You’ve earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in earned media. You’ve built your Facebook fans to 10,000 in 6 months. You’ve increased the lead funnel by 15% over last year.
You’re the golden child of the organization; you’ve played squash with the CEO and received the keys to the executive washroom.
All is right with the world.
Until the company’s fortunes or the economy in general takes a downturn and the marketing budget is the first to get cut and the first department to see layoffs. Your executive washroom keys are taken back; you’re shocked that you once again have to “go” with the rest of the nobodies in the organization.
You bide your time and do more of the same with less. Then (Oh Happy Day!) the economy rebounds and the marketing budget is the first to reap the rewards of the loosened purse strings.
Anyone in the marketing industry for more than 10 years, be they a corporate marketing or agency professional, has experienced this phenomenon at least once. When the business or the economy suffers, just as marketing is needed the most, CEOs stop investing in it. When the company’s fiscal outlook swings “to the black” and everyone is optimistic, budgets return to normal.
To my fellow marketers, what does this universal truth say about what CEOs really think of marketing or the value they place on what you do? I’ll tell you: it says they see you a marketer, not revenue generator. Your department is a cost, not a profit center.
Do you still think that branding, brand awareness and lead generation are the goals of marketing?
“What is the value of a mother’s hug?”
AAARRRGG! A week does not go by that I don’t bang my head on my desk in frustration with the articles, presentations and social commentary I see marketers spewing about the value and importance of branding and engagement, especially in the discipline of social media.
Of course brand awareness – the first stage in the customer life cycle – is important; without it, marketers and sales teams cannot nurture the client towards strong purchase consideration. Of course social media is important; without it, we cannot identify the opportunities and obstacles in the way of consumers’ decision-making processes. Of course content marketing is important; without it, we’re not seeding social proof into the newly-social search engines.
All of these go-to strategies and tactics marketers are so found of promoting these days are important, but without a calculation that demonstrates how they’re turning the marketing department from a cost-center to a profit-center, marketers will forever be the fair-weather friend of the CEO and the board of directors.
So, are you a marketer or a profit generator?
Feed Your Community, Not Your Ego
Image Credit: George Marks