Don’t leave marketing up to marketers

“A business with a marketing department is like a church with a religion department”
– Mike Hutcheson

Slow clap, Mike. Slow clap.

Marketing departments and marketing people – we’re the fluffy ones, the hipsters with the nice hair, buttoned up collars, buzz words and snazzy charts. Segmenting us off from the main business is comfortable – you do all that over there, and we’ll be over here doing the real work, like manufacturing the things, or completing the service.

The truth is that a business’s sole purpose is to market – you are there to sell stuff. Each and every person in your organisation is marketing, in the decisions they make about everything from how a product should work or services performed to the very structure of the business.

Marketing shouldn’t be a department – it should be an attitude.

Even though our business is focused purely on copywriting, a lot of what we do requires the kind of strategic thinking you most often see from marketing and brand planning departments. Before anyone can write an effective brochure, we must know the answers to “what makes you special?” and “why will people care?” I’ll tell you what that answer never is – your integrity, your quality of service, your attention to detail. Because who cares? That stuff should be a given. What we need to get at is underneath it all, what will you do to make your clients’ lives better? What will they get that they can’t get anywhere else?

Your brand is your marketing attitude – and people buy brands.

Unless you’ve got a some kind of evil monopoly, the reason why people buy from you is likely to be your brand – how you make people feel about buying from you. And although the brand might be identified, clarified or even invented by the marketing team – it’s the rest of the business that has to deliver on it. That’s the real marketing. What’s the point in a nice, approachable website when no one can ever get you on the phone? Why invest in a new logo when you’re tradespeople turn up looking like they’re wearing yesterday’s clothes?

Every interaction a client (and even staff) have with you should be powered by that marketing attitude. So while it’s more comfy to leave the marketers to sit and talk about their onion graphs and return-on-engagement, it’s far more useful to involve them in your everyday decisions. They’re the people who understand how a business can be consistently living its brand – the key to getting and keeping happy customers.

So look around you. Are you a premium brand driving 1997 Honda Civics? Are you all about simplicity, with an office that’s impossible to find? Maybe it’s time to start considering everything you do through the lens of marketing. Start by working out what you stand for as a brand and make sure every department – not just marketing – is pulling towards that.