7 Ways Company Leaders Fail Their Marketing Team

It’s easy to assume that Marketing will be the panacea for all sales and operational problems in the business. It’s also easy to blame marketing for all the issues in the organization. Here are the common mistakes I’ve seen leaders make with the marketing teams in their organizations:

1. Expecting marketing to out-market a lousy product, flawed business model, or poor customer experience.

‘Just write a better ad’ and ‘create a more catchy video’ are just a couple of things that I’ve been told over the years. Be honest with yourself about your product and your customer experience! If your product is outdated, trying to compete in a highly-competitive space, looks like every other product on the market, your audience is too broad, or your operations team is not delivering a fantastic customer experience, you will struggle to gain share. Marketing may provide a short-term band-aid but will not overcome these issues long-term.

2. Hiring great marketing people and expecting 10x returns with almost ZERO marketing resources/budget.

Hiring a great marketing team is just the first step, not the last in your responsibility when setting them up to drive revenue. It can be bottom-up or top-down, but one thing’s for sure, you can’t buy a brand new shiny car and not put gas in it to make it go! Why did you hire them if you don’t have faith or trust in them?

Marketing leaders, before you take the job, make sure you have an appropriate budget and power to get the job done! If you have to ask permission to spend every dollar, you are NOT empowered to do the job they hired you to do!

3. Not including marketing representation in the C-suite or leadership.

I shouldn’t have to explain this, but I will. If marketing is a strategic initiative for your company, it should have representation on your leadership team. They are the voice of the customer, end of the story.

4. Expecting marketers to be experts in all areas of marketing.

You can find a marketing unicorn, and they do exist! But even unicorns are going to be stronger in some areas vs. others. Listen when they say they need resources and support them! Make sure you understand the strengths of your team members and ensure their strengths fit the part marketing needs to play in your company.

5. Calling audibles in the middle of the play.

The marketing team delivered a brand and marketing strategy outlining how they would deliver for the company, and the leadership team agreed.

But you, as the leader, (whether based on your own opinion, what competitors are doing, feedback of friends or people outside of the company, something you learned at a conference, or comments of 1 customer) you tell the marketing team to take a different messaging direction, target a different audience, or implement a new tactic without solid strategic reasoning or buy-in. All I can say is, do at your peril. You risk derailing the progress of the team and undermining the confidence of the team you hired to do the job for you.

6. Not having a marketing presence on social media.

Dear founders and CEOs, you don’t get to opt out of social media and rely solely on your marketing team to help build your brand! Get involved. Tell your story. YOU are part of the brand! Your voice is integral to driving talent acquisition, building consumer confidence, employee confidence, and inspiring affinity to your brand.

7. Not aligning sales and marketing initiatives.

These two departments should never work in a silo. It’s too easy for one or the other to point the finger when things are going wrong. If your sales and marketing leaders are not collaborating or on the same page, there is work to do.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. What am I missing? What steps will you take to level up your marketing team so they can deliver 10x for your company?

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