You’ve heard it said before…”we’re all in marketing” or “we’re all in sales” or “we’re all in customer service.” But you may wonder what that really means when you hear it. Is it just an attitude? Or worse, just lip service from your boss? Or should you take it literally and start sending out branded mass emails, making cold calls, or answering the support line even if those aren’t your designated responsibilities? Well, in some small organizations, the answer to the last question is definitely yes. However, in larger organizations is that really practical?
As I read the latest work from the founders of 37Signals, Rework, I found their chapter titled, “Marketing is not a department,” to be right on target…at least as it pertains to “we’re all in marketing.” Here’s an excerpt…
“Accounting is a department. Marketing isn’t.
Just as you cannot not communicate, you cannot not market:
Every time you answer the phone, it’s marketing.
Every time you send an e-mail, it’s marketing.
Every time someone uses your product, it’s marketing.
Every word you write on your Web site is marketing.
If you build software, every error message is marketing.
If you’re in the restaurant business, the after-dinner mint is marketing.
If you’re in the retail business, the checkout counter is marketing.
If you’re in a service business, your invoice is marketing.
It’s the sum total of everything you do.”
It is critical for your entire organization to comprehend this. You have to engrain it into their thinking. Has Southwest and Zappos gained the reputation and loyal fan base they enjoy due to clever taglines, snazzy flyers, or hip commercials? Sure, they may have some of those things, but that’s not what drives their brand in their respective markets. Their brand is based on the fact that they realize that everything they do says something about who they are to their customers.
So I’ll leave you with two things…
- Remember that “marketing is not a department.”
- Pickup a copy of Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson. It includes dozens of bite-size pieces of sage advice just like the one above.