At INBOUND 2012 last month, HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan shared the results of a study on the lovability of different professions. Where do you think marketers landed on that lovability scale? If you weren't there, the results revealed that people find marketers less lovable than stockbrokers and lawyers. Did we beat anybody out? Yeah. We're more lovable than lobbyists and used car salesmen. That's not exactly a victory worth bragging about.
Why is this the case? Well, while there's obviously the component of marketers creating salesey, pushy, generally cringe-inducing marketing, there's something else at play. I think some of the reason marketing comes across as such an unlovable profession is because, ironically, we have a major PR problem in the marketing industry. We marketers focus our energy on marketing our businesses so that they can grow and succeed, but internally, we're neglecting our careers and our team members by not marketing ourselves within our own organizations.
So it's high time someone talked about the problem, and how to address it. This post is going to discuss how marketers can become more lovable in the eyes of our own organizations by properly positioning our work and demonstrating the impact it has on our respective businesses. Here's how you can market your marketing team -- and by extension, yourself -- within your own organization!
One of our strengths as marketers is communication. Let's leverage that to communicate our department's results! You should be doing this on at least a monthly basis, though more frequent communication can help keep your organization agile. Share what your team has worked on, what the results were, and how you plan to improve with your upcoming projects. Here's how.
1) Create a monthly marketing report, and share it with everyone.
Every month, the HubSpot marketing team puts together a 100+ slide deck on the previous month's results. That deck includes high-level metrics on visits, leads, and customers, as well as an evaluation of each marketing channel (blog, email, social, etc.). Every marketer should get in the habit of evaluating and reporting on their own efforts, and sharing those findings with their company. You'll want to cover a few areas when evaluating these metrics, too:
Celebrate the wins - "We hit a new record of leads generated this month!"
Admit the shortcomings - "Lead quality dropped this month due to the dramatic increase in volume."
Address how you'll overcome the shortcomings in the future - "Next month, we're scaling back the promotion of Campaign XYZ in favor of Campaign ABC, which should drive higher quality conversions.
Publishing a report that anyone can read is not the whole story -- after all, can you imagine how many non-marketer HubSpotters will actually page through 100+ slides of marketing analytics? Yeah, not a lot. Those 100 slides are more for our CMO, a few interested executives, and some other go-getters.
So, how do you share the takeaways with the whole company to show marketing's impact on your organization? To do that, pull together just the highlights -- decidedly not 100+ slides -- and share those more aggressively. A great way to share this information is through a monthly internal email newsletter. This will ensure your message gets across to a larger portion of the company.
As the saying goes, "out of sight, out of mind." Being visible goes hand in hand with communicating regularly, as both show that you are present, working hard, and driving results. Focus especially on being visible among your sales team -- the group that historically has the most "beef" with marketing -- and work with them closely by sending updates on the marketing activities that impact them most.
3) Send weekly updates on active marketing campaigns.
Sending updates on active marketing campaigns not only helps you stay visible, but also helps prepare your sales team to follow up with the inbound leads you're generating. At HubSpot, we send a weekly "This Week in Marketing" email to our sales team on all the marketing campaigns they'll likely hear about from leads over the phone, or through notes in Salesforce. This email includes a short description of the campaign, links to the landing pages and content offers themselves, and suggested sound bytes for following up with leads engaged in the campaign.
4) Co-run weekly SMarketing meetings with your sales counterparts.
SMarketing is a term our VP of Sales coined to describe the alignment between sales and marketing. It's also something all sales and marketing organizations should live and breathe every day. That means seating marketers right next to sales reps in your office, constant communication between marketing and sales directors, and co-presented meetings with sales and marketing managers. Start holding weekly SMarketing meetings run by the sales and marketing managers to help both departments stay visible with employees, and demonstrate the partnership and aligned messaging between the two teams.
Show Them the Money
Particularly when working with your sales and executive teams, it's all about driving the bottom line: revenue. Speaking in terms of website visits or impressions is abstract and requires someone to trust that those visits and impressions will turn into something of real value ... like, well, revenue. So instead of talking like a marketer, translate that marketing-speak into the language of bottom line results to demonstrate why your efforts contribute to revenue generated.
5) Show marketing results in terms of concrete numbers.
Where possible, communicate marketing's impact in terms of real numbers -- new leads, marketing qualified leads, customers, and revenue. This makes marketing's impact much more tangible and relevant to your sales and executive teams. Remember, this is much easier to do if you have closed-loop marketing software that paints a picture of a lead's lifecycle from moment of capture to close of sale.
6) Track marketing's influence on revenue.
Marketing isn't just about driving new leads; it's about enabling sales to improve conversions through the sales and marketing funnel. Track all the campaigns a given customer is impacted by before ultimately buying.
You should also have your sales team note which resources -- like sales collateral, or having a marketer on a call -- they utilized in closing each deal.
If you follow these steps to communicate regularly, be visible, and "show them the money," you'll be well on your way to showing the key role marketing plays in growing your business.
All of the above apply to the marketing of your personal contributions, as well. For example, measure the number of leads your efforts generated, the number of page views your blog articles attracted, the number of sales calls you assisted. In addition to that, build up your own credibility in the eyes of your boss -- whether that's the CEO or CMO -- as well as the rest of the company.
7) Build up your marketing presence.
As a marketer using inbound marketing strategies, you should be able to show that you know a thing or two about those strategies. That means building up your own marketing presence by having a blog and active social media accounts. There are quite a few marketers we snapped up to work at HubSpot specifically because we noticed what they were doing online, either with their blogs or large social media followings.
8) Invest in your role as a thought leader in your industry.
Not only do you need to build up your presence in the marketingsphere, but also in your specific industry. This means getting your name on blog posts and ebooks, and speaking on webinars and at events. This will help you personally get known for your expertise in the industry, and will increase the demand to have you at events, on sales calls, and generally associated with the company. When people start asking for you, you better believe your entire organization will see value in your presence as a marketer.
How else do you recommend marketers sell their value to their organization?