Market the Value of Marketing

July 20, 2018
Contributor: Chris Pemberton

Adopt seven steps to effectively communicate the value of marketing across the business.

A retail brand that invested heavily in cross-functional customer experience (CX) improvements got a surprise when it analyzed key metrics. Customer satisfaction and Net Promoter Score — two key CX metrics — hovered at pre-CX investment levels. A widespread root cause analysis identified an uncomfortable truth: Marketing was not as collaborative as it needed to be to push forward a cross-functional initiative.

“It’s critical that marketing leaders develop reliable, positive relationships with internal stakeholders.”

Given the highly collaborative nature of the function, it’s critical that marketing leaders develop reliable, positive relationships with internal stakeholders. Cross-functional initiatives such as CX lead to greater customer satisfaction and loyalty, so the ability to clearly convey related strategic plans and business results to internal stakeholders is more important than ever.

“Marketing leaders must establish an effective means of evangelizing the value of marketing to the company to grow influence, strengthen internal support and demonstrate business impact,” says Chris Ross, VP Analyst, Gartner for Marketers.

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Ross outlined seven steps marketing leaders should take to become more effective at communicating the value of marketing:

  1. Focus on outcomes. Results resonate, so clearly state where marketing provides value. Whether communicating about potential future results or sharing outcomes from existing programs, speak the language of results, not activities.
  2. Develop your narratives. Clearly develop and directly connect core marketing narratives to the overall business strategy. Then tailor narrower messages about programs, campaigns or significant activities to individual constituencies.
  3. Target your audience. Identify and prioritize your most important stakeholders and develop audience-specific communication plans. When prioritizing your constituents, factor in their interest and influence, because although some internal audiences may not be interested in detailed updates, they may wield tremendous influence.
  4. Be proactive and strategic. Schedule regular calls, meetings or updates. Proactive communication demonstrates a desire to collaborate and inform, leading to more productive relationships.
  5. Provide context. Include relevant connections to real people, processes or technology in your communications. It demonstrates empathy and respect for the audience.
  6. Mobilize your team. Weave core narratives into ongoing team discussions and programs to make the messages part of organic interactions within the marketing organization. Transform the marketing team into characters in the story rather than observers by encouraging them to use these core narratives in their interactions with cross-functional peers.
  7. Build credibility with consistent wins. Demonstrate progress, even in small increments, to make marketing’s impact real. Keep your internal audiences engaged through regular messaging that highlights modest achievements.

“Evangelize marketing’s value and strategy to develop influence and visibility across the business and drive key decision support that helps deliver results,” says Ross.

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