(Reposted from David Edelman; April 24, 2015)

Marketing is going through so many changes that I find I need to remind myself (and others) that marketing needs to be focused on the big picture. And that big picture is driving growth for the business. If marketing isn’t doing that, then there’s a problem.

This reminder hit home as I was reading a report recently that some colleagues of mine published [“Seven hallmarks of marketing and sales capabilities that beat the market”]. It provided a clear and compelling case for how advanced marketing (and sales) capabilities are crucial to beating the market. In fact, companies with the best capabilities tended to outperform their competitors by 30%.

The report outlines seven things that companies with high-performing marketing and sales capabilities do well. Here are a few highlights:

  • They view marketing and sales as an investment, not an expense. Investing to build a carefully chosen group of marketing and sales capabilities can yield as much as five or ten times that of an investment in hard assets such as factory equipment.
  • They know what needs to be fixed. This is more complicated than it sounds. In any company, you’ll find no shortage of people with ideas about what’s not working and how to fix it. The problem is that often times people don’t agree on what the problems actually are, those opinions are colored by personal experience and bias, and even if problems are identified neither the root causes nor the necessary solutions are clear. It’s critical to have a clear and unified view of what needs to be fixed at a deep enough level of detail that people know what to do to fix it.
  • They target the capabilities that really need to be fixed. This one is really important. A colleague of mine describes a trap that many capabilities fall into when they try to fix or build up capabilities. He calls it the “peanut butter” approach, reflecting the idea of companies spreading their investments evenly everywhere. The result is that companies fund effective and less effective capabilities equally. There are about 40 clusters of marketing and sales capabilities in most large companies. Top-performing companies tend to focus on improving only about six that are important to the company’s goals.

So what are you doing to build up your marketing muscle in a way that really drives growth for the business?

[Image: Chris Hawes, Flickr]

3038ea1 David Edelman

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