Three Ways To Transform Your Marketing Department’s Organizational Impact

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Whitney Cornuke is the SVP of Marketing at TalentLaunch. She has 15 years of experience in marketing, brand, and retail strategy.

At a recent staffing industry conference, I found myself in a room with other marketers asking a seemingly existential question: What is marketing’s role in an organization? Too often, marketing is thought of as the “make it pretty” department, a back-of-house function that churns out beautiful brochures, well-crafted images and social media posts. But companies that view marketing this way are missing out.

With a background in consumer packaged goods brand management, I’ve always operated with marketing as the business driver. As a brand manager, I led the overall brand strategy. Defining the consumer target, positioning the product, setting pricing, executing advertising—I touched everything that influenced how the brand (and its products) showed up in the market.

Then, I joined TalentLaunch and, like the other marketers in that ballroom, learned that strategic ownership wasn’t a given. When used in a strategic context, marketing is so much more than catchy taglines or attention-grabbing emails. It’s the process of creating brand value. Great marketers understand the interests, motivations and behaviors of customers and connect that to product strategy. Marketing is at its best when it is informing and influencing the entire product development lifecycle. Yes, this eventually guides creative output—powerful visuals to capture attention, messaging that compels customers to take action—but it begins by defining and articulating the value proposition and ends with an ongoing and profitable customer relationship.

Marketing can be the fuel to ignite growth. But how do you get there? Here are three ways to position your marketing department to maximize its impact on your organization.

1. Give marketing a seat at the table.

If there isn’t a marketing leader at executive-level strategy meetings, there should be. Marketing needs to understand the overall marketplace, customer problems and key business objectives in order to be most effective. When marketing is an afterthought, it becomes a support function. The real value can only be realized through a strategic partnership with sales (or any customer-facing team) that includes marketing as part of the upfront process.

When I joined TalentLaunch, it was the first time a marketing leader was included on the senior leadership team. My participation in those discussions has not only educated me on the business landscape but allowed me to influence strategic priorities and build brands that better deliver on customer needs.

2. Create an integrated strategic plan.

Once marketing has a clear understanding of the top growth initiatives, you can design a plan to help deliver them. Get together with sales and map out the customer experience journey and jointly identify the opportunities.

Launching a new product or expanding into a new market? You need brand awareness with the right people, likely through targeted paid media. Trying to convert more prospective clients to customers? You need to reach potential customers at the right moments with a motivating and clearly articulated value proposition. When Marketing has insight into what the business is trying to achieve, it can make powerful and impactful choices. This also means identifying what you’re not going to do. Time and resources are limited. Advocate for your team to spend time on the most strategic, revenue-driving activities. That digital flyer for employee happy hour? Probably not a priority.

3. Measure your results.

The very best way to propel change in how your organization views marketing is to show them the numbers. I don’t just mean impressions, open rates and click rates. Those are useful metrics to measure the top part of the funnel or how your content is resonating with your audience, but likes and comments don’t pay the bills.

Instead, partner with your sales team so you can measure the bottom-line impact. Talk with your business analytics team so you can connect your marketing efforts—paid search, social media, email marketing, advertised gated content, pre-roll video, etc.—to real results. This is easier said than done in many industries, particularly the B2B space where conversions aren’t instantaneous, but tools like Power BI and Google Analytics can help connect marketing qualified leads with purchases so you know the tangible impact your team is making.

The bottom line is marketing is way more than advertising and creative materials. It’s the connection between the customer and your business proposition. When that comes together, magic happens and business results often follow. Of course, shifting an organization’s mindset and habits doesn’t happen overnight. But when marketers start with strategy and then unleash their creative energy, that’s when the fun really begins.

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