Marketing truly is at the cross roads of all internal departments in an organization. Marketers closely work with all functional areas – which is one of the reasons that marketing is the most exciting profession of all. (No, there is no bias on my part with that statement. None at all.)
What do I mean by this? Let’s look at different areas of a business and how marketing fits in with each.
Marketing and sales must work hand-in-hand – you’ve heard this from us at ECS before, from both me and Bill Morrow (the ECS sales guru), and perhaps you were even at our workshop on the topic earlier in 2018. Without strong marketing, your sales will suffer. If your marketing is strong but you don’t have a solid sales team in process in place, well, you certainly won’t sell and you have a major problem.
Marketing and new product development is an intuitive match – as fantastic new products come to market, a solid marketing strategy is needed to help convince the target audience that they should buy.
Marketing and HR must align for many reasons – most importantly to retain employees and attract new ones. A company that works hard and ensures it has a bench of solid talent will no doubt have excellent communications both internally and to the outside world.
Over the course of my career, I have seen marketing and customer service joined at the hip more often than not. Marketing often has an active hand in developing the scripts and the communications strategy for this group. The customer service/customer relations team has a hugely important task – they must work to placate upset customers, solve their problems, and keep them happy, so that customers actually remain customers over the long run.
Marketing and IT is another great match. Think about marketing today – it relies heavily on technology, and marketing has a big say in what platforms are required. So these two departments have to work hand in hand.
And next up on the list is…..finance. And while some marketers I know are not overly fond of the finance department, I love this team as finance powers marketing AND keeps us on our toes.
- Finance ensures marketing keeps to a budget. Marketers do tend to be optimistic, and with this enthusiasm may come the plea to expand the amount of money spent on communications initiatives. The finance, team, however, will ensure that the marketers prioritize and stick to the planned resource allocation. Following this guidance makes us smarter marketers.
- Finance makes sure the marketing team quantifies it efforts. And this is certainly in line with how strategic marketers think. Marketers know that communications efforts must deliver an overall positive ROI (return on investment), otherwise why do them at all? If marketing campaigns and promotions don’t have a decent ROI, they are a drain on the organization. Marketers must learn to say ‘no’ when a campaign or initiative doesn’t make sense.
- Finance funds marketing! Marketing has a big job – to keep everything from branding and messaging current and resonating with the target audience, to determining what investments in technology are needed to retain a competitive advantage heading into the future. And who is the gatekeeper to the spending of money? Finance, of course. When marketing and finance work strategically together and make sound and forward-thinking strategic decisions, magic happens.
One of the most important things a marketer – or any non-finance professional – can do is become better versed in ‘speaking finance’. The upcoming ECS workshop – “Finance for the Non-Financial Manager” – will help all business people become more confident in understanding and communicating financial numbers, which will only strengthen one’s role as a leader. ECS’s Hilary Norris and Jason Fisher will lead the discussion – learn more and register here. You won’t want to miss it!
Laurel Cavalluzzo is a Strategic Marketing Specialist at Empirical Consulting Solution with more than two decades of experience. She loves to chat about cross-functional initiatives, and (no surprise) loves to talk all things marketing.