At a recent conference, Sylvia Reynolds, chief marketing officer for Wells Fargo, asked, "When did Marketing become the make-it-pretty department?" Reynolds then reminded conference participants that the fundamental role of Marketing has always been about the customer.
Essentially, Marketing's role is to find, keep, and grow the value of customers. So what does that mean, and how does a marketer get beyond the "make it pretty" syndrome?
We can use the American Marketing Association's (AMA) definition of marketing as a guide. The AMA defines marketing as "an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders."
By using this definition, we can see that marketing is more than a creative function; rather, it about a set of four critical customer-focused marketing processes.
Marketing sits in the space between the company's capabilities and what the customer wants. By understanding the core capabilities of the company, and then matching it with customer wants and needs, marketing drives value creation.
This means Marketing must fully understand the customer. In this capacity, the marketing organization serves as a driver of an organization's value chain by insuring products and services are shaped by customer expectations and demands.
Laura Patterson is president and founder of VisionEdge Marketing. For 20+ years, she has been helping CEOs and marketing executives at companies such as Cisco, Elsevier, ING, Intel, Kennametal, and Southwest Airlines prove and improve the value of marketing. Her most recent book is Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization.