Thursday, June 30, 2011

The main cause of the death of Marketing VPs are Sales VPs....

By Mark Helfen

"The main cause of the death of Marketing VP's are Sales VPs," said Dave Kellogg, speaker at the July 13 SVForum Marketing SIG.  
(You might notice that the SDForum is now the SVForum. New name, same pizza....)

Kellogg's history gives him a unique viewpoint. Starting out in marketing as a product manager, he eventually moved up the ranks and became CEO at Marklogic, a software firm.

He views marketing as a service organization. The marketing department "doesn't have to exist. It's only purpose is to make others productive," particularly sales. As soon as the marketing VP forgets this, he and his department are in trouble.

Most CEO's don't come from a marketing background, and even have less appreciation than Kellogg does, viewing it as a "sink hole," or "money vortex."

"Deep down, they don't understand," what marketing does, and feel vaguely uncomfortable writing the check to pay for it.

Even Kellogg, wearing his CEO hat has a cautious view of marketing, noting that "Marketing is easy to cut, and delivers the least tangible direct value."

So how can marketing be successful, get funded, and continue to exist. The trick is to have a "mantra" or "guiding light" - to make sales successful. But don't just think that you're doing this - actually ask to find out.

He suggests regular surveying of to find out what the sales department thinks of marketing. Ask how your department contributing, who does sales trust and value. Measure your helpfulness.

Eventually, "the CEO will ask anyway. You should already know the answer."

The marketing department needs to be accountable. The sales department is highly accountable, with requirements to make specific monetary sales goals. Sales looks across the hall and views marketing as the "non-accountability department."

Marketing needs to state objectives, and then show that it meets them, to be accountable.

So for more hints on how to keep those marketing paychecks flowing, come to Monday's meeting. Please be prepared to demonstrate your contribution.....

Please register in advance at our Meetup page to attend.


Mark Helfen is a freelance writer, journalist, and marketing consultant.

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