How to Succeed in Marketing... Without Really Trying

Last Updated Sep 29, 2010 7:01 PM EDT

Real marketing is hard work. It involves setting up systems to generate sales leads while reducing overall sales costs. Marketing is the donkey-work of Sales and greatly appreciated inside firms where the marketing groups focus on measureable results.

However, in many firms, the marketing group is a place where people build up a career by wasting time and money and chewing through profits like there's no tomorrow. If that sounds like something that would appeal to you, here's how to play THAT game, in 8 easy steps:

  • Step #1: Position yourself as a strategic thinker. This is important. If you've got a conscience, you might feel guilty or stupid when you reflect that you're wasting corporate money on pricey nonsense. The vaccination to such remorse is to drink the cool-aid of marketing geeks everywhere and pretend that marketing is an STRATEGIC expense without which a company withers and dies.
  • Step #2: Sidestep any meaningful measurement. You'd be surprised at how many marketing professionals let themselves get trapped into some form of external measurement (like conversion rates) that might allow management to objectively assess their contribution to the company. Don't be a chump! Get yourself measured on activity not results!
  • Step #3: Bone up on your biz-blab. In the corporate world, business buzzwords are the magical incantation that opens the golden chest of budgetary dollars. They make everything that you do look more important and add a sense of urgency to every Powerpoint presentation. Start with something like "Integrated Strategic Marketing Communications" then move forward from there!
  • Step #4: Pooh-pooh the sales team. Constantly reinforce the notion that the sales team consists entirely of gladhanding whores who cherry-pick all the wonderful opportunities that your marketing has generated. When asked why you're spending all that money on "strategic initiatives" always say "we're driving sales."
  • Step #5: Claim credit and deflect blame. If sales go up, claim that it was the money you spent on marketing that resulted in the increase in sales. Since there's usually no way to measure the impact of marketing activity, who's to say otherwise? If sales go down, claim that they would have gone down even further if you hadn't been marketing. It's your win-win scenario.
  • Step #6: Pump up your budget and have fun!!! With any luck, you'll get some big budget money, which means that you'll get to spend like crazy. You'll get to dole out marketing dollars to advertising firms, research groups and collateral production companies, any one of which might offer you a job in the future. Don't forget bring the cocaine!
  • Step #7: Embrace your delusions of grandeur. Present yourself as the only creative force in the company and persuade all others they are only water-carriers of a lower order to you. This also allows you to wear red braces and floral shirts (or whatever passes for "cool" office garb in your neck of the woods), and get away with it.
  • Step #8: Take control of the company by default. On the pretext that you are the only ones who understand the customers, the people who pay the money, make sure all key decisions in the company must have marketing approval, thus giving you ultimate power. You win! Of course, your company will eventual crash and burn but, hey, you'll be long gone before the excrement hits the proverbial rotary. (Thanks to PBDP Consulting for steps 7 and 8!)
READERS: Please don't think I'm down on Marketing. I love Marketing. I just don't like what passes for Marketing inside many companies.