Click below to listen. You’ll love it.

The marketing department often has a big ol’ bullseye on its back. If you’re a CMO at a large corporation, don’t get too comfy: Most of you will be gone in under 4 years. If you are a Marketing Director at a small or medium company…you probably aren’t “directing” any marketing.

“Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.”

So sayeth the late David Packard (he was the other guy in Hewlett-Packard).

Was this a snarky dig at marketing? Or was Dave trying to get something else across?

The odds that you’ll overestimate the importance of marketing are slim.

The odds that it will be relegated to “that lady over there in the corner who buys ads” are practically 1:1.

Dave, speaking from beyond, wants you to know that marketing isn’t “ads.” But ads are part of it. Marketing isn’t “being creative.” But those are good chops to have. Most importantly:

Marketing isn’t a department, c-suite title, or one person. If it has something to do with touching the customer, it has something to do with marketing.

  • Your pricing strategy? That’s marketing.
  • The texture of your business cards? That’s marketing.
  • Your refund policy? That’s marketing.
  • How fast your website loads? That’s marketing.
  • Being a part of a charity event? That’s marketing.
  • Where your business is located? That’s marketing.
  • Where to buy chairs for the waiting area? That’s marketing.
  • Qualitative and quantitative research? That’s marketing.
  • Business hours? That’s marketing.
  • Staff training? That’s totally marketing.

This is not to suggest that your CMO or Marketing Director should make all these decisions alone. This is to expound on Dave’s point: Marketing is too important.

Your Marketing Director should be a clearing station for these decisions. Is this going to fit with our greater marketing mission? Yes…do it. No…don’t do it. Far too often I hear marketing directors say they would like to do something “but the sales department won’t let me.”

Shut up sales department. If you want to direct marketing, apply to be the marketing director. Your world is selling stuff. Do that. Marketing’s world is making sure what is being sold is consistent with the overall message being put forward.

If you’re Tiffany’s, Ralph Lauren, or any business that wants to convey that the quality of the product is more important than the price, your Marketing Director needs to body-block the door to prevent any department from having an “80% off storewide blowout sale.”

If you’re a plumber who proclaims how important fast response is, your Marketing Director needs to be empowered to judo-kick anyone trying to install an automated phone tree.

If your Marketing Director comes to you and says “hey, that meathead at the front desk was watching TikTok videos when a customer walked in,” don’t reply with “that’s not your department.” Say “thank you,” and FIX IT.

Frankly, if anyone sees a rift between your values and the way your company is being portrayed by your employees, they need to be able to bring it to the attention of the owner.

If you’re at a Chick-Fil-A and say “thank you,” employees consistently reply with “my pleasure.” Is it some kind of southern charm? Is it because the owners are devout Christians? A smidgen of both…but the real reason—Marketing. It’s good marketing. It’s their way of saying “we are selling the same, dull, and pathetically tasteless meat everyone else is…so we better make the experience special.”

Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department…so get everyone involved.

Johnny Molson


In no particular order, here is an incomplete list of the things Marketing should be paying attention to:

  • Pricing strategy
  • Invoice terms from your vendors
  • Inventory
  • Available billing hours
  • Value : Benefit ratio
  • Email response time
  • Staff skills
  • Refund policy
  • Membership perks
  • Location
  • Hours available
  • Professional logo
  • Sales promotions
  • Brochures
  • Website
  • Message consistency
  • Business card texture
  • Bathroom cleanliness
  • Responsible drivers
  • Visible signage
  • Merchandising
  • Incentives
  • Financing
  • Customer interaction
  • Public relations
  • Advertising
  • Product research
  • Qualitative data
  • Quantitative data
  • Secondary data
  • Friendly receptionist
  • Staff attire
  • Service contracts
  • Rent
  • Frictionless purchases
  • Minimal errors
  • Message cohesion
  • Facebook page
  • Google search
  • Brand promise
  • Community involvement
  • Profit margin
  • Blog posts
  • Staff training
  • White glove test
  • Positive word of mouth
  • Website responsiveness
  • Comfortable waiting area

What would you add to that list? Send me an email.

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