As the CEO of the company, you likely know your product, service offerings, and overall growth plans inside and out. But do you know how well the story of your brand is being positively and accurately perceived and portrayed?
When it comes to what really moves the needle, how involved are you in this very crucial element of your company’s success? Is your company’s marketing articulating the value it brings to your customers? Does it communicate the brand’s uniqueness in a concise and compelling way, or describe the essence of the company’s culture and core values? That’s marketing — and it’s where many CEOs are in the dark.
If you’re more in tune with your product’s specs than your brand’s story, you may be like a lot of CEOs and passed those duties off to the marketing department. But even if you hire the best and brightest branding experts and content creators, you are still the key to your own communications effort. If you’re still struggling to see the power of great marketing, perhaps you still believe a few of these common misnomers.
Myth #1: Marketing is responsible for a company’s brand.
If you believe marketing is responsible for the success or failure of your product, then you don’t know just how varied and segmented the concept is today. Think of it this way: marketing is your business through the lens of your customer. One touchpoint of your overall content marketing push could be a small Facebook ad, and that’s all your customer might see.
But marketing is also enormous — it’s the research that defines your target audience, it’s the strategy that aims to soothe pain points, it’s the execution of that strategy in the form of a message (or messages). It is everything you want the public to know about what you’re selling.
Public relations and advertising fit into an overall marketing strategy, if you so decide to include them. And both will use content to communicate in different ways, the nuances of which are the subjects of textbooks. But because marketing is so all-encompassing and so representative of who you are as a company, it’s impossible to run your business and be removed from what marketing is doing. Like it or not, as CEO you’re part of your business’ marketing plan.
Myth #2: It’s not necessary for execs to be involved with social media.
Speaking of being a part of your own marketing strategy, actively participating on social media channels is viewed not only as a solid tactic, but a sign of great leadership. In fact, brands with social CEOs are overwhelmingly viewed as more trustworthy and honest.
Yes, well-planned and relevant (this is key) tweets and status updates on a regular basis connect you with customers, but in larger companies, social posts can close the culture gap between you, your employees and your investors. In times of crisis and in times of good news, like a new product launch or a new partnership, people want to hear the story straight from company leaders.
Myth #3: Good marketing means leads will close by themselves.
No matter how strategically sound and creatively executed it is, marketing cannot remove all friction from the sales funnel –nor should it be expected to. It doesn’t dictate the length of the buying process. It doesn’t make up for a bad website user experience. And it can’t take the place of a hard-driving sales team.
Good marketing can lead the proverbial horse to water (or in this case, prospect to the funnel), but it will take an on-point sales or customer success team to pick up where the marketing leaves off –upholding the brand story to close the deal.
Myth #4: Marketing alone can fix a damaged brand.
Consumers have become expert skeptics. With so many similar products competing in the same space, the catchiest slogan doesn’t win anymore. Your marketing needs to reflect the culture of your work environment, and that starts at the top.
Discontent, unease and sterility can’t be covered up with a happy commercial jingle. Today’s savvy consumer can see straight through the smoke. If you are currently struggling with an abysmal culture or reputation, fix that first then plan your marketing strategy –from a genuine, authentic place.
Marketing is an essential part of the puzzle that makes a business successful. And although you may hire experts, as the CEO you are required to understand the process and hold your own when talking strategy and tactics.
Take the time to learn from your team. Listen to their needs and help when you can. Don’t become one of the majority to blame company failure and success solely on marketing.
Remember, you’re a part of it.