The popular press can be very misleading, for so many influential people often venture beyond the boundaries of their expertise, and in the process offer opinions that, sadly, are baseless. Marketing seems a favourite topic. In this post offer a few comments that hopefully will bring clarity to some people about the expanded role and function of marketing in the modern organisation.
Kerin & Peterson (2013) begin their seminal text, Strategic Marketing Problems, Cases and Comments, by saying, “The primary purpose of marketing is to create long-term mutually beneficial exchange relationships between an entity and the publics (individuals and organisations) with which it interacts. Though this fundamental purpose of marketing is timeless, the manner in which organisations undertake it continues to evolve.”
Continuing, they claim, “The transition of the marketing manager from being only an implementer to being a maker of organisational strategy has resulted in the chief marketing officer (CMO) position. A common expectation is that the CMO will assume a leadership role in defining the mission of the business, analysing environmental, competitive and business situations, developing business objectives and goals, and defining customer value propositions and the marketing strategies that deliver on these propositions.”
I recall the days when the second largest bank in my native Jamaica had only one person in “marketing.” And that person’s function was to prepare calendars etc. How times have changed!
Even today in most firms the Board and top management are still dominated by people from finance and accounting who were not trained to contribute to the first line on the income statement-gross revenues. Gradually enlightened Boards are offering a seat to highly skilled strategic marketing managers, and leading CEOs are consulting them if they do not have the skills in-house: but that practice is still at the innovation stage of the cycle. In due time the early adopters and the early majority will get on board, so to speak. Aaahhh. Time.
So, here’s a question for all directors, CEOs, and senior managers. Is your firm employing the skills of a savvy business person that is schooled in the art and science of marketing strategy to create your road map to profitable growth? Or is “marketing” still mainly about the communication function?
Herman Alvaranga is a marketing strategist who may be contacted at email@example.com