Marketing alignment is a critical differentiator of the Value Creators.

What does that mean?

It means these marketers know which business outcomes matter to the C-Suite and business leaders. They align Marketing to those outcomes. It’s their launching pad.

Having a clear line of sight between Marketing initiatives and the business enables marketers to make both strategic and tactical decisions about everything—customers, channels, touch points, content investments. Alignment points the way to accountability and analytics.

With alignment you know what data you will need, what analytics to apply, and what metrics need to populate your dashboard.

Without alignment between Marketing and the business, it’s impossible to quantify Marketing’s value to the business, and select accurate, effective metrics. The most sophisticated data collection and analysis can be completely undermined by the lack of proper alignment. It’s foundational.

Then why do Marketing organizations struggle with alignment?Excited man

Typically, Marketing groups take a bottom-up approach to planning. They focus on developing marketing programs that include some combination of what’s always been done or what they best know how to do. The result? Programs are only loosely connected to the business. The clarity between the programs and the broader business initiatives gets hazy. This fog jeopardizes continued investments in Marketing and can obscure the steps you should (and shouldn’t) take.

Alignment enables Marketing to clarify the strategic intent of all the investments it makes, and to measure and communicate the degree to which Marketing delivers on its commitments.

Create Marketing Alignment with Direct-Line-of-Sight

Alignment provides direct-line-of-sight

Your Marketing excellence journey begins with alignment.

How do you fix the fog? Best-in-Class (BIC) Marketing organizations create a direct line-of-sight between their Marketing investments and activities and the business outcomes. How do they do that? They take an outcome-based approach to alignment. This approach flips this problem on its head with a top-down perspective, starting with the business’s success factors and working down the ladder to reveal what marketing can do to support the business, not just itself.

What does it take to excel at alignment?

Earlier in the decade, marketing consultant Simon Sinek introduced his concept of “The Golden Circle,” which has three rings:

  1. Why does the business exist? Asking this question gets at the core belief of the business.
  2. How does the business fulfill that core belief?
  3. What does the company do to fulfill that core belief?

Sinek posits that most companies do their marketing backward: they start with what they are going to do (host events, post content) and then move to how they do it (the channels they use). His primary point: start with why.

Marketing Alignment Starts by Answering the Question “Why?”

And we wholeheartedly concur. BIC marketers begin by looking at business outcomes because business outcomes answer the question “Why?”

Ready to begin? Step 1: determine what business outcomes you need to have an impact on. A business outcome reflects the specific, quantifiable efforts your organization must achieve if it is to realize the business targets and declare success. Sounds simple enough. If it were that simple, we’d see more marketing plans better aligned to business outcomes. But we don’t.

What lessons can you glean from BIC marketers? The degree of business acumen the marketing team possesses that is the difference between marketing that meets expectations and marketing that exceeds expectations. The path to managing marketing’s performance to the highest level of contribution starts with understanding the business well.

Check out some of our additional resources to learn how to improve your Marketing alignment in our new Learning Center. Give us a call to discuss your alignment and schedule a Marketing Plan Review.

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