Marketing is a highly confusing word.  It can be compared to the proverbial elephant and 10 blind men story in which each person expresses a different impression of what an elephant looks like…one says it is like a rope, another says it is like a wall, and yet another one says it is like a pillar.

To some extent it is true that marketing plays different roles in different industry verticals.  However, problems occur when individuals get confused between roles and industries.  For example, marketing at Cisco has little to do with marketing as it would be at Nike or Victoria’s Secret.  Unfortunately, our MBA programs are the culprit.  They pack students' minds with theories but provide little clarity.

In B2B Marketing, the main role of marketing should be “Lead Generation”.  Brand building may or may not even be a consideration at most of the firms. Product development and Market Research can be a function that marketing can play but there are better ways to do that in most organizations than using internal marketing teams to do so.  Mind you this does not apply to all organizations.

I would venture to say that most B2B firms should dump their marketing department and create a “Lead Generation Department”.  Set the agenda straight. Give precise and clear marching orders.  Additionally, you can set up a Customer and Markets Insights Team in support of business strategy and product development.  PR should be a separate function.  As the need for branding increases outside agency should work to create MarCom, until such time that an in-house team is warranted.  But there is no need for nebulous terms and departments such as marketing.  These teams should report to Chief Profits Officer, except the customer Insights Team, which should report to the person in charge of strategy.

Set the goals and metrics straight if you want your firm to grow.  Only weeds grow without the benefit of measurements.

And dump the traditional marcom.  It goes into the trashcans anyways.