Established industries are often disrupted. Consider the disruption of traditional stock market and travel agency technology, or the disruption of entertainment industry streaming services.

In all cases, the incumbents argued that “it is not as easy as dismantling the status quo and starting over.” And yet, every time the upstarts did just that, the dinosaurs were finally extinct.

Today disruptions are occurring not only in marketing, but also in the business world in general, and C-suite needs to take note.

In traditional organizations, leaders establish goals and an overall strategy; Then manufacturing, research and development, and design came up with plans on how to achieve those goals. Meanwhile, IT, marketing, finance, and other “support” departments determine the budget they will need to both meet organizational goals and meet the needs of key business departments.


The marketing plans in this scenario are therefore fractured and become the mortar of the other bricks of the company. They rarely communicate how marketing efforts relate directly to business goals.

If this sounds like you, be careful.

Why the traditional role of marketing in business needs to change


In today’s world, the traditional role of marketing in business has not only been overthrown, it has been completely redesigned.

Now the first step for a brand with a version 1.0 product is marketing, that is, finding out how customers interact with a brand. What do they like and dislike? How much are they spending? How often do they buy?

As a business learns more about the behaviors of its customers, it is able to set a total revenue goal for different types of customers.

From there, finance, marketing, and tech work together to create a tech stack for customer acquisition targets by customer type – and the marketing budget naturally falls outside of those needs. Technology supports and drives marketing and finance by enabling information and connections across the business; then R&D, manufacturing and design learn not only marketing knowledge but also financial analysis to iterate and develop even better products.

This is not to say that marketing or finance is the center of an organization; that is, all departments contribute significantly to the organization.

As a marketer today, if you ask what your budget is, you will get blank eyes as budgets are set in terms of the cost of acquiring a new customer or meeting retention goals.

For example, at the acquisition stage, your marketing budget might be $ 10. By acquired customer, of course. This requires knowing the total addressable market, products and buyers.

It is the opposite of complex; in fact, it’s the easiest way to do marketing because never before have we had the information and the ability to learn, analyze and iterate on this scale!

How marketers can avoid irrelevance

Marketers need to take a step back and reassess their processes and role in the business from “What’s my budget?” to “What is my income goal?”

First of all, get into the habit of in close collaboration with Finance, and know the numbers. What is the income of current customers compared to new customers? What is the churn rate? What is the lifetime value of customers? Is there any idea what it really costs to acquire a new customer today?

It is also important to operate with an “increment only” mindset. Marketing cannot take credit for every purchase. Costco is a prime example of a business that has grown successfully without advertising and with minimal marketing; it is because its products are good and can practically sell. If Costco started spending $ 100,000 a month and then divided that amount by new customer registrations, it would be an overly optimistic and false view of the cost of acquiring new customers – if marketing was actually attracting new customers!

By continually testing A / B and measuring incremental results, businesses will begin to understand the true cost of customer acquisition and retention. And knowing is the first step towards improvement.

Also, it is better to operate with bits and pieces of information than to operate without any information. Maybe you only know how much the churn rate is, and that’s okay. Segment part of your budget to specifically address it. Use incrementality tests and reconstruct actual costs to get the big picture.

Finally, establish a “from now” amnesty agreement. You may have told your C-suite that you are acquiring clients for $ 1.50 when in reality it is $ 10. Executives will be happy to have accurate information, and will support improving marketing from there. They probably didn’t believe the $ 1.50 figure anyway, and if you also provide a plan to grow the business that acquires customers profitably for $ 10, you’ll be the hero, not the party killer. .

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When you start to rethink the role of marketing in business in the ways discussed in this article, respect for the board, CEO and CFO will fall into place, expanding the influence of marketing and giving you more influence. authority to create great work.

More resources on the role of marketing in business

Why You Should Align Marketing With Business Goals

Six Tips for Going from B2B Marketer to Solution Architect (and Why You Should)

The Changing Role of the Marketing Director (and All Marketers): Five Guiding Principles

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