Marketing as the Organizing Principle for Growth

October 22, 2011

By Telisa Yancy, Director Advertising, Brand and Media

If you asked 20 people on the streets of New York or Chicago, "what is marketing," you might get 30 different answers.  Those answers would range from statements that describe specific functions of marketing, like advertising, to those that describe one of the results of marketing, like "it's convincing people to buy".  Some people might even describe it as a specific department. 

Well, if you are like me, and you believe that the starting point for any discussion about marketing, must begin with the process of value creation for both the company and the consumer, you would have enjoyed Tony Palmer's ANA presentation on the journey he's been on to transform a 140 year old company that made great products into one that see's marketing as the organizing principle for growth. 

Mr. Palmer's journey to transform the company through great marketing started at the highest level possible-with the board.  He believed that if marketing was going to drive the growth agenda, then the Board should have a marketing committee. 

From there, all actions should be about selling more stuff to more people more often.  To do so, Mr. Palmer has simplified the goals of marketing down to one thing: changing the trajectory of their business.  He also states that it's imperative that any marketing campaign be fully integrated which is why he puts media planning at the center of Kimberly Clark's integrated marketing process. 

So what are the processes and principles that allow marketing to truly be the growth engine of a company?  According to Tony, they are:

  •  Delivering on the promise of brands drives equity
  •  Equity drives enduring profitable growth
  •  New news drives equity - (innovate the promise, innovate to product service, innovate the channel, and innovate how you communicate with consumer)
  •  Measure the results, relentlessly
  •  Embrace and manage risk

Perhaps the most compelling, but understated thing that Mr. Palmer said is that marketing requires fearlessness.  I agree, you must be fearless to grow in a hyper-competitive world! 

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