Robert Davis


Don't forget the hidden powers of marketing

This year I have read three job descriptions for a marketing manager position that include quite similar language.  This person will manage the entire marketing function, manage the business development function, perform capture and proposal management duties, manage and write web site content including updates, write proposals, and call on key customers.

This list is not an exaggeration.  One person is being sought to lead and manage four distinct corporate functions.

Marketing is a business discipline in and of itself. It is not engineering, operations, finance or computer science. It has its own mental framework and way of thinking. Amazon lists over 500,000 books concerning marketing.

Marketing Management by Frank Bradly has over 900 pages and includes 19 chapters.  One chapter addresses the topic of sales.

Yet, when I mention marketing to executives in some companies, they immediately begin talking about business development.  Apparently they are unaware that marketing has over 20 sub-functions.  One of the least understood marketing sub-functions is brand management.

Suppose you walk into a store to buy shampoo.  When you arrive at the aisle that has shampoo, you notice that all of the shampoos are in clear plastic bottles that are the same size and have the same cap.  The shampoos are slightly different in color and price.  Otherwise there is no evident distinction.  Which bottle of shampoo do you buy and why?

The government has the same problem when it evaluates 15 plausible proposals submitted in response to a solicitation. They all have the same packaging, similar terms and pricing.  Which bid does the government select and why?

Brand creates the emotional connection between the product/service you pay for and what you expect to receive.  In other words, it is the value you expect beyond the price that is paid.  In the example of shampoo, I want to know that the company that made the shampoo did not include any material in the shampoo that will cause me problems.  Can I trust them to include correct ingredients?  Further, if I experience a problem, can I trust that the company will work with me in a timely manner?

Likewise, the government has the same concerns!

Twice in 2013, I discovered that the government, as part of its proposal evaluation process, was going to the company’s web site to assess if the company actually does the work it claims to perform in its proposal, and view evidence thereof.  Apparently the government wants to experience the company’s brand before it makes a final selection decision.  Hopefully your company’s web site and other collateral is in sync with its proposal claims!

Marketing’s work is ongoing and can have its greatest impact a year or more before capture management activities begin through the government’s pre-award analysis.

Are you satisfied that your company’s marketing function is being allowed to contribute to its potential?    

About the Author

Robert Davis is a 35-year veteran of the government IT marketing and has held positions large and small firms in areas such as marketing and sales, program management, business development and market development. He is an expert in business development, marketing, and management.

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