Fight random marketing activities--one activity at a time

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We as marketers are accountable to drive the marketing strategy and execution that will support our business. Thus, focusing on executing priority projects is critical to success. Trust me when I say I’ve had my fair share of heated discussions in meetings around why marketing can't support certain programs/ideas. The reaction I get is usually the same: At first I'm known as that “useless” or “difficult” marketing person. However, once I explain why I need more information to justify supporting a particular program, the executive will usually provide the information—thus, everyone leaves the table with enough information to evaluate the request appropriately.  Of course, on the other side of the coin, sometimes they’ll respond with a hurried promise to get back to me with the information, but they never do. It’s the former that usually results in a new appreciation for marketing and what I need to do my job more effectively.

Despite our resolve, we aren’t always able to stick to our marketing plans, as it can be hard to say “no.” Be it the demanding sales rep who needs marketing support, or the senior executive who needs a press release issued stat (even though there is no actual news to announce), it can be a tricky balancing act to stick to your guns and stay on track. When marketers engage in activities that don't support overall marketing and business goals, we affectionately refer to them (thanks to Pam Marketing Nut's blog) as “Random acts of marketing, RAMs 1.”

Here are some tips and advice to stay focused:

Ask yourself: Is the marketing request in the plan?

 Even if it’s not, it could still be a good idea. I believe in agile marketing and adapting as long as the request supports the overall big-picture goal.

Is there a business case for the offer, program, product, etc.?

I love this question and still am surprised at the overwhelming amount of “no’s” I get. In technology we are especially guilty of the “build it and they will come” phenomenon. It should be revised to: “If you build it, execute it and market it, they will buy!”

Who is the route to market (RTM)?

In the b-to-b world this is both critical and complex, given the vast landscape of possible routes to market. These can include: direct sales force, alliance partners, channel partners, independent software vendors (ISV’s) and distributors. It’s imperative you know this to properly gauge success and ensure execution is successful.

Is the RTM trained and enabled to sell/market the offer?

Often overlooked, this component ensures routes have been trained and enabled to bring the program to market before it’s launched. Bear in mind this may require non-disclosure agreements (NDA’s) prior to launch. If enablement is not done, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Can revenue/metrics be tracked back to the program, campaign or offering?

If your goal is derived from something other than revenue, ensure you can show success and be able to track back to the overall objectives.

Is the activity funded?

Nothing’s worse than developing and writing out a program only to realize it has no funding or resources to execute it. By asking this question upfront, you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches. 

I hope this list helps you better manage Random Marketing Acts. What guidelines do you use
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