In the News: We Are All Marketers
Forbes Communications Council
Written by Kris Kaneta, Chief Marketing Officer, TeleTracking
Since he was five or so, my son has wanted to be an engineer. More recently (he’s now 11) he’s heightened his aspirations to becoming the CEO of Apple Inc., though his most immediate goal of becoming an engineer remains. The way he tells it, he wants to “build cool stuff.”
When I asked if he’d ever consider marketing for a great brand like Apple, he dismissed the notion simply: “Dad, no one wants to grow up to be a marketer. That’s just something you ended up doing.” After taking some time for my ego to recover, I’ve accepted the genuine truth in his statement: No child aspires to be in marketing.
Kids want to play with the latest gadgets and technology — not decide whether anyone will pay for them. They dream of playing in the Super Bowl — not sponsoring the halftime show.
And yet I’d argue the ability for brands to tell a compelling story has never been more needed. Buying cycles are more complex. Competitive advantages are flanked by more would-be “good enough” products. And in the aftermath of it all, buyers are inherently more skeptical than ever before.
Depending on your worldview, that’s either good or bad news for the modern-day marketer. I choose to think of this as an extraordinary time for marketers; an opportunity to unquestionably prove marketing’s strategic value.
But make no mistake, the discipline of marketing does not rest solely on the shoulders of the chief marketer and team. While marketing must enable a differentiated and compelling value proposition, evangelizing it is the responsibility of every person in your organization.
Senior leadership, especially the CEO: They are the ultimate brand champion. They must articulate a clear vision for what the brand represents, and more importantly, must inspire belief in what it will be tomorrow. Beyond that, leadership should have a clear understanding of how marketing will be held accountable to the business and how those objectives align with broader strategic aspirations.
Service and operations: If there is one group most likely to be caught without a chair when the music stops, it’s your service and operations folks. Yet their role in fulfilling your long-term brand experience is among the most important. Make sure they have weighed in on your value propositions from the get-go and can ensure an enduring customer experience with a meaningful tie back to the brand’s promise.
Finance: While we may all be stewards of the brand, not all of us decide how much will be invested in brand building over the coming years. A CFO who clearly understands your overarching market position and brand aspirations inspires confidence not only organizationally, but also among external financial stakeholders.