Most companies regularly hold what is known as a leadership team meeting or a senior leadership team meeting.
At Amazon, they call it the “S” team – the senior leadership team. Other places might refer to it as a corporate staff meeting. Or, it might be called the weekly VP meeting.
Whatever the title, it’s that leadership team meeting held at the company.
Who is at this meeting? The CEO or president or founder certainly is present. The CFO is always at that meeting. Leaders know that we’ve got to make sure that the numbers add up and our margins are in place.
Typically, the person that leads operations is there. This makes complete sense, because you’re going to want to have a weekly discussion that involves the strategic and activation and tactical aspect on the operation front.
You might have your human resources lead, or even someone from IT. Possibly compliance and legal if you have enough of that and you’re large enough. Maybe even sales earns a seat at the table, and sometimes, marketing.
I’ve had CEOs say to me, “Well, why do I need marketing at the table? Why are they really there?”
If that’s what you’re thinking, I need to help you to see that differently. There is a misperception by business leaders that marketing doesn’t need to be at the table.
Marketing needs to engage at a strategic level at the company.
It cannot be primarily tactically focused, or activation focused. CEOs must view marketing as strategic first, tactical second.
That is a flip for many leaders. Small- and medium-sized businesses often have marketing as a tactical component that makes things look pretty and assures that the story is told in a positive way. At a big company, sales often drive things and marketing is an implementer.
Here’s why you as the CEO, president or founder need to change that perception. You are leaving things on the table when it comes to marketing.
And here’s what’s happening.
If you don’t have marketing at the table, and you have a director of marketing, but they don’t come to that meeting, one of two things are going to happen.
First, if that person is good at marketing, you’re not going to keep that position filled. A talented person at marketing is going to leave.
Second, is that it perpetuates if someone is not so great at the strategic part of marketing and they are a tactical marketer that does make things look pretty, makes the website good and has social posts that tell the story, that person is valuable and they should probably report to someone that is strategic when it comes to marketing.
So, either you’re losing talented marketing people that have a vision, or you’re perpetuating things by giving the marketing function to a person that’s really tactical activation, and while still should be valuable.
If you’re that person out there, I’m not saying they should fire you. I’m saying you’re valuable. You can provide tactical activation of the marketing strategy. You’re an important person on that team.
But if there is no strategic marketer, you are going to continually produce tactical marketing and eventually you’re going to get lumped in a box of being very minimally important and going to be evaluated on things such as the golf outing or Christmas party or the home-page of the website.
Eventually, you’re going to be put in a box of someone that’s ineffective or you’re going to get fired and forced out or you’re going to leave.
If you’re a person that’s talented at strategic marketing, and you’re not at that seat at the table, you are going to get frustrated and going to leave.
The point is, a company leader should not try to have it both ways. If you want to complain about marketing, hold marketing accountable and worry about the marketing ROI, then you need to have a marketing strategist at the table.
You need to have a marketing strategist that’s passionate about evaluating and tweaking the customer experience.
You should have a marketing strategist who is looking at the art and science of marketing, not just making something pretty.
Learning and changing can be difficult.