Engagement Marketing

How Marketers Sabotage Themselves

I recently spoke to a group of marketers about our need to internally market the marketing function. Before we can begin to develop brand ambassadors or marketing champions, we need to engage ALL employees in what marketing does since each employee impacts delivery of the brand promise.

To better engage employees with our marketing programs, it’s important to understand how we inadvertently sabotage our own marketing efforts.

  • We fail to recognize that marketing is perceived as creating extra work for employees. I learned this lesson earlier in my career as a bank marketer. Whenever the Marketing Department would launch a new deposit promotion – offering gifts to customers for opening new accounts – most branch people were less than receptive. On top of their regular duties of meeting daily operational standards for efficient transaction processing, business development & sales goals, customer service standards and customer retention goals, we expected the tellers, customer service reps and branch managers to display, process, distribute and control inventory of whatever premiums that marketing had sent their way (stadium blankets, golf umbrellas, toaster ovens, VCRs, etc.). No wonder they wanted to bar the doors whenever they saw Marketing coming!
  • Just because the Marketing Department is part of the organizational chart doesn’t mean that employees know who we are and what we do. We forget that we need to continually educate others within the organization as to what Marketing really does … other than sitting around having a good time creating work for everyone else.

Our challenge is how do we engage employees who deliver on the brand when they have no clue as to what we really do and we have little/no authority over them?

As marketers we know how to develop and strengthen customer relationships; it’s not a stretch to apply this skill set to develop and strengthen employee relationships. But we’re so busy taking care of everyone else’s marketing needs that we neglect our own.

In what other ways does marketing sabotage itself? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experience on this topic.

6 replies on “How Marketers Sabotage Themselves”

Debra, Michael, Ron and Toby: thanks for contributing to this important topic! Your comments on continually educating people about marketing … outreach and collaboration … serving in an internal consultant capacity … and overall leadership are all keys to building trust and respect so that EVERYONE in the organization can work TOGETHER more effectively to achieve mutual goals. Marketing is serious business, not just “fun & games” as it’s often perceived.

Great post, Sybil! And excellent comment, Toby. As Ron Strauss (see comment above) once told me, “Brand is a leadership issue.” I think another aspect that we miss is that non-marketers think we do the “fun” stuff – after all, advertising, promotions, going on photo shoots,…that’s all fun, right? I once had a co-worker tell me, “Anyone can write a questionnaire.” Whether I am working with internal or external clients, I spend a lot of time educating people about marketing.

Also, by regularly involving various departments in the idea generation process, marketing departments can enlist allies and possibly identify ways to improve the customer experience. Too often, marketing people see themselves as creators, not optimizers or facilitators.

This has been the basic premise of Brandzone for over a decade. Our focus is on helping senior management understand these relationships, how a value creation network operates to create (and destroy) brand and market value, how to diagnose the issues, and what to do about them. It’s really about leadership and management in terms of understanding the brand promise and how the enterprise performs.

Sybil – great post for a wonderful discussion. If you begin to think of marketing as consulting for internal “clients” it opens up a world of possibilities to think a little differently in order to build those needed relationships e.g. from ‘educating’ to ‘client service’ to ‘selling in.’

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