I have seen many companies that are having 4 or 5 different business verticals that are run as SBUs (strategic business units) with a separate P&L. What they lack is “marketing”. They have sales, operations, purchase etc. Since they are small enough to afford an independent marketing person or function, they are dependent on Corporate Marketing to support them.
There is no one responsible for overseeing and implementing all the marketing activities of the various business units. Having a Corporate Marketing strategy to plan, and oversee, among others, all the marketing campaigns of the various units has become a necessity in today’s complex and demanding business environment. Having a Corporate Marketing head to oversee the marketing activities can help the parent organization achieve the vision and long-term goals of the various business units.
Here are some ways Corporate Marketing can add value to different business verticals.
Corporate Marketing can serve as a unifying force that helps build a good working relationship between the individual business units. The importance of having a marketing strategy cannot be overemphasized especially in today’s highly competitive business world. Marketing activities become mechanical, lose efficiency and lack direction without a marketing strategy. The different business unit leaders, though might not be marketing experts, would have their own idea of what and how marketing is, and would approach it accordingly. This could result in a conflict of interest that could affect the overall business goals of the organization. However, having a corporate marketing head can help provide direction to the marketing strategy that would make it support the goals and vision of the parent organization.
2. Expertise and Experience
The advent of the World Wide Web, coupled with digitization and globalization have re-defined what marketing is, and how it ought to be done. Marketing in the 21st century has greatly evolved and has gone beyond how it was practiced many decades back. Modern day marketing is consumer-centric, and it has gone beyond what a generalist can handle. Having a corporate marketing officer to oversee your business units would allow your organization to tap into the knowledge and experience of a marketing expert. In addition, it would help your organization to keep abreast of the latest developments in the marketing domain.
Corporate Marketing can create tools like brochures, presentations, videos etc. andsupport business units in identifying opportunities to form strategic partnerships and alliances that help grow their business. It can also help in identifying diversification options & companies available for acquisition leading to inorganic growth.
3. By allowing Business Unit Managers to focus on their Core duties
Based on the product/service/market segment, every SBU head has a core job to perform which is basically to run the operations smoothly for a sustainable and profitable growth. It would be best for the SBU heads to focus on their core and let the corporate marketing person provide the marketing strategies &handle all the marketing activities that would support business growth. This will include gathering and sharing market intelligence and mapping competition.
4. Brand Building
Every organization knowingly or unknowingly has a brand that determines how it is seen and perceived in the public domain. Branding represents your organization corporate identity. It is what makes your organization to stand out. Everything in your organization talks about your brand, from the way the receptionist attends to calls, to the way your staff dresses, to the neatness of your environment, to the quality of your product, and more. Having a good brand distinguishes your organization from other competitors, it increases your customers’ loyalty, and makes it easier for your organization to convert prospects into customers. Most consumers are willing to pay extra for products or services from good and respected brands.
The corporate marketing officer works with the business unit heads to ensure your organization brand is well-respected in the public domain.
5. Improving Customer Engagement
Successful companies never underestimate the place and role of customers in their organization. Corporate marketing head can help your organization understand better the needs and expectations of consumers. This knowledge if implemented as part of your marketing strategy would lead to greater customer satisfaction, which would impact your organization bottom line.
According to Professor Pravin Nath and Vijay Mahajan in the “Journal of Marketing”, an organization with a corporate marketing head demonstrates better customer satisfaction initiatives and is more customer centric.
Many organizations have a wrong perception of marketing. This has made some organizations to regard the function as a cost center, rather than a value center. Having a corporate marketing head can provide better understanding to management of how marketing can contribute to the organization’s growth. With the advancement in digital marketing, corporate marketing head can demonstrate to management the effectiveness of their marketing program by an increase in market share, profitability and revenue growth. Allocating resources to marketing activities becomes easier when it is perceived as a value center that adds to the organization’s bottom line.
7. Digital Marketing
Many organizations have leveraged the advantage of the social media to grow their businesses beyond their physical locations. This has resulted in increased market share and revenue. Having a corporate marketing head can help your organization to drive traffic to your company website and other social media platforms you use for marketing your products or services. Corporate marketing heads can promote your business brands across the social media platforms and at the same time market your products or services on platforms that suit your organization’s marketing strategy.
Advertising is a very important part of marketing. Having a Corporate Marketing head can help your organization decide which of the advertising platforms such as Facebook ads, Google AdWords, LinkedIn ads, YouTube ads, blog specific banner ads, among others can effectively advertise the company products or services with a view to bringing the highest return on investment.
Many consumers use the information on the World Wide Web before making their purchase decisions. Having a corporate marketing head can help your organization build better relationship with the visitors on your website. The person can coordinate with different business units as well as the vendors to ensure that visitors have a uniform experience when they visit the websites of different units.
Corporate Marketing can run email campaigns for the business units for product promotion, special offers, events information and to nurture relationships. This will ensure that existing customers are frequently contacted, and prospects are converted into customers.
7. By serving as their Public Relations officer
The corporate marketing head is the number one public relations officer of your organization. As a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) he can ensure that the company is seen in good light in the public domain, also that major events about the company are well covered by the media.
The CMO creates a good relationship with blog owners, media sources, event organizers and podcast hosts to further improve public perception of the organization.
The role of a marketer has evolved in the last two decades as a result of technology. Marketing more than ever before is more demanding. This coupled with the day-to-day demand of the business world makes it a necessity for organizations to have a corporate marketing head to plan, advertise, and oversees all their business marketing. Studies show that companies with corporate marketing head possess good records in innovation, and the ability to distinguish themselves among their competitors.