Remembering What Marketing is All About

I hope, for most us, that we’ve known what marketing has really been about all these years.  I’ve thrown this Drucker quote around enough and still, I have found too many marketers (a general term, I know) in big corporations who are bent on the creative, promotional side, cutting off their real efforts at the launch of a campaign, like building a ship and simply pushing it out to sea, leaving it to the mercy of the wind and waves.  Marketing isn’t about design, creative, advertising, etc. Marketing IS the business, and the business must generate revenue.

Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.” – Peter Drucker

It seems that small business marketers often get it better than big business marketers.  Let’s take the typical online marketer, for instance.  In the big corporation, the online marketer is optimizing pages, tagging code and doing site research.  They are tracking visitors and clicks and collecting all sorts of information.  The small business online marketer is tracking sales.  That’s the difference.  We’ve let marketing grow to be such a creative outlet, that creative activity has become the end, and its grown and grown, spiraling away from accountability and away from tracking what matters most: sales.

Technology is changing that.  Between marketing analytics programs like Omniture and Unica, we can now entertain ourselves with all sorts of metrics, etc. And with marketing automation systems like Silverpop B2B Engage, Marketo and Eloqua, we can track activities into the funnel.  We can now, more easily than ever, measure the results of a marketing activity from launch, all the way into the funnel and win/loss.

The chasm is closing between sales and marketing.  Technology is moving us marketers closer and closer back to direct accountability for revenue generation.  The only thing holding us back is ourselves, as “marketers”. I think we ought to change the term. I think we ought to call ourselves “Revenue Generators”.

I had a good talk with a friend about some of their marketing practices at their high-end management consulting firm.  I noticed that their site, approach and positioning had changed several times over the last year, and each time it became less clear and less open.  He told me that they had let their original marketing director go last year, and that’s why it changed. When I asked why they let him go, his answer was a simple, and striking, tell-tale of the landscape that we marketers venture today:

“He didn’t tie himself to sales, so the Principals couldn’t see how all the great things he was doing was impacting the business.”

And that, is that.

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