Nearly all of our worldwide clients have training programs to promote the achievement of “marketing excellence.” But what is “marketing excellence?” What is it that they strive to achieve?
What is Excellence?
Excellence is about achieving the highest levels of performance. It means being more successful, much more successful than others (namely, the competition – both external and internal).
It is not about reaching and settling into a norm of average performance but, instead, achieving a place near perfection, clearly superior performance in the absolute, and relative to what others can achieve.
It is not merely an individual accomplishment. As much as personal achievements are appreciated and desired, it asks more. It is really about the organization’s performance at the brand, division, sector, and/or company level.
It is not a “sometimes thing” but a persistent state of superior performance. It is like the legendary coach Vince Lombardi’s perennial champions, the Green Bay Packers, successfully executing sweep after sweep around the end of the front line to inexorably plow their way down the field to an eventual touchdown and a sure victory. It is like when the Spanish National Football team won an unprecedented third, consecutive international title (a World and two European titles) with a score of 4 – 0, routing its opponent. It is the Apple Corporation reinventing categories and consistently breaking records for sales and profits, quarter after quarter, as it delights consumers on its way to become the corporation with the highest market capitalization in the world.
And, it doesn’t end with winning. We cannot be content unless we’ve achieved the best performance ever. And when we do so, it leads us to demand more from ourselves and our team and drives us to strive and gain new, higher performance levels in the future. It’s a recognition that today’s level of excellence will be pedestrian by tomorrow’s standards.
So, What’s Marketing Excellence?
Marketing Excellence is the consistent achievement of stretch business objectives through the evidence-based application of proven principles, best practices, and quality processes (the science of marketing) combined with the development of BIG Ideas (the art of marketing) to ‘create brand loyalty’ and drive line-of-sight to sales.
Marketing excellence is not merely showing up to play or go through the motions, slogging through the same, rather average (more likely, lackluster) performance. It’s about orchestrating a dominating performance to bust through targeted goals and exceed all expectations.
What Comprises Marketing Excellence?
Marketing excellence is about profound achievements in the marketplace, such as:
- Transforming products into leadership brands;
- Growing sales and market share faster, much faster than the category and all competitors;
- Predictably achieving quantifiable financial and customer behavior objectives;
- Establishing market, or segment, leadership;
- Generating a predictable, high rate of ROI for marketing initiatives;
- Creating a pipeline of proven innovations (e.g., new products, product improvements, marketing tactics, communication campaigns, etc.) to ensure enhanced competitiveness and future streams of uninterrupted, profitable income;
- Widening the leadership position in the market or segment;
- Beating competitors to the market with innovation (e.g., new products, technologies, etc.) and securing first-mover advantage;
- Establishing, and being guided by, a competitive, enduring, and ownable brand positioning strategy to create brand loyalty;
- Delivering highly positive customer experiences to drive preference and a higher level of satisfaction advantage for your offerings;
- Creating a “whole product” offering (consisting of both tangible and intangible features) that provide relevant and meaningfully differentiated benefits to the target customer-segment you serve;
- Moving the life cycle of the brand (the “S-curve”) ever higher and extending it out to the right to maximize its lifetime value to the company;
- Creating brand loyalty, thereby immunizing customers against the lure of competitive entries (to maintain or even grow market share) or price discounting (to maintain ASP – average selling price);
- Maintaining and even growing margins;
- Predictably, achieving the business plan month by month, quarter by quarter, year by year – with no surprises;
- Generating leadership communications that not merely achieve high copy testing scores in marketing research but, more importantly, drive preference for your entry and compel customers to action (in the marketplace) that overachieves the communication behavior objective;
- Being recognized by industry authorities and competitors for best practices and superior performance;
- Knowing the “why” behind every “what” of brand performance, customer behavior, etc., to implement intelligent adaptations that build market growth and leadership;
- Being guided by an MBO (Marketing By Objectives) plan where behaviors connect with business objectives and resource allocation is accountable for generating intended performance;
- Discovering and applying “legitimate and productive” customer insights that help you achieve and maintain a competitive advantage in connecting with target customers;
- Integrating and coordinating all marketing activities to achieve Power Positioning, leverage a BIG Brand Idea through all communication vehicles and, as a result, fuel the achievement of stretch business objectives; and
- Integrating and coordinating with all functional elements within the organization to achieve proper alignment and deliver flawless execution (e.g., no quality or product availability issues, etc.) in all marketing related activities.
If we cannot credit our brand or organization with the achievements mentioned above, then, sadly to say, we have not achieved, nor are we achieving, marketing excellence.
Take the first step to achieving Marketing Excellence. Read AVOIDING CRITICAL MARKETING ERRORS: How to Go from Dumb to Smart Marketing. Learn more here: http://bdn-intl.com/avoiding-critical-marketing-errors
Best wishes in achieving marketing excellence! Stay SAFE and be well.
Richard Czerniawski and Mike Maloney