Big Surprise: We Need Marketers!
Anyone who writes a weekly column strives to be topical. That's part of the "fun" that was described to us during rush week back in columnist school.
Today, instead of writing about MSN, AOL or Google like everyone else, I thought I'd write about the one thing that comes up every day among people in our space that I speak with. This is the single hottest issue among companies I touch through my little business, as well as among people from companies I've never heard of who somehow call me up out of the blue.
People in our space need effective marketers. So many companies in the enterprise technology and web media space are built on and by sales types, and not by marketers. The bean counters that sales types listen to and resemble in their thinking regard marketers as cost centers who don't directly drive revenue. They don't, right? I mean, differentiating through effective marketing had nothing to do with the success of iPod, or the perceived difference between ad serving companies and performance networks? Sure.
A former mentor once told me that sales is where the rubber hits the road and marketing is where the rubber hits the sky. That's why, when it comes time to get serious about the marketing professionals on your staff, you'd better give them the same kind of MBOs you give your salespeople.
What? You've never heard of MBOs?
You have graduated commission structures for your salespeople, don't you? Well, MBOs work along those lines. Management By Objective implies that your marketing professionals -- indeed, anyone within your enterprise -- has hard objectives against which to measure their performance, and against which they can expect to be compensated. Best of all, properly executed MBOs will be agreed to and signed on by new hires. How hard is that?
Well, I guess it must be pretty hard, because in the perhaps 20 conversations I've had with people looking for marketers in the past few weeks, not a single one had any idea what I was talking about when I asked if they had any MBOs in mind for candidates.
So do yourself and your marketer candidates a favor, and think about how you'll measure the success or failure of this role. Here are some management objectives to consider:
Will it be based on leads they generate?
Will it be based on group revenue totals?
Will it be based on targeted revenue totals?
Will it be based on staying within a budget?
Will it be based on growing the business without spending any budget?
Will it be based on trade-show traffic? Media clips? Calls to your 800 number?
The point it, it doesn't much matter what the MBOs are -- within reason. What matters is defining the role, and then making the candidate who accepts that role accountable to whatever measure you both agree to.
Before you know it, you'll be doing this throughout your company. Of course, this kind of thinking might inform how job roles are structured, which may make everyone more effective in these roles -- or expose those who aren't producing.
So be careful when people begin to wonder what your MBOs are. You might be held accountable.