Recently I was talking to a salesman who was a competitor of Alterian’s, ex Oracle, ex Siebel, who was clearly having a hard time selling marketing software in his current organisation, he said “the problem with marketing is its for girls”. Resisting the temptation to punch him there and then, to show him that all marketers weren’t girls, I asked him to elaborate. His problem with marketing, with often many women in senior positions, is that it doesn’t have the clout in the organisation that sales or finance has so therefore cannot move forward as fast with the decisions on big software purchases that he would like them to. Also in selling to women, they don’t fall for the sales banter that men do, they don’t want to talk about football/cricket/rugby etc, they see straight through the BS and haven’t got time to mess about as they have campaigns to execute and deadlines to reach.
Its interesting, having always worked with women mostly on a 80/20 ratio of women to men throughout my marketing career, the reason marketing needs women is because it is the most complex, creative, deadline driven, multi – purpose job that most “traditional” men needing “assistants” to do at least half their work for them and therefore just couldn’t handle the pressure (broad generalisation, but you probably get the point). More worrying however is that marketing is not given the importance it warrants in many organisations with many ‘career’ men (and women, but traditionally more men) having left marketing and switched to sales or operations roles as the only vehicle to get to the board – ask any headhunter, sad but true.
So now we are at a point of marketing transformation, needed to keep the company alive, needed to get the company engaged with customers digitally, companies who have kept marketing relegated that of the “party department” or the “brochures and events department” may need to quickly reconsider their positions and elevate the importance of marketing to help pull the firm through the recession. Digital customer engagement driven by marketing is now vital to company success so whether its a man or women, put them on the board to own the focus on the digital customer, give them the investment in marketing technology they need to get the job done properly, and let them prove marketing is only for the best.