Marketing and PR people have a collective difficulty getting our departmental goals in sync with the rest of the company. And our management teams go along with this dysfunction. Think about the goals that most marketers have. They usually take the form of an epic to-do list: "Let's see, well, we should do a few trade shows, buy yellow page ads, maybe create a new logo, get press clips, produce some T-shirts, increase Web site traffic, and oh yeah, generate some leads for the salespeople." Well, guess what? Those aren't the goals of your company! I've never seen "leads" or "clips" or "T-shirts" on a mission statement or balance sheet. With typical marketing department goals, we constantly focus on the flare-up du jour and thus always focus on the wrong thing. This also gives the marketing profession a bad rap in many companies as a bunch of flaky slackers. No wonder marketing is called the "branding police" in some organizations and is often the place where failed salespeople end up.
Many marketers and PR people also focus on the wrong measures of success. With Web sites, people will often tell me things like "We want to have ten thousand unique visitors per month to our site." And PR measurement is often similarly irrelevant: "We want ten mentions in the trade press and three national magazine hits each month." Unless your site makes money through advertising so that raw traffic adds revenue, traffic is the wrong measure. And simple press clips just don't matter. What matters is leading your site's visitors and your constituent audiences to where they help you reach your real goals, such as building revenue, soliciting donations, gaining new members, and the like.
This lack of clear goals and real measurement reminds me of seven-year-olds playing soccer. If you've ever seen little children on the soccer field, you know that they operate as one huge organism packed together, chasing the ball around the field. On the sidelines are helpful coaches yelling, "Pass!" or "Go to the goal!" Yet as the coaches and parents know, this effort is futile: no matter what the coach says or how many times the kids practice, they still focus on the wrong thing—the ball—instead of the goal.
I was delighted, then, to read Marketing Champions by Roy A Young, Allen M. Weiss, and David W. Stewart. In the book, the authors analyze why marketers have fallen into the traps of not focusing on organizational goals and more importantly, what can be done to align marketing with the rest of the company. There's a ton of practical advice for managing "north" (with your bosses), "east" (peers—such as sales), "south" (building marketing’s brand in the organization) and "west" (opportunities, technologies and the like). This is a great way to look at marketing and the book organization works.
One of the authors, Roy A. Young is Vice President of Development for MarketingProfs.com, a terrific site providing both strategic and tactical post-MBA marketing know-how to Internet and offline marketing professionals in medium and large corporations, through a combination of provocative articles and commentary.
Read the book to learn how marketers must champion marketing in order to surmount such obstacles—to deliver their promised value so that they and their companies can reap the benefits.
Disclaimer: I write occasional articles for, and have conducted a Webinar with MarketingProfs.