Marketers: Here’s How to Manage Your Bosses

I write about strategies to turn fans into customers and customers into fans. I also share ways to use real-time strategies to spread ideas, influence minds, and build business.

Marketing  |  Advertising  |  Brand Journalism

marketing meetingIf I may be so bold as to boil down into a single word the thousands of conversations I’ve had about marketing over the past several decades, as well as my more than a dozen years’ worth of blogging and the contents of my books, it would be this: attention. Entrepreneurs, CEOs, and business owners want people to pay attention to their company. Marketers, PR pros, advertisers, and salespeople are on the payroll to generate attention.

I’ve identified four main ways to generate attention in today’s marketing landscape. Hopefully this offers you a perspective for working with people who might be skeptical of your approach to marketing or meddlesome in the details.

To understand the motivations of your colleagues and bosses as they offer advice and give you unwanted criticism, I recommend that you know and understand these four means of generating attention. And you should understand the point of view of the person you are talking to about attention, especially when the inevitable pushback about earning it in new ways surfaces.

  1. You can buy attention with advertising such as television commercials, magazine and newspaper ads, the yellow pages, billboards, trade show floor space, direct-mail lists, and the like.
  2. You can get attention from the editorial gatekeepers at radio and TV stations, magazines, newspapers, and trade journals.
  3. You can have a team of salespeople generate attention one person at a time by knocking on doors, calling people on the telephone, sending personal emails, or waiting for individuals to walk into your showroom.
  4. You can earn attention online by creating something interesting, and publishing it online for free: a YouTube video, blog, research report, series of photos, Twitter stream, e-book, Facebook fan page, or other piece of web content.

You see, most organizations have a corporate culture centered on one of these approaches. When you understand the approach of your organization, you’ll be better prepared to manage your bosses.

As examples, Procter & Gamble primarily generates attention through advertising, Apple via Public Relations, and EMC via sales.

Often the defining organizational culture springs from the founder’s or CEO’s strong point of view. So if the CEO came up through the sales track, all attention problems are likely to become sales problems.

Chances are that your bosses did not come up via the marketing track.

The point is, you’ll have to convince your boss to invest in marketing and content creation, because it’s likely he or she doesn’t consider it the most important way of gaining attention.

If you can help your bosses and colleagues understand your approach, they’ll probably lighten up a little.

New Rules of Marketing and PR