I recently attended B2B Marketing’s 2020 Ignite conference and a theme that struck me was as a profession we’re still falling short in truly aligning marketing with all areas of a business. Yes, we’re a much better job of aligning marketing with the sales function, but what about other areas? HR, Recruitment, Customer Services, Product Development?
No function is better placed than marketing to advise the organisation on how to grow and thrive. But how can we do this if we don’t understand and work with all of its parts?
It still bugs me that in many professional services firms, stakeholders still view the marketing function as a reactive producer of siloed activities, not a proactive driver of business success. My view was backed up in the research undertaken for our new report , Standing out in a Crowded Market: 5 Ways to Succeed in Professional Services Marketing, where our survey showed up a perception gap between what marketers think and what their business leaders think. While both groups agree that marketing is pretty well joined-up with sales, links with product development for example are weak. And marketers are markedly more confident about their collaboration with other areas than business owners are.
This wider-business perception has to change.
The question, of course, is how? Here’s a five-step guide to getting into the driving seat:
- Map all the customer touchpoints across your organisation.
- Join up the data from all your sources – including your CRM, Google Analytics, social media and SEO tools and marketing automation/email platform – into a single reporting platform. (Ideally, one with a dashboard for easy reporting on your KPIs.) If you can, explore ways of connecting this with the data other functions are collecting (think customer insight data, employee survey results and data in your organisation’s applicant tracking system). Some platforms will incorporate non-marketing data using plug-ins and integration tools. (see bullet 4 for why!)
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. As part of your marketing planning, hold individual meetings with your main stakeholders in all the functions you identified in step 1. Contribute to their planning, too – for example, by helping HR to create an employer brand. Then catch up with those teams regularly throughout the year.
- Always arrive at these meetings with relevant data and insights, so you can advise your stakeholders on what they need, rather than be told. This will also build your credibility by turning the meetings into business conversations, not marketing ones. And ultimately, it’ll put you in a good position to drive business decisions and help achieve the KPIs the business uses to measure success.
- Send team members to gather intel and experience as short-term secondees in other key departments, and vice versa. It’ll help you build a better overall picture of how things work in your organisation and how you can make them work better..
To find out more about how you can build your leader’s social voice, download Standing out in a Crowded Market: 5 Ways to Succeed in Professional Services Marketing, where we share the five areas of marketing focus we think would help you to overcome your current challenges, practical tips and advice to help you stand out from your competitors, insights from your marketing peers at Adecco Group, Deloitte, EY and more, together with the 5 things your buyers want you to stop doing.