A typical organisation has different actors. They sit at different levels, roles and with diverse perspectives, right from the professionals, the power players, those who make things happen and those who watch things happen.
Each party comes with a bias based on their background that is highly influenced by their profession and many at times "power play". As much as the marketing function cuts across the organisation, let us take a look at what they need to do to remain relevant at all times and reduce the potential clash with various units in the organisation.
A very common point of conflict is between finance and marketing yet if they both understood the bigger picture, the common goals would be more holistic and sustainable to the organisation.
HR has more recently become a critical stakeholder as marketing and communications need to be involved in their programmes and collaboration between the two is no longer an option.
For the leadership teams that are responsible for the numbers and scaling of the business, marketing plays a vital role in supporting this agenda as gatekeepers and advisors on the market. It is for this reason that marketing must sit at the table, and not be on the menu.
Through our work with various organisations, here are some insights to help navigate this tight rope as you engage different internal stakeholders and balance all their interests for the overall success of the organisation.
1.ALIGN AT THE TOP
Ensure you have business leaders who are plugged in and are backing what you are driving. In cases where the leadership narrative is contrary to what marketing is advocating for, very often all their efforts are watered down. Sell it at the top and ensure they can advocate for you!!
2.UNDERSTAND WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE CRITICAL STAKEHOLDERS AND PLAYERS.
You cannot get 100 per cent of the players fully on-board, but you must get the critical ones on your team. This is possible when you understand how your proposition affects them, fits into their agenda and how it will best support them to get there quick.
3.HOW DO YOU REACH OUT TO YOUR DIFFERENT AUDIENCE? WHAT IS YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION TO THEM?
Just like segmenting, targeting and positioning is a critical marketing strategy. You need to cluster your internal audience and align your message, campaign and strategy to them. Know who needs what and ensure they feel included and part of the journey. Align to your internal audience needs and speak their language
4.YOUR INTERNAL STAKEHOLDERS ARE AS CRITICAL AS YOUR EXTERNAL ONES.
Whatever you are doing out there, you must replicate internally. As it has been said over time, “your first line of defence and your best advocates are your internal stakeholders”.
Engage them when the time is right, involve and enable them to give the narrative on your behalf. Do not forget to have open channels of communication to allow for feedback with ideas that will support your agenda.
You will require other people to support you at some point so why not bring them along your journey? No one wants more work but everyone wants to know how you can make their work better by demonstrating your value in supporting them meet their and the organisation’s objectives.
The writer is Marketing Consultant at Ajeri Consulting.