Top Three Signs Your Marketing VP Might Be in Trouble

At Fusion Marketing Partners, we have the privilege of working with some darn talented marketing VPs and our client list is populated with driven, innovative and capable marketing leaders. But when we scan the ranks of companies in the marketplace, you can’t help but notice companies that are falling short due to a handful of bad marketing practices. I’m not trying to beat up on anyone — these things are admittedly easier to spot when you’re on the outside and aren’t caught up in the day-to-day pressures of sitting in the VP’s chair. After many years of sitting in that chair, I know how hard it can be. After all, CEO’s and sales VP’s can be very tough customers.

That being said, you know you might need to think about making a change when your marketing VP always talks about how hard it is to tie efforts to results, or how the key benefit of any campaign will usually be intangible.  I’ve seen many companies waste time with in-house marketing campaigns that are doomed to fail.  Here are the top three indicators that your VP is missing the mark:

1. They Focus on Campaign Creation, Not Lead Generation

No one debates that marketing requires creativity. But when you let your creatives in marketing take the reins of the campaign, you often sacrifice effective messaging. Take Apple’s recent “Genius” campaign. Certainly, a marketing VP signed off on the idea because he or she thought it was funny or original, but the end result was that consumers felt both condescended to and annoyed by the elitist tone of the campaign. The ads were shelved after airing for only one weekend. This is what happens when you forget to take your potential customer into the equation. Your messaging should draw in leads with the tangible benefits of your brand, not be used as an entertainment exercise by your copywriters. A better leader or outsourced partner can put the focus back on no-nonsense lead generation.


2. They Don’t Create Compelling Content

Content is king in the online marketplace, and all your marketing channels should reflect this. You want to stand out from competitors when it comes to your content. Whether it is through blogging, social media, or branded articles, your content should contain relevant information presented in a conversational way which gives credibility to your brand. Marketing VPs can lose sight of this when they are constructing their integrated communications plans. Traditional push marketing is waning (although still effective in many situations), and developing new online content within a social environment is vital to sustaining your brand. If your team isn’t continually interacting with potential customers by providing useful content online, you need to either replace your team or get them the resources they need to be more effective.


3. They Fail in Active Engagement

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Even creativity and content may not be enough if your marketing leadership loses track of the campaign over time. Inconsistency is an important aspect of marketing, providing prospects with a continual drumbeat of information and relevant offers. Your marketing VP will undoubtedly be sidelined at some point by internal politics, restructuring, or simply having too many irons in the fire. Rethinking this position may result in more cost-effective ways to conduct targeted campaigns driven by specific expertise.  Adding external resources can reduce the drag on your organization while give you an affordable, effective way to generate leads and build awareness.  This approach leaves your organization free to innovate and build your core competencies.

If your leadership team is at a loss to understand how your marketing VP’s efforts are building company value and creating a prosperous scenario for all stakeholders, it may be time to make a change. You can always get a new leader; or you can also consider how outsourcing all or part of the marketing function can refocus your efforts and give your team more time to do what they do best.

In my next post we will discuss the opposite scenario – how to recognize and reward marketing VP’s that build company value.

Christopher Ryan
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One comment

  • Nate Warren August 14, 2012   Reply →

    With companies looking to streamline their operations as much as possible, finding a way to crack the in-house/outsource nut is extremely important. The first critical step to that process is taking a hard, honest look at marketing performance. Your three suggested “warning signs” are extremely valuable in that regard.

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