I’ve been thinking a lot about the function of marketing lately and its role in the business. What IS our true purpose in marketing?
Perhaps it was seeing lava flowing on the Big Island over Thanksgiving and the calm reaction of the residents as it slowly shifted directions, burning up everything in its slow progression. That was a very clear message that nothing is permanent in life, everything flows and changes.
That experience certainly made me think more about what are we trying accomplish collectively as marketers. Or perhaps it was David Aaker‘s comment earlier this fall at the Silicon Valley Brand Forum that “brand” is still a bad word with executives, better to use “corporate reputation” (so sad to think we still have to “spin” the facts internally to make them palatable …). A discussion ensued with the marketing leaders present there from Cisco, NetApp and HP, that even the word “marketing” can be tainted. I think this is where the seed was planted that bloomed on the lava fields of Hawaii.
The more I think about it, though, the more I think that the essence of great marketing is growth. Without growth, marketing is just fluff.
Whether you are repositioning for growth in a new market, repositioning to adapt to a changing world and stay relevant, or launching your new product or company for the first time, the key measure of success in all these ventures is growth. Is the marketing work you are doing paying off in the form of more customers, more profitable customers, or even your first 1000 customers? Growth means different things to different companies. But growth is what marketers need to focus on. Not on giveaways and slick parties (unless they ultimately lead to sales).
What’s your growth strategy for 2015? Where are you focusing your marketing energies? I’m curious to hear what you think will be most valuable for your company next year ….