Do all marketers need to be strategists?
So, next question. Should all marketers become better strategists?
Oh gosh. Yes, they really should. It’s a real bug bear of mine that I think a lot of marketers think their role is purely operational, they say “Oh, I just do this.”
I’m a judge on a whole series of industry awards and if you think about an industry award, it’s about demonstrating best practise. I see people doing wonderful things and I go, “Yeah but why? Why did you do that?” And there’s a whole block of questions called “What were your objectives? What was the strategy? Who was your audience?” And it’s like they’ve glossed over that bit because they go, “I don’t like talking about that because what I really like talking about is my little operational bit that I do really well, I know I’m really good at doing this content.”
The thing is, the strategy is the bit that helps us understand the whole reason for doing things. So I think marketers really need to take a stand and start to become better strategists.
How can marketers become better strategists?
You need to know what your business objectives are. I know this sounds like Business Strategy 101 from business school, but you know what? I wish it was Business Strategy 101 for everyone, because everyone really needs to get their head round this. If you know what your business objectives are, what you’re trying to achieve as an organisation, that means that you can create marketing objectives. Your marketing objectives are you telling your audience how you are going to make these lofty goals happen. That then allows us to create communications objectives.
Quite a lot of people when I say to them, “Okay, so why did you do that tweet? Why did you put that post up on Twitter? Why did you write that blog post?” I just get blank faces, and I say, “Well, what was the goal? What were you trying to achieve?” So even at the communications objective level, if you know what you’re trying to achieve, you can see whether what you are doing is working.
What is the importance of having objectives in marketing?
Without goals, without ways of measuring our performance, without saying, “Did that tweet in some way contribute to or improve our bottom line by 10%?”, we don’t have any coherent purpose. If you bring all these things together. It gives your role purpose.
I think if you don’t have those market objectives, if you don’t have those business objectives, if you don’t know what direction the organisation is trying go in, it becomes very difficult to decide whether what you’re doing on a day-to-day basis is the right thing to do. So I’m really keen that people in organisations who call themselves marketers, who call themselves communicators, have a real understanding of business strategy, have a real understanding of marketing strategy, and are able to contribute to and create objectives, particularly comms objectives so that they know what to do and so that they stop doing what they shouldn’t do. That’s the hill I’m going to die on.