October 12, 2008

1,000 Posts ... And Marketing Being "Non-Essential"

Today we celebrate one thousand posts --- it has to be some sort of record. I doubt any other database marketer has the time to reach this milestone! Thank you for making this possible, I sincerely appreciate your readership and loyalty. I appreciate 115,000 visitors, 650,000 page views (RSS + E-Mail + Website), 1,400 subscribers, 250 loyalists who visit within hours of a post and buy books & e-books, and all the folks who work with me on Multichannel Forensics projects.

I hope that I have represented you (the humble marketer trying to do good out there in the world) well during what is now close to three years of writing. Marketers get a bad rap a lot of the time, heck, I've taken us to task for all of the foibles we're responsble for ... discounts and promotions, anybody?!

Once in awhile, I read something that doesn't sit right with me. Today, I read about comments a technology CEO allegedly made about downsizing decisions. I say allegedly, because the comments are not made on his blog.

Here's the comment that didn't sit right with me: "... he just cut jobs that aren't core to the mission of Seesmic. Designers. Marketers. PR".

It doesn't sit right with me, in part, because I've heard dozens of business leaders say this to me.

If marketers aren't core to the mission of a company, why were marketers hired in the first place?

Maybe marketers and designers need to team up with the public relations folks and mount a re-branding campaign.

Given that our economy is not going to magically fix itself in the next few years, we have time as marketers (catalog marketers, online marketers, e-mail marketers, database marketers, brand marketers, multichannel marketers, social media marketers and any other kind of marketer I forgot to mention) to demonstrate that we are essential.

At Eddie Bauer and Nordstrom, I kept a scorecard of every dollar of incremental profit my employees generated for the company. Want to downsize a few marketers? Here's what you lose in sales and profit! When you have 24 employees who generate $1,500,000 incremental profit (after factoring in salaries/benefits), you aren't as likely to be considered "non-essential".

Store managers are evaluated all the time --- every person in the company can see a report that illustrates if a store is performing well or not. Merchants are evaluated all the time --- every person in the company can see a report that demonstrates if the merchandise line the merchant is responsible for is responsible for is working or not.

Dear Marketers ---- show me the report that the CEO sees, illustrating your value to the company? What report does the CEO look at that indicates that you, the humble person who puts images of merchandise on the website, are valuable to the company? What report does the CEO look at that proves that the 249,394 names you just pulled from the Abacus database will provide a half-million dollars of profit over the next eighteen months? What report does the CEO look at that proves that the e-mail marketer added $300,000 of profit by doubling e-mail frequency? What report does the CEO look at that proves that the web analytics department should be expanded, not contracted? What report does the CEO look at that proves that the online marketer should expand the affiliate marketing program, not contract it?

Over the next two years, some of us are going to lose our jobs. Between now and then, start proving your worth to your organization. Demonstrate to management what happens if the tactics you employ and/or your position are eliminated.