Making Your “Marketing Marriage” Work!

October 7, 2009
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candy heartWith daily pressures for instant results, deadlines and executive demands for a six- to nine-month return on investment, most marketing executives are challenged to think strategically. A key question confronting marketers is, “Should marketing and the marketing budget be managed for the long term or the short term?” Your answer probably depends on whether you view marketing as a wedding or a marriage.

In my experience, marketing is most effective when it is treated more like a marriage than a wedding. Conceptually, here are a few things that make a marriage work:

  • Committed to the long haul (hopefully)!
  • Focused on planning for the future (allocating resources to fund different priorities)
  • Allows for conflict and cooperation (give and take—working towards a win/win situation)
  • Constant communication is the norm

Driving the analogy home, marketing is more effective when, like a marriage, it is focused on:

  • Building stronger, and long term relationships (with customers, internal customers, partners, sales teams etc…)
  • Constant communication (with the parties above)
  • Driving a deeper understanding (in this case, of customers and competitors)
  • Seeking to influence the “bigger



candy heartWith daily pressures for instant results, deadlines and executive demands for a six- to nine-month return on investment, most marketing executives are challenged to think strategically. A key question confronting marketers is, “Should marketing and the marketing budget be managed for the long term or the short term?” Your answer probably depends on whether you view marketing as a wedding or a marriage.

In my experience, marketing is most effective when it is treated more like a marriage than a wedding. Conceptually, here are a few things that make a marriage work:

  • Committed to the long haul (hopefully)!
  • Focused on planning for the future (allocating resources to fund different priorities)
  • Allows for conflict and cooperation (give and take—working towards a win/win situation)
  • Constant communication is the norm

Driving the analogy home, marketing is more effective when, like a marriage, it is focused on:

  • Building stronger, and long term relationships (with customers, internal customers, partners, sales teams etc…)
  • Constant communication (with the parties above)
  • Driving a deeper understanding (in this case, of customers and competitors)
  • Seeking to influence the “bigger picture”–not boxed into the “day-to-day” minutiae
  • A continual process—a journey of improvement, as opposed to marching towards various destinations

I had a wedding many moons ago and it was fun, but anyone who is married knows—the hard work begins after the wedding. Does the same thing hold true for strategic marketing?

Are some marketers avoiding the “hard work”—the process, the long-term focus, the constant communication, the deeper understanding, the bigger picture. etc., because it’s easier and more fun just to open up an excel spreadsheet and move dollar amounts around to the different columns?

When presented with a budget of say, $500K, I’ve seen many marketers quickly approach it this way: A dash of industry associations, a pinch of direct marketing, maybe a tradeshow or two? How about a couple of display ads in the national IT publication?

Where’s the groundwork? The plan to meet business goals? The multi-year plan to expand to new markets? The portfolio review? And how much investment is it going to take to get there?

I propose that marketing should more like a marriage than a series of weddings. Not to say execution of events and marketing deliverables isn’t important, but marketing should seek to influence the direction of the business, not just plan for the latest display advertising campaign.

Is marketing in your organization, more like a marriage or a series of one-off weddings?

Should marketing be treated more like a marriage? I’d love to hear your opinions…