At the risk of appearing to be even more of an unrepentant pseudo-intellectual than I actually am, I'm going to begin this article by quoting from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock:
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two
What better description for the enterprise perception of Marketing's value to that enterprise.
Ancillary. Secondary. Helpful but hardly central.
And we perpetuate that perception.
Masters of segmentation, we've segmented ourselves into Lead Generators. Message Makers. Brand Stewards. Useful, of course—in fact, indispensable. But indispensable the way facilities management is indispensable. Or travel management. Or any other organization that an enterprise relies on, but cannot be easily shown to have direct impact on revenue.
And if you don't have direct impact on revenue, you don't directly impact profit. And if you don't do that, you're second in line for everything—except maybe workforce reductions.
Now, of course, we find all manner of ways to connect the dots from advertising to revenue or segmentation to revenue or pricing strategies to revenue. But it never seems to work, does it? It never seems to create the convincing argument. It never seems to propel us to the kind of influential role within the enterprise that we so consistently strive for. And deserve.
No matter how hard we ride that bike, we just don't seem to make up any ground.