Marketing (not advertising alone) is Everything

The NY Post ran an article in their business section this week titled "Put CMOs on List of Endangered Execs". The article discusses how the duties of CMOs (chief marketing officers) have shifted to include more responsibility for strategy and growth - not just advertising. As a result of these increased responsibilities and expectations, the skills required for success as a CMO have changed. This might help explain why companies like WalMart, Gap, HSBC and Volkswagon have replaced their chief marketing officers in recent months. "They're not looking for an advertising person anymore," says Jane Stevenson, who heads Heidrick & Struggles' global search for CMOs. According to The NY Post article, Ms. Stevenson has seen a 40% jump in CMO searches.

This is a very good thing. And a wake-up call for marketing professionals. Too many marketing people equate "advertising" with "marketing". In fact, this is what drives a lot of people into the field. How many times have you seen marketers spending more time trying to think of a catchy new tagline than they do on the mechanics of an integrated direct marketing campaign? The former may be more fun and enjoyable but the later is what pays the bills - and keeps you employed.

Advertising (like public relations) is a tactical component to a larger marketing strategy/plan. And for many small to midsize companies in the HR space, a non-existent component (especially when it comes to print advertising).

At its highest level, marketing is all about getting the word out. While there is an art (creative aspect) to marketing, it is mostly a science.

Good marketing is about maximizing a company's publicity with the target market (in a manner consistent with the brand attributes - e.g. "safety" and Volvo), and driving the targeted audience to action (purchasing your product).

In the B2B space of HR, this means marketing supports sales by taking primary responsibility for lead generation. And because of the Internet's increasing importance in lead generation, today’s marketing executives should be measured by:

(1) Publicity (print and online)
(2) Web site traffic
(3) Qualified leads generated
(4) Search engine rankings for relevant keywords (this is also why marketing must be in charge of a company's web sites - not advertising people/agencies and not engineering).

Good luck marketers.

Posted by Mark Willaman

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