One of the things that has been bothering me a lot lately is the perception that our job as a marketer is to “make things look good” or to “come up with a name for catchy name or slogan for something.” Not to say that we don’t and can’t do that, but I hate the fact that often times this is the perception people have of what we do. Counter to this, my view of marketing is as simple as the definition:
the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.
Our job at its core is to sell things. It has a lot more to do with making money through driving profitable revenue than it does with making things look pretty (unless of course making it pretty is what makes it sell). To be good at what we do, you have to think and research what makes people buy something – considering the process, or decision journey, that our consumers use when considering our goods or services within the industry in which we operate. From here, a marketer works hard to come up with marketing tactics to help get our brands, products or services at the top of the consideration set for the buyer and ultimately get them to buy.
So why does the perception exist that we make things look pretty? Why isn’t it common understanding that our goal is to drive sales? We do it to ourselves. I believe that most times this perception exists because we don’t do a good job articulating the goals of our work and being accountable link the ideas we execute to revenue (or admit that they didn’t work if the link doesn’t exist). We as marketers get caught up in the craft, the pure idea, the way it looks, without staying focused on the business impact of these ideas we execute.
Don’t hear me say that the idea and the craft isn’t important. It is the most important thing that we do – produce ideas that drive sales. The best marketing I have seen has been built from a great idea. It has been executed in a way that is compelling visually and in words. It has been executed in a way that drives action from the consumer in a way that drives revenue for the business both in the short-term and the long-term. This intersection of the idea and the result is the craft.
We must commit as marketers to get better at linking what we do to driving sales for our companies. We must talk the language of business growth and link our decisions as much as possible to driving that growth. We must be transparent when things aren’t measurable – and there are many that aren’t. And where they are measurable, we must connect the dots for the teams around us. If we do this well, we will enable creativity within our marketing teams and allow ourselves the time, money and thinking space to come up with the next idea that will build our businesses. And, we will have a lot of fun doing so.