine and dandy, but for Marketing to truly be respected, it's going to need one thing and one thing only...
During the two-day summit that was the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) National Convention last month (full disclosure: I sit on the Board of Directors of the CMA and act as the Co-Chair for the National Convention), both Avinash Kaushik (the Analytics Evangelist for Google and author of Web Analytics - An Hour A Day and Web Analytics 2.0) and Ken Wong (the esteemed marketing professor from Queen's School of Business) pointed out that as long marketing does not focus (with a red laser's eye) on profit and the overall economic value that it brings to the company, brand, products and services, all is lost.
Economic value and profit is more important than creativity... it's sad (but true) to say.
Kaushik actually remarked that it is "God!" If Marketing does not focus on the overall economic value that it adds to a company's bottom-line, we're simply going to be referred to as the people who make those cute commercials or the folks who put the pretty pictures around the products and services (and let's face it, none of us want to be regarded as the people who are "on Twitter and Facebook for us." That's just depressing). The fight for the c-suite boardroom, where some companies do have Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) - and some don't - is an important one for marketers to rally around. Let's not forget about about The Four P's of Marketing. They're more important than ever and they're critical to the overall health and wealth of the company.
Sometimes, marketing does focus on the wrong things.
The first step of solving the problem is in admitting that we have a problem. We are all a little too quick to get excited about logos, commercials, online social networks and iPhone apps versus looking at a P&L or sitting through the revenue generation meetings. Perhaps if we became a little more bold and focused on the left side of the brain as much as we tend to focus on the right side of the brain, there would be that much more respect for Marketing (in the boardroom and in the mass media's eyes as well).
We can do this.
Thinking about the business first. Focusing on the numbers and the overall economic wealth of the company might not stifle the creative sparks. In fact, being acutely tuned in to the overall business might force Marketing to get that much more creative. I get where both Kaushik and Wong are coming from. It can't all be Converse Chuck Taylor's and Beer Friday. We're going to have get more serious about diving in the analytics of this all. Even the basic website analytics that are being stored within a finger's reach aren't being capitalized on the way they should. We're still too busy looking at unique visitors and traffic spikes versus running multivariate testing to see which landing pages the customer prefers. That doesn't kill creativity, that makes creativity more creative. Instead of designing one page (and hoping our gut instinct is right), we're now able to experiment with multiple pages and then use the data and analytics to optimize.
This will push creativity.
Instead of seminars on brand management and how to market your company on Facebook, maybe there needs to be a marketplace for courses on profit and economic value? How many Marketers do you know that would attend one of those seminars? We're going to have to push Marketing in this direction. It's the one thing all of the other business units are paying attention to, and it's probably one of the few things that - when done right - will really put Marketing where it deserves to be in the corporate food chain (think: close to the top).
Who is with me on this?