There's more to marketing than marcom

Why doesn’t that show in your Twitter flow?

According to classic Kotler, your main responsibility as a CMO is to “create demand” for your products and/or services by optimizing Product, Place, Price and Promotion. The specific mix is bound to look very different when applied to either consumer and B2B marketing, but in most marketing departments the everyday focus is clearly on communication.

Why? Sometimes it's about organizational boundaries. That strategic product development is done in some faraway tech department. Or that sales are more deeply engaged in both distribution and pricing strategies. And, to be perfectly honest, most marketing people are way more excited about branding and clever communication concepts anyway.

Some people refer to full-bodied marketing as “Marketing”, and to narrow, marcom-centered marketing as “marketing” with a lowercase “m”.

Now, in an increasingly transparent marketplace, actual product qualities, easy availability and an attractive price (or overall, long-term economy) are bound to become more important than ever. And conventional advertising messages are increasingly perceived as partial and misleading. Sooner or later, this revised balancing of Kotler's four P:s should also affect the job description and priorities of the CMO.

Customer-focused buying journey

In consumer marketing, sales are primarily responsible for bringing the products onto the right store shelves, while marketing is assigned to lure buyers there, using strategic brand building as well as tactical sales promotion. In B2B, sales and marketing are typically more intertwined, throughout a long and winding buying process.

In a B2B context, the meaning of “creating demand” is usually different as well. In most cases, sales are focusing on a manageable number of named accounts. And the greatest challenge is not to stimulate the awareness and interest of an individual buying officer, but to take the next step, engaging the entire organization. Raising relevant issues, introducing alternative ways of thinking. Building, adapting and qualifying interest throughout the buying journey. 

This does not primarily involve marcom. A relevant, customer-focused dialogue should run both deeper and wider, connecting to ongoing discussons and planting new seeds of interest. Addressing specific everyday user issues, life cycle costs, business challenges. Or industry trends not directly related to the product or service offered. 

Establishing such a dialogue requires a genuine interest in every aspect of the customer’s world, reflected in sales as well as marketing.

By aligning this sales/marketing dialogue all the way, you are not only enhancing the customer relation, it also enables your organization to develop truly integrated marketing. Translating customer response into further product development and packaging. Balancing real and perceived product quality with pricing. Finding the right editorial and educational voice that will not be immediately rejected as “marcom”.

In short: Marketing with a capital “M”.

Rolf Andersson
Senior Writer And Strategist at Freya News

Download: Account-Based Marketing, where to begin?

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