Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Role Of Marketing

The Marketing Department, in any firm, is the keeper of the company story.  Marketing is in place to support Sales and Account Management; but also to manage Public Relations, Advertising, Websites, Social Networking, Convention, or Conference Participation and the Prospect List.   More and more, Marketing has a role to play in preparation of Informational Webinars.   Marketing owns the image of the company and must protect it at all costs, which can often mean dealing with trademark, or service mark infringements. 

Years ago, when I was a young manager in Sales and Consulting at Merrill Lynch, I took it upon myself to create my own proposal paper that positioned the Merrill Lynch Bull in the bottom right hand corner of the page outside a double black line that created the frame on the page.   I got away with using this paper for about a year until one day, I got a call from the Merrill Lynch Bull Police in Marketing at Corporate Headquarters in New York City.   The woman who called me informed me that they were aware that I was using the Bull in an unauthorized way.   She went on to say that the Bull could only be used when next to the Merrill Lynch name and then only in approved Templates.  I was told to cease and desist, or I would be fired.  Suffice to say, I learned a valuable Marketing lesson and that is never, never mess with the company logo. 

A good deal of time in Marketing is often spent in dealing with major Requests For Proposal (RFP's).   While Marketing typically does not control Pricing, it is often Marketing that works with Sales and Finance to secure Pricing for a pending proposal.   RFP's often come in as a result of the work of the Sales force.   When an RFP comes in out of the blue, without any Sales involvement, which frequently happens, this Blogger CEO attributes that RFP to Marketing Spend, rather than the efforts of our Sales People.  Ideally, I would prefer that not more than 30% of RFP's happen as a result of Marketing Spend because it is always best that a Sales person have a relationship with the prospect to have a better chance of winning the business. 

The Director, or VP of Global Marketing should have a place at the table in Strategic Planning and most company discussions to be fully aware of the latest and greatest in Operations and all departments, or divisions of the company so that such information can be properly represented in marketing materials, Websites, advertising etc.   In companies that practice continuous improvement, this means constant updating of Marketing information. 

Marketing plays a vital and never ending role in every size company.  It is virtually impossible for a company to grow without a sophisticated Marketing Department, especially today with all the Internet connectivity that is necessary to control a company's message.   In our particular case,  as the Founder, Primary Owner and CEO of our company, our Director, Global Marketing reports directly to me because the image of our company is very important to me.   That may not be common in much larger companies;  but since Marketing is so integral to company success, this CEO would always recommend a strong dotted line relationship, at a minimum, to the President, or CEO of the company.  

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