Is marketing really broken?

Inc. Magazine recently ran an article proclaiming that marketing is “broken.” While I tend to agree for many reasons the author of the article, Curt Hanke has other ideas. And he was spot on.

By Bo McDonald

A study done last year by Fournaise Marketing found that 80% of CEOs reported that they do not really trust and are not impressed by the work done by marketers. While the statistic didn’t surprise me, the fact that the percentage was so high did.  How in the world could so many CEOs be disenfranchised with their marketing and marketing folks? Perhaps CEOs just don’t get marketing? After all, when times get tough marketing is one of the first things many boards and CEOs will put on the chopping block. Or maybe not.

The next statistic Hanke highlights in his article speaks volumes, and to me it explains why so many CEOs are unhappy with their marketing. According to a separate study done recently by Forrester Research, 55% of marketers reported not being confident that they know the metrics or business outcomes that their CEOs actually care about. Marinate on that for a moment.

As a marketer, how could we proclaim to have the answer to a problem if we don’t actually know what the problem is? Perhaps often it’s easier to take a generic marching order from the C Suite like “we need more loans” and run with it, without asking some important questions. Do we need more auto loans, mortgage loans, or both? How much do you consider “more?” What kind of loans are you willing to make? Only those with pristine credit, or are you willing to dig a little deeper and take some risk?

Hanke finds a problem, but NO, marketing is not broken. Perhaps it’s leadership that is lacking both from the C Suite and boardroom as well as from the marketers. While I can’t fix the fact that the process is broken for so many, I can fix it for our clients. How?

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