By Perry Rearick, Chief Editor, Follow Your Buyer
I speak with a lot of B2B marketing professionals who describe their work as trying to manage chaos. Unrealistic deadlines, constantly changing priorities, emergency press releases that never get approved for distribution, and tradeshow collateral that must be created and overnighted are all in a typical day’s work. I’ve been in newsrooms less frenzied.
Marketing is intended to be the process organizations use to engage target audiences, nurture customer relationships, develop business, and, ultimately, generate revenue. The word “process” suggests an organized series of activities to achieve a particular end. But too many marketing organizations are drowning in tactics that are not linked to their business strategy.
Buildings, dams, and highways require structural integrity in that they are designed to support themselves for an intended purpose and can withstand aging, adverse weather conditions, and other disruptions. But structural integrity is not limited to buildings and can be applied to processes like those carried out by marketing departments.
Structural integrity for marketing operations requires that the purpose for the organization’s marketing activities is clearly defined to include the outcomes they are intended to support. On any given day, marketing activities and functions should be easily traced to an overall outcome the company is seeking.
A Typical Problem
Consider how often B2B marketers are tasked to write an urgent press release. A contract manufacturer wants to announce the purchase of a new production line, something that had been planned for months and was known by all the department heads but not by the person tasked to write the press release.
With a deadline that is one hour away, the marketer lacks adequate time to research the value of the manufacturing line and spits out a “just the facts” press release that lacks a story of any real interest to the company’s target audience.
The press release spends the next several weeks being passed around the company and equipment vendor for edits and another week in legal before a final to version is published. The final version is as interesting as watching cement harden. The vendor was thrilled because their company’s name appeared five times, but the press release lacked any mention of how it would better serve the manufacturer’s customers, and it failed to engage the target audience.
Try This Solution: Task and Purpose
When your marketing department’s to-do list becomes larger and more complex than a Costco shopping list for your family’s week at the beach house, consider applying the concept of task and purpose.
Every activity, or task, performed by the marketing team should have a direct link to a business outcome, or purpose. And it is critically important that those who assign activities to subordinates clearly communicate task and purpose. Let’s revisit the example of the press release for the new production line using task and purpose and how it could be communicated to the writer.
Our company just approved the purchase of a new manufacturing line that is faster and will increase production time by 60%. It also reduces project turnover time on the line to several hours because cleaning and sanitizing capabilities are built into the suite.
The new line is vital to our company’s growth and relevancy for the future as demand for the products this handles will increase 300% in the next 10 years. This capability is designed to meet the needs of our customers to be more agile and react more quickly to burgeoning markets globally.
Being concise with the task, which is to write a press release, and long on the purpose gives enough information for the writer in marketing to really put their skills to work and develop a compelling message. The task and purpose should also be shared with those who will review the press release to help them focus their attention on the same outcomes.
The task and purpose approach is more likely to produce messaging that is oriented on your customer’s needs and will do what we expect from marketing: engage target audiences, nurture customer relationships, develop business, and, ultimately, generate revenue.
The next time you’re wondering if all the tactics you’re employing are supporting your company’s business outcomes, take a deep breath and apply the concept of task and purpose. I’m confident that your to-do list will become much cleaner and focus on tactics that will advance your marketing operations in a way that supports your business’s strategic goals.