Marketing, Marketing, Marketing

As I've said before, to run a business, you really need to think about and understand marketing.

Management has forgotten, or never realized, the ability of the marketing function to help drive organizational change, says Nirmalya Kumar in his new book, Marketing as Strategy: Understanding the CEO's Agenda for Driving Growth and Innovation, published by Harvard Business School Press.

In this interview, Kumar discusses how the burden is on marketers themselves to rise above the tactical level and drive organization-wide initiatives to deliver value to customers.

Manda Salls: You make the point that marketers are often (and increasingly) treated as a function rather than as part of the strategic team. Why does this happen? Have CEOs lost their faith in marketers?

Nirmalya Kumar: CEOs have lost faith in marketing primarily for two reasons. First, shareholders and analysts are pressuring corporations and their CEOs to deliver against short-term profit and revenue objectives. CEOs are unsure of returns from marketing expenditures and marketers have acquired a reputation as a "spend" function rather than a "save and make" function. The belief is that a finance person managing a brand would probably take more time to determine how much to spend to support it and how to measure the effects of the spending than a marketer, who would just ask for more money. Marketing initiatives must have a substantial, demonstrated, top- or bottom-line effect to excite the CEO.

Honestly, almost everything that you do is marketing.

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