‘Radical’ may not have been the word that popped into your mind when thinking about how to describe a marketing driven business…however in my experience that best explains what these types of companies have in common.
I have been fortunate to be employed by multiple companies in my time as an employee because that exposed me to a wide variety of company cultures in my various roles. I’m not just talking about roles as a marketer or graphic designer; if I consider my working career commenced as soon as I had my first proper part time job, then that includes time as a McDonalds crew trainer, working in a 5-star hotel and a sales merchandiser for a grocery company.
There were only three of the dozen or so companies I worked for that would be truly considered “marketing driven” and one that I distinctly remember as being “sales driven” – although most were that way inclined. What does it mean to be sales or marketing driven? I believe it has to do with where the energy hub is within a business or sometimes where the shots are being called. A sales driven organisation felt like everything was a knee-jerk reaction to whether sales were down or up, with that department calling upon marketing to ‘do something’, especially in retail.
A marketing driven organisation on the other hand could be considered a more proactive and structured approach; deliberately targeting defined audiences rather than building the business around who happened to become a customer. By identifying the market conditions they were able to deliberately create their product/service offering to attract the type of customers for which there was a gap. This was marketing textbook ‘positioning’ in action. They understood their niche and were single-minded about providing their customers what they knew would keep them coming back because they blew any competition out of the water with their service, attention to detail and customer relationships.
Ultimately these marketing driven employers were market leaders and as simple as this formula for success sounds, it takes a special set of circumstances, including putting their customers AND their employees at the heart of their business. In my experience they were bold, brave, persistent, visionary and sometimes controversial…probably because they were pushing boundaries. One of them was even featured in a book alongside the likes of Virgin called Radical Marketing. They were all radical in their own way, very memorable and at times exhilarating to work for when you knew you were part of creating something special.
So, the moral (or morale…because that’s what you get a lot of in a team who are all onboard the same ship, sailing in the same direction!) of the story is to consider how you can inject more ‘radical’ in your marketing. How can you stand out from the pack, do things better; putting your customers and employees at the heart of everything you do to create your own version of special?