3 problems marketing cannot solve

Marketing plays an important role in helping companies achieve business goals. It drives awareness of your brand and gives buyers a compelling reason to prefer and purchase your product or service.

Because marketers are natural problem-solvers, they can often generate positive results for any type of problem. But there are some problems that marketing shouldn’t be tasked to solve because these problems may be indicative of a larger issue facing your company—a sign that you may be out of alignment.

Marketing cannot solve:

  1. A leadership problem
  2. A strategy problem
  3. A process problem

Soothe? Yes. Solve? No. Here’s why:

Success starts at the top

  • If your primary stakeholder is out of alignment with your company leader, either in identification or prioritization of the problem, marketing success cannot be sustained.
  • If leadership is unable or unwilling to dedicate adequate resources toward resolving the problem, marketing success will be limited until there is executive buy-in on the ROI.

Know-how doesn’t replace know-why

  • If your company sees tactical solutions as strategic ones, marketing’s integrated plan will likely become a collection of channel silos measured on isolated immediate impact.
  • If the conversation centers on short-term outcomes, marketing may not be recognized as a partner in planning for long-term gains.

Talk is cheap; media is expensive

  • If the product or service you are selling is described differently across the organization, marketing will want to push for consistency before promoting it.
  • When there is limited current market demand, marketing is challenged to create and/or stimulate latent demand, which requires time and repetition to deliver results.

A paved road to nowhere

  • If your internal processes make approvals a challenge, marketing can expect longer timelines to execute approved plans.
  • If collaboration is central to your company, marketing will receive input from key players across the organization, which could lead to message dilution or information overload.

Holding marketing accountable for solving a problem that it can solve will generate the results that matter most to your business. Raise the red flag if you suspect that your business challenge extends beyond marketing into the areas of leadership, strategy or process.

If it does, take time to meet with key stakeholders—including marketing—to better define the problem. During these cross-functional conversations, marketing can provide valuable insight and recommendations. In the end, you may find that your problem has a marketing solution after all.


This post first appeared on the Elevation blog at http://blog.elevationadvertising.com/blog/3-problems-marketing-cannot-solve