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Is your marketing focus internal or external?

If your marketing focus is on your products, your sales prices, your funnel, and your outcomes, you’ve got a problem. All the “yours” in that last sentence should be a pretty obvious clue.

Your (ahem) primary focus as a marketer has to be on the needs and attitudes of your target market. Every other decision flows from what you know about your clients and their needs.

Quite a bit of this is Marketing 101: benefits, not features; pain points; the cost of doing nothing; points of differentiation; and so on.

More important are the subtle and not-so-subtle mindset changes that you open yourself up to when you shift your focus externally. Because not only do you begin to look at your marketing approach through the eyes of your customer, but you begin to see the rest of your company through their eyes, as well.

This is critical, and it can help prevent the kinds of silo’ed thinking that keeps one hand from knowing what the other is doing. We’ve all seen this too frequently with “The Great Sales/Marketing Divide,” but it can be just as damaging if the customer service and product development teams aren’t marketing focused.

Your customer service team should, without doubt, be as knowledgeable about your marketing goals as your marketing team. They are the ones who, being on the front line, are most likely to alert you when your goals aren’t aligned with your clients’ expectations. Of course, to do so they have to know what your marketing goals are.

And product development teams–or strategic initiatives teams or whoever defines the services or products you will be marketing–also have to be clued in to customer service and marketing. This isn’t so marketing can gin up some language to differentiate weak products, but so new products are developed based on what clients are telling you they want.

The truth is that if you’re going to remain competitive, your marketing needs to focus both internally and externally. It has to be a big part of nearly every other department in your business. But first, it has focus on clients and prospective clients. You can pretend that marketing belongs in its own silo as an adjunct to sales, but your clients know otherwise. And they’ll prove it to you in the most painful of ways, by taking their budgets elsewhere.

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Andrew Schulkind

Since 1996, Andrew Schulkind has asked clients one simple question: what does digital marketing success look like, and how can marketing progress be measured? A veteran content marketer, web developer, and digital strategist, Andrew founded Andigo New Media to help firms find a more strategic and productive mix of tools that genuinely support online brand goals over time. With a passion for true collaboration and meaningful consensus, his work touches social media, search-engine optimization, and email marketing, among other components. He views is primary goal as encouraging engagement. Getting an audience involved in your story requires solid information architecture, a great user experience, and compelling content. A dash of common sense doesn’t hurt, either. Andrew has presented at Social Media Week NY and WordCampNYC, among other events, on content marketing and web-development topics. His technology writing appears on the Andigo blog, in a monthly column on Biznology.com, and for print and online publications like The New York Enterprise Report, Social Media Today, and GSG Worldwide’s publications LinkedIn & Business, Facebook & Business, and Tweeting & Business. Andrew graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He engages in a range of community volunteer work and is an avid fly fisherman and cyclist. He also loves collecting meaningless trivia. (Did you know the Lone Ranger made his mask from the cloth of his brother's vest after his brother was killed by "the bad guys?")

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