What needs to change in marketing today? Episode 2: Julie Brown

Julie Brown, Market Leader at Johnson Controls, shares her view on the most important change for marketing leaders - to prove marketing value - and gives us her top three tips on how to achieve that change.

What needs to change in marketing today? 

One of the things I’m observing in marketing is this challenge that businesses are struggling to find places to grow and they continue to underinvest in marketing, which should be the growth engine for companies right? You don’t get growth by more IT necessarily or more human resources. Marketing is the one that finds new customers, new markets and new products. The challenge marketing has is they’re not getting the trust necessary to get the resources to deliver the programs that create growth. Things like accountability and transparency in metrics from the people  that hold the purse strings but the financial leaders in the company that want to understand what they’re going to get for the money that they invest in marketing.

Tip#1 – Find the why in your numbers 

So one of the things I talk to my team about a lot is the differences between data and analytics. You know data is just numbers. What analytics tells you is relationships, but more importantly analytics are going tell you why. If I’ve  put in a certain amount of money into a program and I’ve got a multiplier that comes back and says I got a hundredfold of that money that’s fabulous. Of all the things you did in that program why did it work? What elements of that program contributed to that? So that you can take it to other programs and  understand especially when the market changes when competition adapts what it is inside that program that helped you win and deliver back that ROI to the company.

Tip#2 – Learn how time affects your results 

I think in all businesses you need instant results, we need results now, we need results every quarter. We’re a  public company we get driven to that very, very carefully. What’s helpful in any function especially in marketing is to be able to connect time to the  investment and the actual results you’re going to get. If you can articulate to the C-suite that this program here isn’t going to pay off for two years but when it does we’re gonna get this much market share and we’re gonna create barriers for our competition. If you can make that case financially you’ll get the buy-in and the resources you need to deliver. 

Tip#3 – Take out the waste in marketing 

Now’s the time for marketing. Right? It’s really at a cross-section where it’s either going to step up and earn its seat at the table. Or it is going to get demoted and put in as a necessary function that’s clicking along inside of a business. Other functions have gone through this revolution and thrived. You can look at manufacturing operations with Kaizen and Six Sigma that’s taken waste out of the system and it delivers more impact and value to the company.  And the C-suite knows what they get when they propose building a new plant, same things happen with IT. Now is the time  for marketing to be able to do that.  To be able to understand with those analytics understanding why things in our programs work. To be able to take the waste out of our marketing programs. Come on, there’s waste in our marketing programs. Get rid of the waste you’ll get the trust that you need to have the seat  at the table. You’ll get the programs and  will bring growth which makes you heroes  to any public CEO that’s right now  trying to figure out how they’re gonna deliver for the street.

Tip#4 – Overcome your fear of finding out 

One of the things I find really exciting about tools that marketing has available today is regression analysis and the ability to look at large, large, large amounts of data and the associations inside of it. This is not new you know regressions been around you know for decades but being able to apply it to really big problems and we’ve got tons of data helps us move beyond just what our human talents are. And amplify those with facts. We’ve seen it in medicine we’re getting better outcomes in all kinds of treatment areas like cancer because we’ve now been able to  look at what does the data say on these treatments. Add that to the talents of a doctor. We bring that inside of marketing so we really understand what our customers want and get feedback back to our business. The only way you can do that is regression analysis. It’s the  only thing that can take that large complexity and help us be better marketers. Better communication professionals.