It’s far too easy for marketing people to be disingenuous.
Why does a company market?
Well there are three key reasons:
• one- to generate demand for their products,
• two – to create awareness for their products as “air-cover” for their sales efforts and demand-generation efforts
• and three – to create brand equity otherwise known as good-will on the balance sheet.
These three goals are critical success factors for any company, but without a clear understanding of what they mean it’s far too easy for a marketing team (and the management team that pays marketing) to get wrapped up in the measure and loose site of the goal.
Demand generation is the term we all give to the process of bringing prospective customers to our sales organization. The idea is that marketing does “stuff” that carefully qualifies contacts and delivers them for sales to engage in meaningful dialogues that lead to closed deals. The challenge can be that marketing don’t always expend enough effort to qualify-out weak contacts and basically blast every business card they can find at sales to achieve their volume targets. Of course this means that sales are bombarded with thousands of names and phone numbers and can either choose to dial for dollars or ignore the output of marketing, and instead use their own networks to build their pipeline.
If the measure on marketing is to generate a huge number of “leads” where a lead is defined as the information on a business card, then marketing can absolutely do this. Marketing will achieve their goals but the business needle will not move.
Instead marketing should have the goal of generating leads that convert to qualified business. If a lead is not ‘converted’ by sales into an opportunity with a close date, expected value and a documented value proposition based on input directly from the prospect, it isn’t worth anything to sales. When you measure marketing on this type of quality lead creation things get real, really quickly.
Sales and marketing working together with marketing owning the market-to-qualified lead process and sales owning the qualified-lead-to-close process works very well. But if marketing own the mr-creosote model of demand generation where everything that goes into the bucket comes directly out again then marketing and sales are not aligned and no value is created.
A great example of a technique used to create Mr-Creosote marketing is the embedded pop-up ad. These annoying zones on web pages pop-up when you mouse over them or close by them, and they have a barely visible X that if you click on makes them close again. Many people fail to find the X and so click on the wrong area on the pop-up and cause it to spawn a web page. The Mr-Creosote Marketer logs this as a click-through. Showing incredible results from a marketing investment, because their measure was click through rate.
Of course these click-through’ s are not real, and this can be seen by checking the bounce rate. A bounce is where the prospect once going to a page, closes it straight away without delving any further. If your marketing department is getting massive levels of CTR (click through rate), ask to see the bounce rate. If the bounce rate is in the high 90 percentages, do the right thing and rip your mr-creosote marketer a new one.
Awareness marketing and brand-equity marketing, just like demand gen marketing need to be scrutinized to make sure what you are asking for in terms of goals are aligned with your measures. It’s too easy to achieve results that are not aligned to the business needs.
Marketing is a core fundamental requirement for a business, and it must be treated as such. Making sure that the person that leads marketing is part of the executive management function and that their goals are aligned with the business is the sure-fire way to make this happen.
If you bury marketing as a sub-element of sales or promote a long time junior person to run marketing, who does not have the experience of being a partner in the business, expect to see Mr Creosote sitting at your table.