The only person marketers have to blame when they get little to no respect is themselves. You can whine all you want about how your sales department doesn’t appreciate all the leads you get for them , how your boss is ignorant and doesn’t understand your strategies, or how finance shouldn’t question your expenses for a direct mail campaign. I’ve been in marketing for more than 20 years, and each time I feel I’m not getting the respect I deserve, I know it’s not “their” fault; it’s really mine.
Reason #1 for Lack of Respect: Communication
Marketers are responsible for creating and communicating the positioning and messaging of their company. The problem is they do a bad job communicating internally to their bosses, the sales team, finance, customer service, operations, etc.
There is nothing a sales person hates more than seeing an ad the same time their prospect does. Executives don’t have time to read through a 30-page report, no matter how wonderful it is. And your CFO’s job is to challenge your expenditures and see the ROI on a campaign . By communicating your efforts in a timely and effective way, you can avoid many of the issues that give marketing a bad reputation. Internal PR is really a marketer’s best friend.
Reason #2 for Lack of Respect: Department Mentality
Too often, marketers think of themselves as part of the marketing department. Technically, they may be correct, but practically, that’s the best way to separate themselves from others. And when you act separately, you set yourself for an “us” vs. “them” mentality. According to Monique Reece in her book Real-Time Marketing for Business Growth :
“Organizations need to think beyond marketing as simply a department because the role and meaning of marketing has evolved way beyond this. It’s time for CEOs, marketing and sales professionals, and other business executives to work together to create a new definition of marketing. This role should include priorities such as leading change, deepening the organization’s understanding of customers and how to build loyalty, and implementing new communication and alignment processes to improve strategy execution.”
Reason #3 for Lack of Respect: Opinionated
Most good marketers I know are opinionated – and I mean that in a good way. They are smart, have good insight into issues, and are not afraid to voice their opinions. When positioned incorrectly, this can come off as being arrogant or stubborn. You can quickly be identified as ‘not a team player,’ and once that’s affixed to you, it’s hard to rub off.
The key to getting respect is to collaborate as much as possible. Reece says “marketing is uniquely positioned to align the entire organization around the customer.” Instead of building up your department or showing people how smart you are, you should be trying to break down the barriers between departments and collaborate, because your goal and your company’s are one and the same – to meet the needs of your customers.
Marketers can bring the intelligence (i.e. research) to help sales better understand their customers and prospects . Marketers can position the products around the needs of the customers. Marketers can find new ways to reach new prospects. And they can do all of this by collaborating with everyone else in the process. When they collaborate, sales will get a better understanding of what marketers bring to the table. Your executives will appreciate your leadership skills, and finance will finally get a handle on the ROI that marketing can bring.
What do you think? Do you feel you get the respect you deserve as a marketer?Image credit: Rodney Dangerfield Album Cover