Marketing is sometimes referred to as the voice of the customer, but if it is to truly lead within a business then this has to be balanced with team capabilities and corporate culture – find the sweet spot and marketing can once again become a successful driving force, says an industry consultant.

Writing for WARC, Johnny Corbett, founder of the Hammond and Finch consultancy, notes that, fifteen years ago, the idea of a marketing-led business was not unusual, but thanks to factors like the digital explosion, global recession and a failure of trust, that has all changed.

His conversations with brand and business leaders have exposed the lack of support available to help them understand and simplify what it takes for marketing to regain its previous position of influence.

In A new framework to help marketing lead in business, he sets out to identify the challenges marketers face and suggest how they can address these.

He highlights the three areas of a marketer’s world – customer, capability and culture – all of which take resources in time, energy and investment to keep performance on track.

“These ‘forces’ interact with each other, the balance across all three needs to be maintained, and what each needs to deliver should be determined by a clear business or organisational strategy,” he explains.

But the balance is a delicate thing to strike and when it is out of kilter – where one (or more) is missing – some consistent challenges occur; these emotional ‘hallmarks’ can undermine strong marketing delivery, Corbett warns.

So for example, marketers may have had solid training and experience (capability), brands may have a distinctive and consistent brand promise, products, communications and experiences (customer) but the organisation thinks of marketing as a secondary function (culture).

The result is frustration as people and brands are held back from delivering effective marketing – and this often occurs, says Corbett, in industries where product is the champion or where short-term commercial challenges take precedence.

“When the three forces are balanced, marketing is set up for success,” he advises: “with a strong outward facing brand experience, the capability to manage that experience today and for tomorrow, and a business which installs marketing as a driving force within the organisation.”

Sourced from WARC