According to the American Marketing Association (AMA), marketing is defined as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” As I read this definition the word value stands out to me. Adding value is key to effective marketing, yet why is it that we seem to forget that fact in our everyday work life?
I have always seen marketing as a service-oriented business function. With marketing touching on so many different aspects of the business, marketing professionals are constantly interacting with many stakeholders, each with very different needs. Because these stakeholders both exist external (customers) and internal (sales) to the organization, it is important for marketing professionals to show the maximum amount of value to each stakeholder. This makes the job of a marketer particularly challenging as it can be difficult to prioritize and see the larger organizational picture. When we add to this situation the rise of Social Media and Internet Marketing (among other areas); marketers can easily and quickly put themselves at a disadvantage.
With many marketing departments and budgets shrinking, efforts need to be more streamlined and effective. Marketers need to work hard to gain trust among their internal customers and create value beyond return on marketing investment (ROMI). This means that they need to remain educated on the company, new marketing tools, and many times put egos aside. It is never an option to say “this is not a marketing function.” Bridges need to be built between marketing and the rest of the departments. In my experience, there is often a feeling that marketing lives in a bubble with little understanding of sales needs and customer wants. This is not always true, but perception is reality.
The simple fact of the matter is that value is subjective. Marketers need to work hard to make sure they are providing the best service possible to their company. The days of sitting back and waiting for results and praise are over. Marketing is now a fully interactive science with many moving parts. Don’t just brand your company; brand your profession and yourself. For marketing to truly move to the next level, professionals need to ask themselves, what value have I provided today?