Yesterday I had two very different conversations on the topic of marketing.
In the evening I had the honour of meeting Todd Sawicki who gave a talk to the Ljubljana (we’d like to see it become the Boulder of Europe) start-up community. One of the topics that came up during the conversation was staffing marketing.
Todd said something along the lines: hire someone that studied microeconomics, someone who can analyse data and who’ll be on a mission to get more revenue. Don’t take someone that studied marketing.
I may have summarized it wrongly but his point was clear: marketing is about using data and increasing revenue.
This is also very much in line with what I see and hear lately from successful marketers (like Todd). You don’t hear these people talking about events they organized, presentations they created or silly shirts they spent their budget on. They talk about market size, market share, revenue growth they contributed to and other factual data. Todd used many lolcats in his slides but the ones that really impressed me were simple charts displaying revenue and user growth.
Interestingly I spoke to a programmer earlier in the day and the topic was also marketing and the ROI of printed brochures (yes there are companies that still print brochures!). He was wondering if it is possible to measure the return on marketing investments. My response was quite a surprise to him: “If you’re not measuring it, you can’t call it marketing.”
At first glance it appears hard to measure revenue generated by a marketing campaign but there’s always a way if you think about it. And if you can’t find a way to measure I suggest you find a campaign that enables you to do it. Otherwise it’s quite likely you’re throwing money away.
Even some of the biggest consumer brands (think Coca Cola and P&G) are moving their budget spending towards digital and content marketing. B2B companies have little choice and many of them are embracing the new rules of marketing very quickly. Yet there are many that keep doing what they’ve always done and blame their slacking revenue figures to financial crisis, low cost competition etc.
So who gets the marketing job? The programmer, marketer or the accountant?
In 2013 the degree really isn’t that important. I the past few months an accountant tought me the most about entrepreneurship and marketing. A year ago I wouldn’t believe it. I have surprisingly good experience with engineers in marketing (umm… being one myself even).
PowerPoint skills don’t matter. Look everyone can slap a photo and a few words into a slide. Flying and swivelling text objects in the presentation are not that impressive. What matters is that you’re able to deliver the right high value massage to the right audience. The most important skill to deliver the message is deep knowledge of your target audience. If the target audience are internal stakeholders or a potential employer, make sure you present some facts (numbers!) about the market.