Bring It On: Marketing, Your Company�s Cheerleaders

Earlier this month, I was honored to speak at the Geehan Group�s B2B Executive Summit in Coconut Grove, FL. This event was attended by an intimate group of business executives. This year, there were approximately 35 in attendance, half CEOs/business line heads and half CMOs/VPs of Marketing. This great mix of attendees creates an interactive and dynamic atmosphere where we all learn from one another. Personally, I look forward to this event each year, For me, it�s similar to a retreat in that it�s the only two full days a year that I sit and think about both my personal and company�s growth, as well as get great ideas for my clients.

During the keynote address, Sean Geehan asked the audience to write down what they believed was the primary job of marketing. As expected, there was a varied list of answers from growing revenue to lead generation and promoting the brand. However, what I found the most interesting was the responses from the group of CEOs. The discussion began as one CEO expressed the need for marketing to be the passion of the organization. �If Marketing is not passionate and enthusiastic about our products and services, who will be?� Another CEO concurred stating that he expects marketing, not HR, sell all major internal corporate initiatives. For them, marketing not only needs to be to be the cheerleaders for the sales team but for the company as a whole. Thankfully, this does not involve wearing Vaseline on our teeth and branded kick pants under our suits�

But on a more serious note, this reminded me that I need to be spending more time on generating excitement internally within my client�s companies. Honestly, I think many of us marketers may have become a bit jaded from the recession, dealing with diminishing budgets, limited resources, and seemingly unmanageable time constraints. We have been forced to focus only on activities with �tangible� Marketing ROI which resulted in us spending most of our time on direct revenue generating activities.

What I am realizing from my experience at the conference coupled with feedback from clients over the past two years is that CEOs are expecting us generate more excitement internally as much as with external prospects, clients, and influencers. In many small to mid-size companies, internal communications is usually loosely split between HR & Marketing. With this vague accountability and limited resources, internal communications gets little attention, and is often placed on the back burner. Yet CEOs are expecting marketing to be internal cheerleaders of the organization.

So as challenging as it may be to allocate more time and resources to internal communication, do it and do it enthusiastically! Even just more frequent communication through existing avenues such as email, company intranet, social media channels, and internal discussion groups, etc. can make a significant difference. I am personally going to allocate more time to internal communications with my clients and ensure that it receives more attention in the formal marketing plans we develop for them in the future. We all know it will be difficult to prove the ROI on these efforts but minimally, it will make your CEO happy which no one will complain about. So Bring It On.