I’ve been talking in my last three posts about the first three of five steps that B2B marketers need to take to grow the link between marketing and the business leadership. There is a real need for good marketing out there. And in my experience, it is possible to grow the link between marketing departments and the businesses they serve. It takes time, care, and proof of delivery to create trust. It requires a brilliant and dedicated team of marketers committed to the cause and it requires the preparedness of a few business executives to go on the journey to provide air cover. I think there are five steps that B2B marketers need to take to grow the link between marketing and the business. Time for step four!
To grow the link between marketing and the business, you need a brilliant and dedicated team of marketers committed to the cause. And if you don’t have them already, you need to up-skill those you do have or recruit them in. Given the state of marketing right now, up-skilling is the better bet as our’s is not a profession that the talented want to join. A 2018 Hubspot survey found that marketing was less attractive as a profession to newbies than stock-broking and law, and just slightly more attractive than lobbying and selling used cars. Up-skilling requires the marketing team to spend time in the business it serves. At British Land, I now have the marketing team hot-desking with the parts of the business they serve. At PA Consulting Group, I looked for opportunities to give high potential and senior marketers a business role on secondment to gain an understanding of business pressures and how a P&L works. I set up a Marketing Academy to support this process and linked it to career development. Indeed so successful are these Academies, I’ve set them up in every role I’ve had for the last ten years. In recruitment, I look for opportunities to bring in people with P& L experience. I want people who understand the pressures and priorities that come with that responsibility. In fact, this understanding is more valuable than advanced marketing qualifications or broad marketing experience.
So, step one is that: marketers need to focus our work on outcomes not inputs or outputs. Step two: we need to work at the strategic bits of marketing. Step three: we need to cut out the jargon. And step four is to build up the skills and expertise of the marketing team through training and recruitment. The final step next time!