Certain things in business and marketing are not that different from one company to the next. The mechanics of marketing, the fundamentals of business- these do not vary enormously. We collectively talk at length about best practices.
However, there's a big difference between following a template and knowing what you're doing. In this article, we look at some of the tools that are readily available to you and what a marketing expert really brings to the table.
What a marketing template is for
Hop onto Google, and you can find a template for just about everything- that goes for business and marketing strategy as well. We have several templates that we work from and tailor to individual needs, whether they be our own or provided to clients for them to use.
Of course, we have created these adding nuances based on our knowledge of what's valuable, so we like to think they are a cut above the rest. Even so, they are templates for value propositions, business models, brand positioning, marketing plans, content and so forth.
These templates are great. They give businesses an insight into the practical pieces of the puzzle that they need to get the methodology right for achieving a particular goal.
However, with any role within an organisation, there are always two questions that need to be answered and actioned to create the magic formula for success:
- What do you need to do?
- How are you going to do it?
The 'what' is in the template. However, the 'how' comes down to much more than just mechanics; that's when you need experience on your side.
Marketing strategy is more than methodology
My grandmother was an excellent baker. She was Canadian, although a long way back, there was Scottish ancestry. As a woman on the Canadian prairies at the turn of the century, her role was in the home, providing the backbone to the family and could just about make any meal or dessert from scratch. Her four children proudly upheld that heritage, inheriting her recipes and serving them up at any given opportunity.
Yet despite using the same recipes from the same person, each child made the same dish from that same playbook, they would all taste different. Each person interprets and actions instructions slightly differently, and getting it exactly right for the particular dish is a question of experience.
The same is true of anything that's uniquely valued. Many people can make cars, but only the select few can make a Mercedes. Lots of people make clothes, but there was only one Coco Chanel. Lots of people have marketing skills, but they don't all have the knowledge, experience, understanding or particular skill set to be an effective CMO.
Generally, that kind of knowledge comes with getting a certain number of years under your belt, but experience doesn't have to be about age. Head to Silicon Valley or any centre of excellence, and you will find many individuals whose experiences have made them wise beyond their years in their particular areas of expertise.
The value of a marketing expert is in the way they think
Thinking and knowledge are what set a marketing expert apart. Thought and knowledge are some of the greatest assets that any organisation can learn to harness.
Consider, for example, Microsoft's recent acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Their $68.7 billion purchase of the "Call of Duty" maker was not likely to be fuelled by their interest in the mechanics of specific games but in acquiring the knowledge and gaming experience that the brand embodies.
While it's comparatively easy to see what needs to be done to sell a product or service to your target market, it's critical thinking that's the difference between a to-do list and knowing what you're doing and why. Marketing leadership means knowing how to drive insights from market research to meet business goals. In many ways, that knowledge is intangible, reminding us of the fabled story of Picasso and his drawing on a napkin:
An admirer in a market is said to have asked if Picasso would do a quick sketch on a paper napkin for her. Having obliged, he hands it over and requests a large sum of money in return. Incredulous, she asks how he can ask for so much when it only took him a few moments to create it. To which, he responds: "No, it has taken me 40 years to do that."
The good news is that it can be brought in to support an existing team or full-time CMO, in small businesses and large ones, by hiring a fractional CMO. Dare we say it, but in this instance, our Fractional CMOs are Picasso, and it's the experience of a lifetime that they bring to businesses and their marketing teams. Although, generally, we work with people for longer than a few seconds.
Whether it's as a CEO Whisperer, a CMO Whisperer, or a Fractional CMO, we enhance a company's marketing by bringing the experience that aligns marketing strategy with business objectives and keeps it on track at the different touchpoints. So yes, we recommend marketing templates, we will even give them to you free of charge, but that's only the start of a successful marketing strategy.