Could your company’s non-marketing departments be negatively impacting your marketing efforts?
The answer is yes.
Most employees perform tasks that, on their face, don’t relate to marketing, but still impact marketing efforts. From the chief executive to the minimum-wage shipping assistant, every staff member has the power to affect your brand — the brand so carefully developed and promoted by your marketing department. It’s what prompted me to write the article, “How Are Your Employees Marketing You?”
There are also many marketing opportunities that non-marketing departments often fail to take advantage of. By becoming familiar with common marketing mistakes made by non-marketing departments, you can develop a stronger cross-departmental marketing strategy, and ensure that your brand is protected by your entire staff.
Mistake #1: Leaving Data on the Table
One of the most common marketing mistakes made by non-marketing departments is failing to ask new customers how they heard about your business.
In its essence, marketing is the concerted effort to attract new customers and to keep existing customers coming back for more. This core goal makes it crucial for every business to track which marketing channels are delivering results.
If your sales department, for example, receives a call from a potential new customer, your sales representative should ask where that caller heard about your company. Otherwise, your rep is leaving valuable marketing data on the table.
Mistake #2: Failing to Facilitate Cross-Departmental Communication
This marketing mistake often goes hand in hand with Mistake #1. All departments must be equipped to exchange relevant information among one another. Failing to establish proper communication protocols between the marketing department and other departments (especially sales) can lead to inconsistent branding, inefficient customer service, and a generally scattered marketing strategy.
For years, businesses have struggled with the overlapping responsibilities of their separate sales and marketing departments, and every business needs to reconcile that tug-of-war according to their unique business needs. However, you can significantly reduce any cross-departmental friction or inefficiencies by establishing clear processes for the continuous two-way exchange of information between departments. When a new customer shares where he/she heard about your business, that information should be systematically passed along to the department(s) that need to know.
Mistake #3: Leaving IT Out Of Marketing
The new era of “big data” is largely the result of advanced technological capabilities in data analysis and networking, as a well as a workforce generally well-versed in computers. Data, however, is only as useful as your business allows it to be.
So, Mistake #3 is setting up your company’s IT infrastructure without considering the marketing department’s need for free-flowing company data. Although some business intelligence can certainly be exchanged via cross-departmental communication protocols, most modern businesses generate a treasure trove of useful, digital intelligence that is stored in databases, PCs, and other networked devices. This information needs to be electronically accessible.
If your marketing department is able to access and then efficiently analyze your company data, marketing strategies can be better optimized to increase ROI and ultimately improve your bottom line.
In order to make this happen, your IT engineer must be told that you want it to happen. One of the highest priorities for any IT manager is securing company data, and consequently, data accessibility is a low priority. It may take a new business intelligence system and/or a little IT creativity to implement a secure, yet employee-accessible database, but if you do, your marketing efforts might just prove that accessibility is worth the investment.
Mistake #4: Isolating SEO Efforts to the Marketing Department
Let’s take a break from communication mistakes to look at a common marketing mistake made by HR departments. With the development of online job boards and the LinkedIn boom, HR employees have been forced to become online marketers themselves, but many HR departments have yet to formally recognize the need to consistently apply online marketing strategies. If your HR staff isn’t familiar with search engine optimization (SEO), it’s time for them to learn.
Although SEO can get complicated, your HR department can easily benefit from the basics. When writing an online job ad, for example, the department can improve reach and increase the number of qualified applicants by employing simple SEO best practices, such as using relevant keywords and including links to optimized landing pages. All it takes to implement SEO in HR is basic SEO training and a conscious effort to be SEO savvy.
Mistake #5: Forgetting About the Brand
Arguably the most detrimental marketing mistake commonly made by non-marketing departments is forgetting to enact the company’s brand, or worse, not understanding what your brand is. Your brand is your company’s image. It is also the creative product of your marketing department, and the brand’s core message is enacted, or not, by your entire staff.
Many businesses do often stress the importance of respecting and maintaining company culture, and while this is important, it’s not enough. Company culture is merely a promise made to your staff. Your brand, on the other hand, is the promise you’ve made to your customers, and your entire company must uphold that overarching promise.
If your company’s main unique value proposition (UVP) is providing personalized customer service, then every staff member in each department should perform their tasks with that promise in mind. It’s one thing for your marketing department to tell customers that your business does something outstanding. It’s another for the company to back up that claim by actually doing it.
To learn more about proper branding, see my article The Top 7 Characteristics Of Successful Brands.
There are plenty of other marketing mistakes that non-marketing departments make, so if you want to make the most of your marketing efforts, be sure to look at marketing as a cross-departmental strategy. Nothing can give your business a better image quite like the staff members who run it.
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