Too many companies fail to using their marketing departments to their best advantage. Here are some examples of how it is at some companies, and how it should be.
1. How it is: No one coordinates the brand. Staff members do whatever they please with the logo and literature. If you looked at all the company's materials, you'd hardly be able to tell they're from the same corporation.
How it should be: The marketer polices the brand, makes standard brand tools accessible companywide and insists standards are applied to all communications. A graphic standards manual is maintained and shared with any agency designing materials for the company.
2. How it is: The marketer spends a lot of time formatting proposals and responding to requests for information.
How it should be: The marketer spends a lot of time thinking about what makes the company unique and how it defines its ideal customers, creates appropriate messages and deploys them throughout the company's markets.
3. How it is: Sales and marketing don't get along. The top salesman feels marketing should take his lead and provide him whatever tools he asks for, promptly and without questions.
How it should be: Marketing takes the lead in helping to pre-qualify prospects. It clearly defines a good customer and attracts solid prospects to marketing events. This helps all the sales people and ensures the company is not overly dependent on one salesman.
4. How it is: Strategic decisions are made behind closed doors and directives come down from on high to the marketing department.
How it should be: The marketing department's advice is sought before strategic decisions are made, and thus understands the rationale and has a better foundation for crafting messages.
5. How it is: The Web site is three years old and is not under the jurisdiction of the marketing department. The Web master is a secretary who responds to requests from any manager.
How it should be: The Web site is considered an important channel for marketing. The marketing department controls its look and content. Andrea Fitting is CEO of Fitting Group, a Pittsburgh-based agency that specializes in helping companies transition to deregulated markets.