How to tell, and what to do
It’s time for the big meeting. The client waits as the marketing team, wearing suits and ties, struggles to get their PCs to properly display their 40-slide PowerPoint presentation.
Too late. The client has mentally moved on before the first slide was displayed. Why? Because she knew right away that this particular marketing team was completely out of touch, and would likely have nothing of value to share.
The client’s first impression was accurate. Here’s how that impression was formed:
- Suits and ties are the uniform of the sales department, and reflect a more rigid approach than a marketing or advertising professional would recommend.
- Professional marketers don’t use PowerPoint presentations anymore, because they don’t work. That’s why the first slide in such a presentation usually evokes groans. And that’s why today’s smart marketers use short explainer videos to deliver a condensed, higher-impact presentation that leaves more time for open discussions.
- Stiff, formal copywriting has long since been replaced by conversational marketing, a more casual and relatable style. Your audience doesn’t respond to lecturing, but they do respond to conversational storytelling.
- Not properly targeting your audience leads to an ill-fitting presentation. A PowerPoint presentation may still work with some people over 50, but if your audience is younger, you’ve lost their interest.
- An out-of-touch marketing department might think a formal press release is all they’ll need to get the word out. Savvy marketers understand the importance of combining business development, digital outreach (drip campaigns, blogs, PR) and videos with their social media campaigns. Social Media should be planned strategically with business development, and should only focus on channels that make most sense for that business.
- Most importantly, everyone working on a project must stay in their own Creatives should listen to the sales team for granular customer insights; salespeople should understand how the creative work is deployed so they can take full advantage of marketing’s initiatives. When a salesperson decides, say, to write a TV script to “show Marketing how it’s done,” that salesperson is not only wasting everyone’s time, but is causing unnecessary friction between sales and marketing. When Sales and Marketing suffer a misalignment, the entire company’s revenues are at risk.
Business Development Specialist Gina Ferraro of MediaMark Spotlight points out, “A surefire method to evaluate company unity is to see how much blame gets thrown around when bottom lines are called into question. Since the work of sales and marketing is so intertwined, some finger-pointing is inevitable. You’ll know you have a misalignment problem on your hands, however, if the respective heads are too busy rebutting each other to concentrate on next steps.”
Ferraro continues: “Sales departments are very much fixated on meeting quotas and closing deals. Marketers, on the other hand, play the long-term game and gradually build competitive advantage. Different priorities naturally result in different goals being set, which basically means the two departments are working at cross-purposes. Warning bells should go off in your head if your sales and marketing teams start celebrating on different occasions.”