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Marketing teams are a special bunch – listen to them

Marketing teams still have a bit of a bad reputation. They are generally loud, are the ones who “represent” your company and thus believe they are important. And their communication methods tend to cause a stirr from time to time, because they love to push the boundaries of what they can and cannot do.

I still feel that in most organization, marketing has a pure push communication role or a problem solving role. Products are developed by product teams and researchers, IT provides them with the backbone they need to make the product work and marketing is there to promote the finished product.

Yet, marketing has evolved significantly in the last two decades. And especially with the introduction of data-driven performance marketing tools and channels, your marketing team is a lot more knowledgeable than you might think.

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For the record: I am one of them, too Guilty as charged.

Performance marketeers are a special breed of marketeers though. I think that we (as a nicely stereotypical group) have a few things going for us that general marketeers don’t.

  1. We love data
  2. We breath data
  3. We know how to work with data

Oh yeah, and did I tell you that performance marketing is all about data?

Now, seriously the great thing about digital tools and information is that we have started to build up entirely new sets of skills in our marketing departments. Marketing is not only about our companies public relations(hips) anymore, but far more about understanding our customers intentions.

Next to that, your marketeers have access to tons of market research data and tools that would be very hard to obtain by doing surveys through traditional research efforts.

Maybe you don’t have to listen to your marketing team on everything that they say, but you can use them to validate your market hypotheses on a regular basis. When you have a solid team of data driven marketeers, they will know exactly what to do to validate your thoughts.

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Not all companies are set up to work in a matrix setup; whick would allow multiple departments to work on one hypothesis. Departmental thinking and scattered information can be a real challenge in your organization. However, there is one department that is closest to your market and its customers.

You should use your marketing team to:

  1. Validate your market hypotheses.
  2. Use them to find new market niches.
  3. Flag market saturation early on to lower your inventory risk.
  4. Test new products on small customer groups.
  5. Learn more about your competition.

Your marketing team, and especially your performance marketing team, can do far more than you might think.

Let’s say that you run a large retail store. If you would know how many of your competitors sold a certain product and were flagged early enough, you could react accordingly. Next to that, your performance marketing team is able to see when the number of product searches for a brand or category changes. The digital marketing team especially, has a lot of market information that everyone in your organzation should be working with.

Create organizational data transparancy

The key to working with good marketing teams, is that you need to data available within your organization.

That is why I am a big fan of working out loud. Working out loud is a great concept, because it sees sharing knowledge as an essential driver for personal growth. I firmly believe that knowlege in turn promotes organizational growth.

Hence, it is important to share the learnings of each department openly within your organization. If there is one thing that marketing can do, it should be that. Sharing knowledge, insights and flag things that happen within the market is the core task of your marketing department.

Performance marketeers are a special bunch, I know. But you should really invest more time with them if you want to learn more about your customers and their needs. If your organization is not centered around information yet, you need to start today. And my best piece of advice would be to start listening to your marketing team, right now.

Remco Livain
I’m a digital entrepreneur, online performance marketeer, founder and CEO of the digital innovation consultancy GANDT Ventures (based in Switzerland). We support organizations (SMBs, corporates and later stage ventures) in their digital efforts. I learned the trades of the (online) business at Venture Stars (MIFLORA), Rocket Internet (Westwing Home and Living) and Insparx (C-Date and be2).

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