Call yourself a marketing director?

B2B marketers are fragile things, always fretting that their CEO doesn’t understand them and perennially downcast that they don’t have a seat at the top table in their organisation. B2B conferences often turn into group therapy sessions searching for ways to “make marketing relevant” or “show the value of marketing.”

Trust me. If you were really doing marketing, you wouldn’t be asking these questions.

Peter Druker rather pithily said: “There are only two things in a business that make money – innovation and marketing, everything else is cost,” but what he means by marketing and what many B2B marketing directors do for a living are often two rather different things.

Leafing though a pile of job specifications for marketing directors underlines that in many businesses the most important marketing tasks are actually done by someone else in the company.

  • The most important P is product. Who decides which new products are developed and launched? Most likely it’s the product director not the marketing director.

 

  • Next comes price. Well, I’ve been through a dozen job specs for B2B marketing director roles and I’ve not seen price mentioned once. Who compiles and signs-off the price list? Probably the product director in conjunction with finance and sales.

 

  • Place. Who decides the distribution strategy, the channel mix or the overall business model? That’ll be the sales director although the marketing director may be told to recruit and retain a partner network.

 

  • Promotion.  Absolutely.  A core task for any B2B marketing director is to take a given product, a price list and a distribution strategy and go generate some demand.

Frankly, if you don’t decide product, pricing and distribution, you’re not actually in charge of marketing for your company. In which case, your title shouldn’t be marketing director but rather head of communications and campaigns or similar.

Chances are, your boss is taking the big marketing decisions. And your boss is typically either sales and marketing director (almost always a sales professional) or a product and marketing director (usually from a technical or consulting background).

My conclusion. Stop whinging that you’re not being taken seriously by your CEO and start thinking how to get your boss’s job. That probably means taking a step sideways first of all, either into sales or product. Then you can step up and start taking the big marketing decisions.

Meanwhile, as David Packard said, “marketing is too important to be left to the marketers.”

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