3 Marketing Leadership Principles

December 1, 2021
Whether you are an entrepreneur or a freelancer, you need to lead your marketing because it is intertwined with everything in your business. Surely you want your target audience to know you, so that you could grow your business long-term. But do you currently focus solely on sales because marketing is “pointless” and advertising just costs you money? Well, you're partly right, because there's a lot of money wasted in marketing, but it is caused by people not really understanding the fundamentals of marketing and how to successfully lead marketing activities. This article by Mari-Liis Vaher was first published in the October 2021 issue of the leadership magazine Director.

Marketing that supports your business

When you say the word "marketing", the vast majority of people think of advertising. But when you say "movement," do you only think about the gas pedal?

It is a pity to see how often money is burned in marketing because money is channeled mainly into advertising, forgetting to focus on the real big role of marketing and the fact that marketing always starts with the leader, the company and its employees.

By dumping money into advertising, you can bring in new leads and seemingly accelerate your business’ growth. But if you have poor performance in the background, then the accelerator on its own does nothing.

Can you imagine the frustration of a customer if they’re brought in through a shiny advertising campaign, only to find out that…

  • customer service is poor because employees aren't motivated or the systems don't work,
  • products aren't available or they're of bad quality,
  • sales employees are pushy and not service-oriented,
  • they start getting spammy offers,
  • the company loses interest in them after their initial purchase,
  • etc.

Obviously, this would scare away the very same leads that you spent a lot of money to get. And not only that, they will also go around telling others about their bad experience with you. Or even if they did buy something from you as the result of a pushy salesperson, they’ll eventually feel bad about the purchase because the product or service was not really what they needed.

So, how can you know if marketing is supporting your business’ growth or not? What are your customers saying about your company and their experience with you when you and your employees are not in the same room?

Be clear, consistent & organized!

Marketing is intertwined with everything in your company: the first impression, the sales and service experience, the effects of follow-up, and especially how your employees speak about your company outside the workplace. All of this makes marketing difficult to manage, which is why business owners often choose to overlook these topics.

And it's hard to start doing everything at once, but if you keep in mind the three principles, you can be pretty sure that not all of your marketing money is wasted:

1. Marketing must be clear:

  • Can every employee in your company say in one sentence what is the problem that your company is helping its target audience to solve and how do you stand out in the market?
  • What are your employees working for on a daily basis and what are the goals for the day, week, month, quarter and year?
  • Are sales and marketing based on the same information and the same metrics?

2. Marketing must be consistent:

  • Is your business consistent with sales and marketing activities so that you can analyze the trends?
  • Or do you jump from one activity to another because there is so much going on in marketing, so many channels, and endless techniques to use?

3. Marketing must be organized:

  • Do you know how sales affect marketing and vice versa?
  • Do you know which systems need to be in place and how you can make the best business decisions based on them?

On the road of professional development, we all face the same challenges, because the abundance of information is confusing, we feel that we cannot keep up and we are always one step behind others.

But sales and marketing are based on simple psychological and physiological characteristics, and the most successful companies in the world advantage of it.

Our brains need clarity, consistency and order - it helps us to understand things better, eliminates everyday confusion and gives us confidence. Customers are looking for the same when they come in contact with your business. If they don't understand exactly what you offer and why your product or service helps them the best, or if you don't know how to engage with them or to serve them best, they won't stay with you.

Your best (or worst) marketers are your employees

Remember that people come to work for a company, but leave the organization because of the manager. And this is very directly related to the marketing of your entire company, because your own people are the most important marketers, during and outside of business hours.

There may be people in your company who are not really "involved", ie they do not have an emotional commitment to work for your company, because they are not well managed and engaged, or they do not know what to do consistently and how to organize their daily work effectively.

Your employees will be your best marketers if you help them be clear, consistent and organized.

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