What is marketing? What value can she add? Ask different people and you will probably get as many answers.
If you would ask the same question about Sales, the answers would definitely be more unambiguous. Our field research displays a clear correlation between the maturity of a marketing department and the extent to which they can assert their value.
Based on this research we have developed a method to identify the maturity of marketing professionals and the marketing department. Our method identifies areas in which marketing excels as well as areas for improvement.
A crucial role for marketing is to keep colleagues and the wider organisation abreast with relevant insights about trends and development in the market. Preventing inside-out thinking. A mature marketing department spots these trends and developments timely and responds accordingly. Some relevant trends are the impact of digitalization, changing legislation and changing customer behaviour. There are five areas in which marketing can and should add value and we have developed an approach to identify the maturity of the marketing department based on these areas:
Development of a clear marketing strategy based on "real life" insights from customers, competitors and other external factors like changing legislation. Spotting trends sooner than peers.
Creation of a strong distinctive brand. Sharing relevant, distinctive and credible brand stories, with clients to increase brand preference.
Understanding and describing customers, their needs and priorities and work on improving customer experience.
Execute the marketing plan
Walk the talk by making effective use of channels, media, content and available marketing tools to reach relevant target audiences.
Investing time and energy in personal and organizational development for marketing professionals and their colleagues, including measuring progress with relevant metrics.
It’s easier said than done to continuously deliver on all five domains, true. That’s the reason we see quite some different stages of maturity within marketing in asset management. Although the financial sector is quite conservative, we certainly see financials with very developed and decisive marketing departments. In those organizations, both the management and the vast majority of colleagues have a clear answer to the question “What is marketing?”. They can easily explain what marketing is, what marketing does and what marketing contributes.
Maybe a good test to ask a colleague what marketing is? We are very curious what the answer will be?
Vincent Hooplot & Michiel Breeschoten