Increasing Marketing Supplier Performance Through Business Strategy Alignment
The default function of marketing is
to build margins and drive profit for an organisation. Therefore there is an
alignment of marketing to the business strategy. Instead of marketing being seen
as a cost of business, this alignment of objectives and proof of ROI against
those business objectives repositions marketing as a business investment rather
than a cost.
In Harvard Business Review July – August 2005 an article titled “Turning Great Strategy into Great Performance” by Mankins and Steel, reported that companies only realised 60% of their strategy potential due to a failure in implementation.
There is no evidence that this same trend does not also occur in the implementation of the marketing plan and perhaps the lesson on how to close the gap in strategy and performance for business can be applied to the business of marketing.
The fundamental difference between the marketing process and business process is that implementation of business strategy is largely focused on aligning internal teams, while marketing strategy alignment will involve stakeholder groups that are both internal and external in the form of suppliers.
We have seen examples where marketing has been incredibly effective in aligning the marketing process to the marketing objectives, but the concept of aligning marketing to the business objectives requires some core changes in philosophy and behaviour.
The seven rules proposed by Mankins and Steele are:
1. Keep the objectives simple and make them concrete
2. Debate and challenge assumptions, not the forecasts
3. Use a rigorous framework and speak a common language
4. Discuss resource deployment early
5. Clearly identify priorities
6. Continually monitor performance
7. Reward and develop executional abilities
A key consideration in achieving business strategy alignment for marketing strategy development and implementation, is having all of the stakeholder groups and suppliers aligned and measured against the same set of simple, concrete metrics (1, 6).
Develop a common language and framework for the development and implementation across all stakeholders and suppliers (3)
Ensure that the resources available are sufficient for the task and that they are applied against the high priority tasks (4, 5)
And possibly the greatest shift is to move the compensation model from a cost and resource based model to one that recognises and rewards the delivery of the common objectives. (7)
By aligning all of the stakeholder groups, including the external suppliers such as agencies to be rewarded for the agreed business objectives you achieve a total business strategy alignment and improved performance through the realisation of that strategy in marketing.