Let’s be honest, marketing as a whole (marketing, sales, PR, advertising, social, etc.) is often treated as a second class citizen by businesses. We are the last place to get budgets and the first ones to lose them, and it’s kind of our fault.

We have made things so hard for many businesses to understand by measuring crazy metrics that have nothing to do with the bottom line, and inventing convoluted terms that mean nothing to anyone other than those deep in the industry. It’s easy to see where business owners lost their faith. On the bright side, the Web 2.0 world has given us both the tools and the mandate to market in a way that makes more sense. We need to seize this opportunity to force our businesses, whether we have clients or work on the corporate side, to integrate us into their everyday lives instead of acting like we are the slowly crumbling silo at the outskirts of their land.


With the help of Web 2.0, we in the marketing world now have our hands in every part of the business in real time, from fielding customer complaints and suggestions on social media to measuring how well every product is performing and what sources are helping it sell by using analytics. Everything we do has an immediate and measurable impact on the bottom line of the companies we work with.

With great power, however, comes great responsibility. With all of this added influence, we need to “grow up” if we expect to be given a seat at the grown-up table with the CEOs, scientists, and engineers. It’s time for marketing professionals to stop focusing on the number of Facebook fans we have and start paying attention to how the interaction with them impacts every single part of our business, from customer service to sales, and even research and development. When marketers make their impact to a business known, it allows that business to be wildly successful.

Information is simply moving too fast to allow “the marketing department” to sit out on its own, creating websites and logos on the whims of the people making the choices. We need to be involved in these choices from the top down to ensure that these seemingly random promotions or website changes actually make sense to the overall business strategy. Additionally, the sheer amount of information that the entire marketing team brings about the audience is changing constantly and needs to be ever present in the boardroom to ensure we are truly meeting the evolving needs of our customers.


So How Can Marketers Make this Happen?

Pick Projects With Passion

We’ve all gotten a job and disliked it, or had that one client of which we just couldn’t gain a passionate understanding. Marketers need to be less afraid to say no. It is much easier to integrate yourself and your team into projects you are truly passionate about because you begin to think beyond your marketing “checklist” and gain insight into how what you do impacts the rest of the business. In turn, this makes it easier to measure, report, and focus your efforts (not to mention blow past expectations!).

Find the Opportunities to Prove Yourself:

No matter how passionate you are about a project, if the company is set in their ways you face a hard uphill battle. Don’t fret. Take your time and find the opportunities to show how much value marketing truly adds to the company. The best place to start is with the things under your control, like the analytics dashboard for the website. Make sure the goals section is set up and that they actually measure something. The next time you have the opportunity to chat with the “higher ups,” show them the changes you’re making, why you’re making them, and explain what impacts they have on the company (Hint: It impacts EVERYTHING).

Measure Metrics that Matter:

It’s virtually impossible for the CEO or other senior members of the board to understand your true value if you don’t provide them with metrics that matter. In the boardroom, money speaks loudly. Instead of showing them how many fans your Facebook has, show them how many bought your products. Then, after you’ve proven your value, show them the feedback you’ve collected from the latest email survey or social media question AND the answers about how the company will address them. Trust me, you will be looked at as a hero!


Image Credit: Greener Grass Marketing and Twitter user Jared L Johnson