One of the principles KHJ Brand Activation was founded on almost three decades ago and that we have lived by to this day is the need to tie marketing into sales… the idea that marketing exists only to support the sales effort – whether to build awareness and precondition the market; to open the door for the sales force; or to provide the sales tools needed to have a successful conversation, nurture the relationship and drive revenue.
Seems like a “duh!”? Well, not for everyone, unfortunately. Too many agencies or marketers operate in a silo, not meaningfully collaborating with their sales team to truly understand “voice of customer” pains and needs. That leads to the “broadcast” of marketing messages and communications that are not in tune with the market … and to the creation of tools that the sales force has no use for (and doesn’t use – we know because we ask them).
If this is a no-brainer for you and you are there already, well done. But as a marketer, how closely are you working with … your human resources group?
Because a brand lives from the inside out. Your people are the face and voice of your organization. You can have the greatest external brand promise and communications materials, but if your people aren’t aligned with your brand, engaged in it and inspired by it, your brand falls apart. It is, quite literally, an empty promise. When your marketing promises one thing but your customers experience something different when they interact with your people, that’s what we call brand disintegration.
So, before you go spending money building your brand outside – start inside. Culture is brand inside. Make sure your own people understand your brand, what it means, how they contribute to it and how they can live it in their everyday speech and actions. So many organizations are focused on external selling efforts and bottom-line performance that they relegate culture to the “soft stuff.” Well, the hard reality is that that soft stuff can eventually make or break your future as an organization.
Your marketing function and efforts should tie into sales and into HR. For this reason, you might benefit from working with a consulting or agency partner that understands not just marketing and sales but also the role culture and human factors play in making brand and marketing strategies hit the mark or fall apart. Your agency should be the brand integrator that connects the dots between marketing, sales, and HR for optimal business results. Because it’s not just about marketing – it is about business.