Beth Harte is a seasoned marketing and communications thought leader, author, and speaker with a passion for excellence and a pragmatic mind for business and results-oriented outcomes.
When Gini Dietrich asked me to share a version of my tongue-in-cheek 9 Truths About Marketers post on Spin Sucks, I responded with a resounding “heck, yeah!” If there is an industry where spin runs rampant—it is marketing.
As a long-time marketer who truly is passionate about the profession and customers, I am always disappointed when I run into or work with marketers who could care less about the industry, how it has changed (or should I say how customers have changed it for us) and the need to change their marketing mindset.
The first challenge comes from the fact that marketers come in all shapes and sizes. Marketers have all sorts of educational backgrounds including degrees in English, Journalism, Engineering (true!), Business Administration, Fine Arts, Sociology, Psychology, etc. and some have no degree at all. Those dissimilarities lead to completely different outlooks on what marketing is and how to execute it. Some end up being great marketers and others… not so much. The next challenge is the sliding scale of dedication to the profession. For many, it is just a job and for others, it makes up who they are as a person—it is their identity.
With all of that in mind, I knew that recycling a post would not be enough for the smart readers of Spin Sucks. So I set out to write a post that was insightful, balanced, and less cheeky than the original.
Because pictures are worth a 1,000 words, I put together a visual representation of the Two Faces of Marketing—be sure to check it out!
- Marketers Are Behind the Eight Ball: Marketers are behind the eight ball. Social media, QR codes, mobile, automation are all still foreign concepts for marketers. Smart marketers know advantage comes from staying on top of their game.
- Marketers Dive In Without A Plan: Instead of planning for the efficient and effective use of resources, marketers focus on filling the lead pipeline. This type of indiscrimination leads to sales team frustration, wasted budget, and lack of ROI. Focused marketers understand planning leads to ROI.
- Marketers Won’t Challenge The Status Quo: Marketers like comfort because it is safe and less work to be on autopilot. Why buck the system, corporate politics or industry status quo? Sticking to “the way it’s always been” done is preferred. Curious marketers recognize asking why leads to better outcomes.
- Marketers Think They Are The Customer: Marketers often think they are the customer. Nothing could be further from reality. Justin Goldsborough captured this perfectly when he commented “Marketers think like marketers, customers don’t.” Diligent marketers appreciate customers have unique needs.
- Marketers Rely On Spray & Pray: Marketers believe that the more they spread their messaging, the better return they will achieve on filling the lead pipeline. Again, nothing could be further from the truth especially with the 1-2% click-thru and response rates that are normal today. Casting a bigger net does not lead to better prospects. Today’s customers are smart, they know how not to get wet or caught. Insightful marketers accept customers have gained control of the market.
- Marketers Don’t Get Data & Analytics: Marketers are behind on utilizing data and analytics as well. Impressions and hits offer nothing of value when it comes to making business decisions or calculating success. Marketers need to implement tools that can help them dig deeper, uncover prospect and customer behavior, and validate success. Savvy marketers realize competitive advantages and insights abound in data and analytics.
- Marketers Believe Social Media Is A Fad: Marketers aren’t diving into the social media pool because they don’t believe it’s a valid way of doing business. Who wants to “be friends” with a brand or “know what someone ate for lunch.” How does that help drive business when the only focus should be on shareholders! Social marketers witness customer relationships developed via social media (and they know how it drives business).
- Marketers Fall Into Complacency: Marketers do not recognize their true level of complacency until they are passed over for a promotion or are laid off. Then they scramble to catch up, but often it is too late. Industrious marketers embrace that knowledge and education trump complacency.
- Marketers Focus On Message Pushing: Marketers (and publicity folks, too) like to push their messages regardless of how the market pushes back. They often ignore how prospects and customers perceive their brand and in doing so underestimate how their messages lack any value for the receiver. Dynamic marketers believe customer experience is essential for creating loyalty.
- Marketers Assume Demographics & Psychographics Are Enough: Marketers are comfortable with the basics of slicing and dicing their target markets. Demographics are the norm while psychographics required a bit more work. The problem is that neither are enough for understanding today’s buyer. Forward-thinking marketers get sociographics and ethnographics are more important.
- Marketers Silo Themselves: Marketers like to specialize and rule the roost of their specialty. Specializing is not the problem. The problem occurs when there is a belief that their specialty trumps all others, which leads to territorial behavior. Customers do not know (or care) which team sent which promotion, but they do care when siloed behavior affects them (i.e. “that’s not my job.”). Customer-centric marketers know effective & efficient marketing is integrated and focuses on the customer.