Friday, May 29, 2009

OnlineSpin: Is Your Company The Marketing?

Last week Max wrote "Things Suck."

Chas. Salmore wrote in response, "MAX, I loved your 'SUCKS' article.

It reflects the lowering of our cultural bar - not only in the world of advertising, marketing and promotions - but sadly within our entire society.

SUCKS' is just the jumping-off point.

Just consider the sad level of education which is being provided to future generations.

They cannot spell, they cannot communicate effectively and they are entering the work force ill-equipped to engage.

In the future, 'SUCK' may become standard speech, at the rate things are going."

Friday, May 29, 2009
Is Your Company The Marketing?
By Max Kalehoff

In the gaming world, in-house PR pros are better than agencies, Ben Kucher writes in Ars Technica: "Dealing with many people in the PR business is a painful affair. They only know the bullet points for each game, they become uncomfortable when asked substantial questions, and, way too often, looks are prized over skill. This doesn't have to be the case. By cultivating your own PR team, hiring gamers who honestly love the product and know it well, and staying up to date on the industry as a whole, you're guaranteed to have a PR team that more effectively talks to gaming writers, the mainstream media, and the gamers themselves."

Now let's broaden this discussion beyond gaming, to more general marketing practice. In my experience as a marketer at a few leading interactive-marketing and measurement companies, in-house PR and marketing is almost always the best way to go. But the dichotomy of in-house versus out-house prevents an even higher calling, a greater evolution of marketing within the enterprise.

What higher calling? On a pragmatic level, why not strategically view your entire company as your marketing team? Why limit imagination and opportunity through silos and top-down departmental power structures? Sure, departments may help drive accountability. But if marketing is not fully embraced as part of every employee's job, then the firm is strategically disadvantaged. Importantly, this idea doesn't end with employees; it applies to external stakeholders like customers and partners, who should be counted as members of the team as well. Marketing leadership is shifting from command-and-control to cultivate-and-coach, and the failure to rally the entire organization and external community is one of the biggest threats to CMO sustainability.

I feel so strongly about this idea, I've made it my personal platform --  not only here, but inside my own company: Marketing is reputation, and the company is the marketing. Specifically, I consider the goal of marketing to build an authentic and stellar company reputation. Reputation creates tailwinds that drive business development, customer acquisition and loyalty, product feedback loops, human resource capital and market valuation.

How does it all happen? Here's how we approach it:

  • Everything must be rooted in a strong culture, well-defined values and a compelling brand.
  • The culmination of all experiences created for stakeholders subsequently creates reputation.
  • The role of the marketing team is to provide thought leadership, a framework and tools that empower and activate the entire organization to participate in advancing reputation.

    Is your company the marketing? Is your community the marketing?

    Me? I prefer to have everyone on our team advancing the mission.



  • Max Kalehoff is vice president of marketing for Clickable, a search-marketing solution for small and mid-size businesses. He also writes

    Online Spin for Friday, May 29, 2009:

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