Having a strong marketing presence is often the single most influential difference between failure and success. For decades, we have seen how businesses are able to make instant improvements to their overall growth and bottom line performance simply by implementing a defined marketing capability to support the businesses through strategic influence aligned with tactical execution.

However, many organisations still find themselves several steps away from having this functionality in place, simply trying to gain as much value as possible from short-term investment in marketing efforts. We have identified these five failure factors when it comes to operating without a marketing capability, and how to overcome them.

1. Marketing as an afterthought is doomed to fail

Many organisations find themselves falling into the trap of “bolt-on marketing”. They develop what appears to be a great product, then decide to involve a marketing agency or consultant once the product is finalised and ready to be sold. It’s a very departmental view, and one which often causes a great deal of frustration.

An integrated marketing capability, on the other hand, gives your business a powerful, competitive edge from the very beginning of your product or service development journey. Having a skilled marketing resource as part of your business will not only align your development process with the genuine needs of your target audience, but may even speed up the process from concept to launch.

2. Trial and error is expensive

Many businesses tend to spend money on individual, tactical marketing activities rather than a marketing function which operates strategically over time. Typically, these short term efforts of campaigns and messaging prove to be unsuccessful. When the tactics don’t work, they are replaced with others in the hope that they will have a better impact. When the target audience doesn’t respond as well as hoped, the product is rebranded to appeal to a different audience. These approaches all evolve into a very reactive view on marketing being a plug-and-play device – something which can just be bolted on to the end of the development process. This type of marketing is both short-sighted and expensive; especially when it goes wrong.

3. Getting left behind will lead to failure

In a recent benchmarking study, McKinsey found that organisations with more advanced sales and marketing capabilities saw 30% higher revenue growth. The key to this growth was in the long-term return on investment from having a dedicated marketing function working alongside other business capabilities, adding value at every stage. Although bolting on individual campaigns and efforts as an extension of the development process is widely practiced, the most successful businesses in the study were those who recognised marketing as a genuine investment over time and not an on-the-spot expense.

4. Operating models need to be managed

What many businesses find when they start building out marketing and sales capabilities, is that the functions themselves aren’t enough. The capabilities will also require the right operating models to support this shift to a new approach. Most organisations will find that they require a sustainable operating model to keep the business going beyond the horizon of marketing tactics. This operating model will form the basis for how the entire function engages with the rest of the business in terms of performance, improvement over time, reviews, incentives, goals, leadership and culture. Once established, this operating model will ensure that the business has access to a mature, strong marketing capability which can support the growth and future development of the business in a very tangible way.

5. Technology is a critical element

As much as the marketing capability should be strategically integrated into the business, so should the technology that underpins its activities. The business should take a holistic view of how to develop and incorporate the right CRM system to sit at the very heart of all customer relationships and engagements. In many cases, this is another scenario where the one-size-fits-all approach simply may not be enough, but bespoke development could make all the difference. The best long-term interest for the business should always be at the forefront of technology decision-making, and this is no exception. A custom-built CRM framework will often provide the competitive edge that allows a business to get compound value from all marketing investment across the board.

If any of these factors seem only too familiar, you are not alone. There are plenty of tried and tested programmes available for developing marketing capability within an organisation – as well as technology partners standing by to support you in building the technology you need.


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