In my prior two posts on the roles of Marketing (part 1 & part 2), I reviewed the three roles of Strategic Marketing, Product Management, and Product Marketing. In this third and final installment on the roles of Marketing I will review Marketing Communications. Marketing Communications or Marketing Services is the role most often confused with “all” of Marketing. It is also the role where most of the money gets spent.
Marketing Services executes Product Marketing programs. These may include sales contests, public relations, advertising, trade shows, dealer programs, direct mail campaigns, etc. Here is where advertising and promotion get done. This function manages or provides the creative, and produces items such as brochures, advertisements, press releases, trade shows, websites, e-marketing, etc.
There is obviously an overlap between product marketing and marketing services in the area of defining and planning these programs. A senior, experienced, Marketing Services professional may be able to perform some of the functions of Product Marketing. Unfortunately, many times we place an excellent Marketing Services person in a position which really is Product Marketing — or worse, Product Management or Strategic Marketing . . . and the results are not satisfactory.
Marketing Services’ function is to create and manage the tools, support materials, and collateral that Product Marketing has determined are necessary to effectively implement the programs designed to achieve the strategy. Skilled Marketing Services professionals have excellent input regarding these tools and materials to assure effective results. Asking them to perform another marketing function is quite another thing!
There is a common belief that this role really can’t be measured as there are too many variables. The old expression “Half the money I spend on marketing is wasted, and if I knew which half I would quit spending it” exemplifies that thinking. The truth is that even mid-market companies can afford tools today to help understand and predict the best use of the Marketing Communications/Services investment. In a future blog post we can discuss these in more detail.
Now that we have reviewed the four roles of Marketing, what is the key to successful Marketing for your company? Simple: To see your company as you are seen by your customers. The primary skill required of great Marketers, regardless of the role they fill, is to think like a customer. Too many have been at it for so long they now hope the customer thinks as they do.