Hi all, I’m having some trouble with my company’s product/ operations execution team not understanding the role of (or even the need for) marketing. They have asked me to come into one of their upcoming team meetings and sent over a list of questions they’d like answered. The questions really boil down to “what do you actually do.” I’ll give some backstory below, but would love some resources, tactics, articles, Ted talks, etc that I could share in this presentation that might help a very tactically-minded team understand and better appreciate marketing. I’ve pasted my presentation outline start below and would love some tips there too. I know this is long, so thanks in advance for all who get through it an can contribute!
**Here’s the backstory:**
I came into this marketing director role 13 months ago, a few months after some major turnover in this company. The marketing department had some terrible, wasteful, unethical leadership which significantly contributed to conflict between the product operations department and the marketing department. In general, the operations team believed they did all the work, and the marketing team just sat back and collected a paycheck. To be fair, 70% of the marketing team ended up being let go over a 6 month period because this was true. We got rid of all the wasteful, unethical, not-motivated team members, and have had a much stronger team for almost a year now.
**Changes to the marketing department:**
Over the last 13 months, the marketing team has hired a number of new, incredible employees that are doing amazing work. Our final under-performing employee left three months ago- she was the most challenging in that she was hitting many of our benchmarks. Although she was doing some successful and productive work, she was ultimately gaming the system a bit when it came to some benchmarks, and was often pretty difficult for everyone to work with- we had put a lot of pressure on her to improve, and were in the process of figuring out her future (and timing of her termination) when she resigned.
Some additional positive changes in the marketing are as follows– We now track our efforts in several ways, and can concretely show the success and value of our marketing team. We’ve made significant efforts to provide transparency into what we do by sharing campaign info, metrics, and both successful and unsuccessful campaign outcomes and learnings. We’ve also significantly reduced our previously bloated marketing budget and diverted a lot of it back to the product team because we know that a quality product is vital to our success.
All of the aforementioned changes have certainly helped narrow the divide between departments, but we still have some distance to cover. I want to make sure to take advantage of my time speaking with the Product/Operations team, and address this in a productive manner. That said, I also have a desire to really nip this “my department is the most valuable” attitude in the bud. I’ve outlined a few of the historical marketing department shortcomings above, but we’re definitely not alone in having challenges and failures- Operations/Product does as well. That’s just part of being in business and producing a fairly complicated product, and is also the unfortunate result of making some bad hires- Operations has gone through that, just like Marketing. I’d really like some material that leans into the “we all have an important role” concept to try to open their eyes a bit.
**My current presentation bullet points:**
A) Overview of marketing team roles
B) Share very basic info about how much exposure it takes an individual to make a purchase- talk about our support for the product/operations team and address relative cost associated with retaining a customer vs the increased cost and relative inefficiency/difficulty of identifying & converting a new customer.
C) Share basic info on how we research our target demographic and reach those core customers through a variety of channels.
D) Share metrics from the last year- marketing reach (and YOY increase w/ significantly reduced budget), newly tracked data, new info on CPA rates, current tactics & focus
E) Share marketing goals for the coming year.
1. I feel like our Operations/Product team is VERY tactically minded. That’s why they are so good at their jobs, but it’s also a huge part of the divide between our teams. They really don’t understand marketing or why it’s necessary. I have reason to think that a large number of them believe that if they create a great product, it will sell itself, and they don’t need marketing or sales at all. They likely understand the concrete sales info (we generate a promo code, X number of people use it, so marketing/sales is responsible for those conversions), but I don’t know if any of them understand the concept of content marketing or brand awareness. **How in depth should I go here? I don’t feel like I should be teaching them how to be a marketer, but is there a way for me to get through to them and help them better understand the role of marketing on a broad scale?**
2. There’s a pretty long history of this divide between departments. I want to be sensitive to that, but I feel like we’re at a point where we need to get tough on this- the feeling of superiority and the team silo mentality needs to stop. It’s affecting the morale of my team, and I’m sure it affects the operations team as well. It doesn’t help anyone when the operations team continuously questions the need for marketing. **How can I be sensitive to this, but also put some pressure on everyone to end it? Transparency from my department is a huge factor here. My team is doing everything we can in that regard, but will anything beyond that transparency help?**
3. Specifically, there is a lot of animosity coming from the product/operations team members who worked directly with the under-performing employee I mentioned above. **How can I address this specific situation in an ethical manner? Can I address it at all?** My current thought is just to continuously reinforce that “me CURRENT” team has done X, Y and Z, and has performed incredibly. I’m not sure what else I can do in that regard? It’s frustrating that the whole team is suffering the bias of the view of one challenging employee- the rest of the last year has been amazingly productive outside that one person!
4. **Is there anything else that would be helpful to include in my presentation? are there any items I have listed above that you think I should skip?**