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So, Everyone Thinks They're a Marketer
Unlike other career functions, marketing is everywhere – both in and outside of the workplace. From the ads you see online to the pictures you post on Instagram, everyone is constantly engaging with the same marketing tools we use to promote our businesses. But that ubiquity has a dark side; it makes everyone think they’re a marketer. From your boss to your spouse to every co-worker you work with, everyone has an opinion on the “best” way to market a product or service.
[Related: Jump Start Your Marketing for 2018]
Don't get me wrong – #marketing is fun, and I’m glad that so many take an interest, but to actually be done well, it needs to be strategic – and tie back to data and ultimately an ROI. In fact, I’ll let you in on a secret: data is what drives marketing. You can read more on that here.
The truth is there’s a lot more to marketing than simply posting an image on social media. Today’s highly interconnected world has given each of us a platform and a voice, and anyone can Tweet or post on Instagram or Facebook. But one thing that differentiates a person with access to social media from a marketing professional is those of us in the business study market trends – and adjust our strategies accordingly. And not just in social media, but in blogs, op-eds, bylines, SEO, SEM, content, creative, sales enablement tools, etc. The list goes on...
What Does That Mean?
It means good marketers are also great researchers and data geeks. We run carefully crafted surveys to assess market attitudes and learn about our competitors. We conduct focus groups to fine tune our messaging. We look at sales numbers and manage P&Ls. We strive to know our audience, and we seek feedback – early and often. It’s a highly directive and coordinated approach. The days of throwing spaghetti on a wall are over for marketers as we have embraced new tools for measurement, productivity, impact and ultimately a lift or shift in revenue.
For example, in only two decades marketing, advertising and journalism have been completely disrupted by the birth of the internet and social media. When I joined the creative world in 1998, our channels were limited to radio/TV/outdoor/print; then the internet boomed, and we had to learn how to maximize pay-per-click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO). Another decade later, and we had to master social media and everything that went with it, including account-based marketing (ABM), social selling, leveraging influencers and managing a viral brand.
Strategy First, Then Tactics
Often a business partner might come to marketing with an end product in mind. “We need a video and a new website! Oh, and we need it right now.” A strategic marketer will pause and ask some questions.
We always want to start with the goal and the audience. Where are we now, and what needle do we want to move? Who is the intended consumer? What’s worked in the past? What’s failed? What have we not tried? What are other trends in the market? What are the competing forces? How will you use this marketing product? And most importantly, how will you measure success?
You see, the new video or website (or what-have-you) are just tactics and may not even represent the best tactics toward meeting a particular goal. With strategic marketing, we never start with the end-product. Anything we produce should be a result, not the driver, of the strategy.
What Else Does a Marketer Consider?
Once we move past the concept phase, marketing executes strategy. While the layers may be gone from a media perspective (anyone can communicate directly through a social media platform), a smart marketing team works to develop the entire strategy from behind-the-scenes.
As we execute, we are looking at search engine optimization, Google algorithms, business-to-business and business-to-consumer nuances – just to name a few. We’re conscious of spend and outcome. We are familiar with copyrights and the appropriate use of images. We are the hub of the wheel that connects product development, design, sales, and our consumer audience.
The next time you have a marketing goal, don't assume one person's opinion is as good as the next. Come to the marketing team. We'll ask the right questions and come up with a strategic solution (backed by research) that delivers the results you're looking for.
Photo credit: Campaign Creators
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
Chief Marketing Officer
First Advantage Corporation
I am a closet data geek and a social media addict, who some call a marketing maven. With over 17 years’ experience in my field, I have witnessed drastic changes in marketing and advertising specifically with the evolution of the CMO and the role of social media.
From my early beginnings at with Dodge Automotive at BBDO to launching the 20/20 Vision