Forget the vending machine mentality if you want effective marketing outcomes


How does your marketing team operate within your organisation? Do they have the scope to influence internally to deliver innovative solutions – or are they time pressured order takers?


A good friend and respected peer of mine, @michaelfield @EvettFieldPtyLtd summed up the often challenging dynamic for marketers being pressured to deliver on unrealistic expectations as being on the receiving end of a situation similar to an impatient customer approaching a vending machine – “I know what I want, I’m gonna press F7 and get a bar of chocolate right now”!....and look out if the machine doesn’t deliver on request!


Imagine being an in-house marketer and receiving a vending machine request like this a number of times a week, if not every day.


I was reminded of this pressure point again recently when a business contact of mine was complaining about their marketing co-ordinator who didn’t know how to implement a Facebook advertising campaign – my question to him was “Does she understand what to do, and has she been trained to run these types of campaigns?” his answer “No – but she loves social media, so why can’t she just do it?”


This type of thinking has the potential to set us up for a pattern of false starts, flawed campaigns, activities that fall short of expectations and most likely, a revolving door of talented, qualified marketers.


Customer needs, and the competitive marketplace in general is becoming more complex, and the channels for marketing activities are increasing exponentially, thanks to digital advancements.


While this represents opportunity, the flow on effect can result in business owners, senior managers and sales teams – particularly in small to medium sized organisations - developing unrealistic expectations that one senior marketer or a less experienced marketer can deliver on all facets of what it takes to market products and services successfully.


Marketing is not rocket science, but it is a complex process that requires a range of skill sets, qualifications, training and experience across different areas including marketing strategy, digital strategy, brand management, campaign management, events management and that’s just for starters.


In my experience as a marketing consultant working with a range of organisations and sectors – there are some fundamental insights that business owners, senior managers, and sales teams can leverage to support the marketer to deliver on commercial expectations, while also accommodating innovation and creativity. These insights include the ability to:


  • Establish clarity around what the function of marketing needs to do to support your organisation’s sales and growth objectives. A good place to start is with a simple question: What are our current core marketing activities – and what seems to be missing? (referencing competitor activity can be a helpful start on this point).


  • Make the distinction between short term (tactical) and mid to longer term marketing activities (strategic) to assist with the educational and operational process of how marketing can assist the broader team, Splitting these tasks up in this way can really help with managing priorities.


  • Recognize that like any other type of professional service, marketing is a highly specialized field and a single in house marketer or split role administrator may not have the capabilities to deliver on all expected tasks.


  • Be realistic about how far a senior marketing strategist can stretch to simple implementation tasks, and vice versa for the more junior marketer. This is one of the most common reasons for good people to take the exit door.


  • Allow your marketing team time for adequate planning – whether that be project by project, monthly or on a quarterly basis – the best outcomes spring from a shared vision and clear direction on desired outcomes.


  • Use your resources efficiently – leverage the capabilities of your internal marketing team, and if there are requirements that fall out of their abilities, consider the cost benefit of using an agency or consultancy who can deliver on your area of requirements more effectively.


So – before you go to hit F7 or B5 on the company vending machine, take a moment and consider whether you are setting your team up for an environment of time pressured order taking, or an approach that supports the delivery of effective and enduring marketing outcomes.