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  • Pete Steege

What is Marketing's job?




My definition of marketing is optimizing your company's customer relationships from cradle to grave. If that's true, should Sales report to Marketing? How about Customer Support or Account Management?


It may seem confusing, but Marketing can sometimes be a very small organization or budget in your company and still have a really important role. So here are some ideas to help you understand what Marketing's job is in your company.


It comes down to direction versus deliverables. There are a couple of core functions, core roles in your company that make it successful. Each of these groups has two kinds of responsibilities.

  • They have things to do every day. They have deliverables that are their job and they're held accountable for.

  • They also have a directional role for your company. They help everyone be on the same page and aligned and work together so you can succeed.


A couple of examples:


HR - that's the people group - they are responsible for your company's people being the best they can be. Right? Does that mean everybody reports to them? No, they are responsible though for processes and policies and compliance and hiring/firing maybe, but they enable everyone to be better with a culture, with behavioral norms and with a common understanding of how your company treats their people.


Likewise, Finance is the money team. They have some deliverables related to balance sheets and accounting and investing, things like that, but they enable everyone in the company to budget successfully and constructively and in synchronized ways, and to create some common norms about how your company treats money and manages money.


Marketing is one of those core functions. In the best companies, Marketing has the core responsibility for relationships. In that role they have deliverables that they are accountable for every week or every day related to campaigns, website, messaging and how the message gets out.


But they also have a very important directional role for your company that is related to your story, your message about who you are, who you serve, how you serve them and how everyone in your business shows up to do that.


Having that directional alignment is essential for the success of an organization because it allows your prospects and customers to see you consistently and to grow - to be in a better relationship with you. Sales has a vital role in your company's success as well. I would say their role is more about customers, and marketing's relationship mandate complements that.


So everyone doesn't have to report to marketing, but marketing does have the lead for your company's relationships and your company will do better when everyone acts in concert with marketing's leadership.

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