Why Marketing Does a Terrible Job of Marketing Itself


On the TV side today, my colleagues are taking a look at how business is getting done now in "the new normal." We all know that the old "business as usual" line is dead: put a fork in it, it's over, gone, done.

Everyone from top to bottom is having to refocus doing business in this "new normal" world...including those who are the trendsetters, the marketers.

Today's guest blog is about how marketers today must undertake a fundamental "shift" to help drive both growth and the bottom. In this post, author Scott Davis reveals the five shifts marketers must now make in the "new normal."

Guest Author Blog
Guest Author Blog

Transforming Marketing and the Business: Let the Shift Begin!

By Scott Davis author of The Shift: The Transformation of Today’s Marketers into Tomorrow’s Growth Leaders

Marketing does a terrible job of marketing itself. We create a doom loop, becoming the “logo cops,” making brochures, and setting up campaigns, all within the isolation of our silos and feeling like we’re not adding much value to the company, or driving it forward.

But a different sort of marketing leader is emerging that’s breaking that loop and creating a whole new profile for others to aspire to.

There’s a transformation to the Visionary Marketer, who is known less for creative ad campaigns and more for his or her influence throughout the organization. It’s a function of the Visionary’s proven ability to leverage a deep knowledge of the customer relationship to meet the drive for business growth.

The Visionary Marketer:

  • Uses profit and loss as the barometer of every decision he or she makes.
  • Fosters deep and collaborative relationships with peers in the C-suite
  • Has relationships with and reports to the board of directors.
  • Is driven by the growth agenda, and finds ways to link marketing to a three to five year business growth plan.
  • Commands the innovation agenda.
  • Most importantly, has built cross-functional teams of smart people who don’t just bolster his/her game, but support a far-reaching agenda that meets the business growth imperative.
The Shift
The Shift
The Shift

Marketers who aspire to become Visionaries must undergo five Shifts, to:

1. Going beyond merely designing and executing the marketing plan, to focusing on driving business strategy. To get there, the marketer must use customer insights as a secret weapon, operate with a profit-and-loss mindset, and earn organizational credibility and trust.

2. Acknowledging and capitalizing on the fact that brand building has changed radically. Shift from trying to control the message to galvanizing the network. Understand that consumers and other stakeholders are constantly influencing and driving the brand forward and work diligently to harness the power of this network.

3. Leading the way on innovation-supporting strategies. Visionary marketers think less about incremental improvements and more about new business models, new customer experiences, new pricing, and new channel strategies that means the innovation imperative is always being fed.

4. Thinking and actions that inspire marketing excellence versus managing marketing investments. Visionary Marketers are motivated to maximize investments made across all the marketing levers, no longer tolerating or finding useful a siloed focus on marketing communications alone.

5. Creating an environment and culture that is relentlessly customer focused. Visionary marketers are selfless when it comes to looking at growth. Their emphasis is on finding ways to organize and serve in a way that optimizes the customer experience versus what’s expedient for internal, operational purposes.

Making the shift is a major statement, a necessity, a symbol and a transformation – all at the same time.

And the five shifts are equally important to marketers and to the businesses behind them and their executive teams.

They represent an opportunity for marketers to rebrand marketing’s role, function and overall positioning in the company from being just a sales enabler to being a value driver across the enterprise.

For the company, these shifts enable deeper customer insight, more meaningful revenue and margin streams and a return on all marketing and sales investments that go well beyond the expected.

Let the transformation begin.


Scott M. Davis
Scott M. Davis
Scott M. Davis

Scott Davis is a senior partner of Prophet (www.prophet.com), a global consultancy that helps senior management create enduring market leadership and business impact.

This article is based on his new book, The Shift: The Transformation of Today’s Marketers into Tomorrow’s Growth Leaders (Jossey Bass).

He can be reached at sdavis@prophet.com, or follow him on Twitter: www.twitter.com/scottdavisshift.