Giving marketing a rebrand- step 1

This is the first in a series of three posts on a subject very close to my heart, ‘giving marketing a rebrand’, where I’d like to offer three steps which marketers can take to raise their profile, credibility and effectiveness when faced with cynical non-believers.

Step 1- Fight the Fluff

Marketing is too fluffy and doesn’t add any real value to the business.

English: Marshmellow fluff

Image via Wikipedia

Sound familiar? Has your marketing function been referred to as the ‘brochure and brolly’ team? The colouring-in department? I’ve heard all of these and worse, so why do marketers attract this perception?

A common trap is that some marketing people focus on outputs that matter to the marketing team rather than outcomes that matter to the business. Who has ever won a piece of new business because the logo is exactly 7mm away from the top right of the brochure? Or grown market share purely thanks to the consistency of the secondary colour palette in PowerPoint decks? Your customers don’t notice or care about this stuff, so why should you?

As experts in brand management, isn’t it time we applied this knowledge to develop our personal brand and reposition that of our profession, rather than obsessing over minutiae that purely serves to reinforce the stereotype?

Top tips for fighting the fluff

  1. Begin with becoming obsessively curious about the wider business performance and how marketing can drive or influence it.
  2. Celebrate new customer wins within your team and make sure every one of them understands the key financials.
  3. Make a public commitment to link your team’s outputs to directly driving these business outcomes.

I’ll be sharing steps 2 and 3 in subsequent posts, but in the meantime I’d love to hear your thoughts. What has driven you to despair over the ‘fluffy’ perception of marketing, and what steps have you taken to overcome it?


5 thoughts on “Giving marketing a rebrand- step 1

  1. allan evans


    While I agree with the central thrust of your argument, we should be wary of legitimising the ill-informed attacks on the need to enforce the detail around visual identities and other such minutia. Would an accountant turn a blind eye to decimal point being in the wrong place on the stock position of a remote trading subsidiary?

    I doubt it – details matter – and annoying as it may sometimes appear to the work winners, we should be robust in the defence of the tools we have and the assets we help to create.

    But you are right to challenge us to raise our game and build our impact and influence.

    So my non-technical top 5, which overlap with your top 3, would be;

    • Get qualified and retain the currency of that qualification and insist on the team becoming qualified. Peer to peer is so, so important
    • Understand the numbers as well as the FD… their language and understand the financial drivers as well the finance team. Make them your allies
    • Go native in the business but remain independent and objective
    • Understand the sales cycle and where you can add value – don’t make false claims but also don’t hide
    • Be commercial – do deals both internally and externally. We are business people as well as marketers and the wider business will respond well to a commercial conversation.

    1. Steve Revill Post author

      Hi Allan,

      Thanks for your comment which adds that all important perspective. I’m certainly not advocating we lose our attention to detail, rather that we don’t allow it to define us in the eyes of others. Your top 5 are an excellent build and touch upon some of the content of the next two posts in the series.

      Thanks again for sharing your insight and experience.

  2. Pingback: Giving marketing a rebrand- step 2 | Steve Revill

  3. Pingback: Giving marketing a rebrand- step 3 | Steve Revill

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