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Marketing’s changing…it’s no longer the office ‘Mistress’

Work those sails

Marketing as a discipline is changing and changing fast. It’s something myself and those of my peers who operate as Chartered Marketers, Fellows  or CMO’s (Chief Marketing Officers) have known for some time and have indeed been responsible for driving it. 

Why has this happened? Well several decades ago finance was the sole heart of a business, the necessity, but also for many a tiresome discipline in a corporate world of mundane challenges. Marketing and advertising however gave company directors and brand teams the chance to critique and evaluate the latest creative propositions at the offices of their retained creative agencies. They were ephemeral and therefore fresh and exciting, as disciplines go, the ‘mistress’ that would enable brand teams ‘time away to play’.

Today, each of us are exposed to so much advertising it’s reasonable to think that advertising, or perhaps communications in all forms are what many believe the full extent of marketing to be.  Ask 100 people to define what marketing is and the majority will all give you a different answer and that can’t be right, can it?

Of course it’s easy to see how this can happen though, just look at the numbers of different types of communication that exist today: blogs, microblogs, banner advertising, printed press, radio, TV, direct mail, email and mobile, the list goes on. But before any communication can take place, any sound and sensible business must have a strategy, either for growth, or diversification or simply to consolidate what they have. They need to be certain of precisely who they are by establishing what they’re collectively good at and, equally, not so good at. It’s this latter element which is often generally overlooked in many businesses regardless of their size; cast to one side because these areas are seen as a distraction or someone else’s problem. But it’s often these issues that hamper the success of any communication and any possible return.

Take this sailing analogy. If a yacht or a dinghy spills wind from its sails it simply won’t go as fast as it might. To get the best out of it there are many adjustments that can be made: the outhaul tension, the position of the vang or kicker, the sheets and the halyards (ropes,) many or all of these might need adjusting in some way; the boat will still make forward progress without them being set correctly but nowhere near as efficiently until these are balanced. The same is true in in business sending out promotional marketing campaigns when you aren’t able to get the best from them seems an unnecessary waste of resources, resources that can be better spent correcting the parts of the business that need attention.

I very much enjoy my work and I bring this to each and every client that we work with. Together we discuss what it is that they’re trying to accomplish, either a fast direct ‘sea crossing’ or one that continually loses time making the ‘voyage’. All of them choose the former yet often work with people who can’t chart an effective route from A to B simply because they don’t see the process with the same degree of clarity, or have the same skill sets and track record. From our clients perspective not one hasn’t seen the value in what modern marketing is truly all about. They gain a real understanding of where they are and what we need to accomplish together, achieving this gives us the basis from which to build a solid team that has a shared goal and clear direction, reaching the destination in as short a time as possible.

Many years ago marketing was that area where creatives talked about fluffy concepts but for some of us that stage has to come last; marketing today, particularly in the mainstay of British businesses, must continue to establish its place at the top table.


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