Is Your Company The Marketing?

In the gaming world, in-house PR pros are better than agencies, Ben Kucher writes in Ars Technica: "Dealing with many people in the PR business is a painful affair. They only know the bullet points for each game, they become uncomfortable when asked substantial questions, and, way too often, looks are prized over skill. This doesn't have to be the case. By cultivating your own PR team, hiring gamers who honestly love the product and know it well, and staying up to date on the industry as a whole, you're guaranteed to have a PR team that more effectively talks to gaming writers, the mainstream media, and the gamers themselves."

Now let's broaden this discussion beyond gaming, to more general marketing practice. In my experience as a marketer at a few leading interactive-marketing and measurement companies, in-house PR and marketing is almost always the best way to go. But the dichotomy of in-house versus out-house prevents an even higher calling, a greater evolution of marketing within the enterprise.

What higher calling? On a pragmatic level, why not strategically view your entire company as your marketing team? Why limit imagination and opportunity through silos and top-down departmental power structures? Sure, departments may help drive accountability. But if marketing is not fully embraced as part of every employee's job, then the firm is strategically disadvantaged. Importantly, this idea doesn't end with employees; it applies to external stakeholders like customers and partners, who should be counted as members of the team as well. Marketing leadership is shifting from command-and-control to cultivate-and-coach, and the failure to rally the entire organization and external community is one of the biggest threats to CMO sustainability.

I feel so strongly about this idea, I've made it my personal platform --  not only here, but inside my own company: Marketing is reputation, and the company is the marketing. Specifically, I consider the goal of marketing to build an authentic and stellar company reputation. Reputation creates tailwinds that drive business development, customer acquisition and loyalty, product feedback loops, human resource capital and market valuation.

How does it all happen? Here's how we approach it:

  • Everything must be rooted in a strong culture, well-defined values and a compelling brand.
  • The culmination of all experiences created for stakeholders subsequently creates reputation.
  • The role of the marketing team is to provide thought leadership, a framework and tools that empower and activate the entire organization to participate in advancing reputation.

    Is your company the marketing? Is your community the marketing?

    Me? I prefer to have everyone on our team advancing the mission.





  • 6 comments about "Is Your Company The Marketing? ".
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    1. Gordon Vasquez from, May 29, 2009 at noon

      Here at RealTVfims we have our in house PR and All of our Incredible Hosts are Marketing RealTVfilms at every event -- Join Us and watch the magic.

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    2. Monica Bower from TERiX Computer Service, May 29, 2009 at 12:01 p.m.

      The funny thing is, its often the marketing team that has the LEAST impact on marketing in the final analysis; one boneheaded customer service response can derail millions of dollars of careful planning, and one great interaction with an installer can generate more positive WOM than a massive PR blitz. And while some might wish they had control over the other employees, the reality is no one ever does; so the essence of brand must be simple enough to not merely be actively promoted but passively projected by employees without needing a memo or training session. And you only get that when the brand is alive and well INSIDE the company as well as outside in the eyes of the public. Which dovetails back to the in-vs-out source issue; the marketing and PR have to come from the inside, on some level, though it can be refined and expressed via a third party. The agency can't tell you what you're all about, however; that's your job, not theirs.

    3. Lisbeth Kramer from Identities, May 29, 2009 at 12:04 p.m.


      I loved this. Fact is, I am a seasoned passionate marketer and honestly, if I dont feel I can be in my core a 24/7 brand amabassador, I mean it, on clock and off...not the right product, company, for me... So I say YES, to your mission, however, would like to believe that there is a difference between an employee as marketer and one who lives and breathes what that function can bring to the life of the brand.......and I believe it is part of our role to be contagious...inside the company and out. That's the easy part!

    4. Suzanne Mcgee from Fusion PR, May 29, 2009 at 12:14 p.m.

      I agreed that everyone should be a part of your marketing efforts - but this should also include your PR firm and other external vendors. Many of the companies we work with don't have the internal resources to handle media and analyst outreach. We work very hard to be an integral part of not just marketing. Gaming is a great example. Has your PR team played the games? Are they proficient and can they speak to more than just the basics? If not, bring them in the loop. If they haven't asked for this, then rethink your commitment with them. Anytime you hire vendors, they should be a part of your company, not just a hired gun.

    5. Steve Patrizi from Pinterest, May 29, 2009 at 12:57 p.m.

      Max, you're spot on. At LinkedIn, we spend a lot of time talking with marketers about how social profiles are exposing all employees of a company more than ever before, and companies need to understand how that rolls up to their corporate brands. At the most basic level, a company is nothing more than a group of people working together to create products and services to sell to other people, and its brand is the sum total of its people.

      Social media, of course, is advancing this; if Iā€™m looking at the profile of someone who works at XYZ Co., that profile ā€“ disclaimer or not ā€“ makes an impression about XYZ Co. and says a lot about the people they hire, their experience and skill sets, the knowledge they have and share, etc. and that in turn can impact my perspective about whether this is a company I should be doing business with or not.

      Ideally, there's some consistency among profiles in terms of how each employee describes the company, it's mission, and what what role they play. We encourage companies to "suggest" consistent descriptive content for people to include in their profiles, turning them all into marketers as you discuss. Of course, there are some grey areas here since individuals own their social profiles, for business-focused environments like LinkedIn its usually a less sensitive issue.

      As a result, companies have the opportunity to use social media profiles to showcase their most important competitive asset - their people - to potential customers, partners and vendors, with the result of more easily bringing together people who want to buy something with people who have something to sell.

    6. Anna Talerico, June 1, 2009 at 5:09 p.m.

      Great article Max.

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