Never mind that most marketing actually sucks and fails to stay focused on those key goals. There is another equally ominous danger here. That is, establishing a marketing department effectively balkanizes marketing ideation and implementation from the development and execution of the company’s core business strategy. This cannot be allowed to happen. Marketing is the process of growing a business. To separate it from the development and execution of business strategy means that you are effectively diminishing the impact marketing can have on the company.
I see this soooooo often. Some firms struggle to understand my frustration at their approaches to strategic planning that are many steps removed from their marketing professionals. I've even had a law partner tell me that "marketing has nothing to do with strategic planning." HUH??
You know how it goes: the top people in the company, be it the president or a management team, develops a plan for how they want to grow the business, and once that is set in stone, they turn to the marketing folks (some think of them as marketing flakes, which they often deserve, because they do not force themselves into the business-building process). The tools and initiatives required to grow the company have to get force-fed into a strategy that has already been signed, sealed and delivered by the powers that be. What an idiotic mistake.
What to do about it? Mark's first three suggestions:
- Stop allowing your marketing people to be balkanized into a department.
- Instead, make the marketing people part of the management team.
- Weave the marketing people through all of the company’s processes from the beginning
His whole post, and the comments, are worth a read. (And if you're a marketer, don't let yourself be a "marketing flake"!!)