Most marketing managers would prefer to spend 100% of their time on marketing and 0% of their time on management. Unfortunately, the more senior the marketing manager, the more this balance must shift toward management over marketing. Marketing management means more than just telling people what to do and when it needs to be done. Marketing management means deploying a marketing organization and supporting marketing management process that enable marketing teams to thrive, because they provide the right balance of innovation and production to meet the overarching goals of the marketing department. Improper care of the marketing management process as a business grows leads to some all too common marketing management pitfalls.
This is the fourth post in a Markodojo marketing management blog series on marketing process management. The first three posts in the series focused on the importance of marketing leverage in driving sustainable revenue growth and the organizational options for scaling marketing teams as a business grows. This fourth post highlights five common marketing management process pitfalls that you should avoid at all costs.
“I manage by hiring the best marketing managers and getting out of their way.” While a seemingly grand sentiment, this quote implies an abdication of marketing management leadership. The flip side is that if you lose one of these great managers, then that area of your marketing department comes to a screeching halt. If you manage by walking around and then simply hire great marketing managers who also manage by walking around, then your marketing organization will not adapt and will not scale. Hiring the best is always a good idea, but it is the senior marketing manager’s responsibility to provide an environment in which the best can thrive, including a robust marketing management process where performance is not dependent on a specific marketing resource.
You can’t growth hack a trade show. As your marketing organization scales, it’s essential to deploy marketing management processes that fit the strategic needs of your business, which can vary dramatically by market, product, geography, etc. Globally applying a single marketing management process methodology, such as agile marketing, optimizes some areas at the expense of others. Similarly, over-reliance on simplistic tools, such as spreadsheets, constrains marketing performance because they don’t enable creativity, efficiency, automation or adaptability in your marketing management process.
Marketing managers usually think a lot about customer communications and very little about marketing management communications. Effective communication is the oil that keeps your marketing machine running, whether it is creating budget buy-in with upper management or motivating sales reps in the field. If no one knows what marketing is doing, then even successful marketing programs can fail to meet management expectations. Each audience that contributes to marketing success: marketing teams, agency partners, sales reps and mangers, engineering teams, executives, etc. should get the right marketing management communication to meet its needs.
In theory, marketing provides leadership grounded in superior understanding of customers. In reality, marketing is a corporate function that can easily lose touch with customers as it scales. Moreover, the increased focus on marketing analytics brought about by online marketing makes it easy to forget that customers are real people. When it comes to understanding customer needs and motivations, clickstreams just don’t cut it. Your marketing management processes should encourage personal customer relationships and funnel customer feedback directly into marketing programs to enable continuous improvement.
Without a clear marketing management process and dedicated marketing management systems, marketing has no organizational memory. Knowledge evaporates on flash drives and important marketing relationships lie hidden away in email boxes. Without history, it is impossible to establish benchmarks. Without benchmarks, it is impossible to improve. Staff turnover compounds this lack of marketing memory. Onboarding is slow. Mistakes are repeated. Rework becomes the rule. And, critical marketing relationships with customers, vendors, and industry influencers erode. Without marketing memory, marketing is always reinventing the wheel.