Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tell It Like It Is

This post from the Marketing Profs Daily Fix blog about marketing job titles is interesting. There is a list of some alternate titles they've seen for marketing staff, and honestly, they don't make much sense to me; they include things like "product management" and "product development." (I should note that Roy Young, who wrote the piece, didn't endorse the idea raised by workshop participant that we should drop "marketing" from our titles.)

My problem is this: those things aren't marketing. They interact with marketing (or ought to), people who are good at them have some marketing instincts in their profile, but they're not marketing.

The topic that led to this was a discussion about what to do when marketing is undervalued in an organization. It's a good topic, and a situation that many of us have seen (if you haven't just wait - it'll happen).

If marketing is undervalued in your organization, you've got a problem. Who's watching your market to identify trends and opportunities? Who's got the plan to let customers know that you're there? Who's training the sales force? Who's tracking the performance of marketing programs?

Maybe those functions are spread among the product managers and sales management and the like. But even if that's true, there's probably a serious lack of coherence to how your company relates to its market.

If you're undervalued, don't play games by pretending you're not a marketer. Raise your value by explaining the results of what you do. If it's marketing programs, those should be financial results. Build your relationships with product managers so they see you as their indispensable source of wisdom and insight into the market. Work with sales so that you're a resource for them, not an overhead department that doesn't understand your challenges.

That way, whatever it says on your business card, your value will be clear.

1 comment:

Maureen said...

Not to get too circular here,since I shre this site with John, but below is the comment I made on the Marketing Profs post about marketing titles:

I'm not in favor of dropping the marketing name for some euphemism or "bait and switch" title. But I do think we need to do a better job educating people about what marketing does, who marketers are, what marketing contributes.

For starters, one thing we can do is make sure we actually know something about the products we market. I'm a tech marketer of long standing, and I've always been amazed to find "marketers" who don't bother to learn anything about the products or the technology they're working with. I'm not talking about becoming experts, I'm talking about enough fluency to articulate the value prop with some conviction!

Let's do our profession a favor by taking every opportunity we have to demonstrate that we're professional - not people who fell into the field because it "sounded interesting" (or by default).