Marketing departments can drive new management models that push companies into thinking beyond profits.
Marketing can save the world. I believe this is true. But how? By pushing organizations, from the inside, to innovate with management models that aim to build social equity and improve the environment, while still measuring and achieving profitability. I have come to believe that efforts in these three dimensions – social, environmental and economic – can only be sustainable through new, marketing-driven, management models. Why? Because marketing has the power to communicate to society how to be part of, and contribute to, a higher cause while accepting that companies must make money in the process. New management models, driven by marketing departments, also have the power to push companies into thinking (and managing) beyond profits.
That’s not to say that profits do not matter. In order to help society and the environment, companies and organizations need to generate the resources required for such work. In other words, it takes money to do good. The only core source of money is businesses, period. The real issue is not whether they generate a profit; it is how they do it and what do they do with those profits. This is where management models need to make a significant shift, beginning with marketing management models. Marketing management models, like all management models, require accountability.
Most marketers talk about trending operational issues such as digital marketing, customer experience, internet of things, artificial intelligence, big data and social media. All these elements are necessary components of successful marketing, so it is mandatory to be up-to-speed on them or get left behind. However, all these tactical elements are means to more efficiently achieve the same old goals of reach, data and conversion. In other words, we keep achieving the very same results – and experience the consequences of inaction in other fronts like society and the environment – just more efficiently.
But this is not enough. Innovation is taking a larger social toll than many people living in the richer parts of the world are not able to see … yet. And it will take an exponentially larger social toll going forward. The 39 nations generally referred to as the developed world represent 45% of world GDP, while consuming 32 times more resources and generating 32 times more waste than the rest of the world. As a society, we need to ask some tough questions, such as: What will happen to the 3.5 million commercial drivers in the United States when autonomous vehicles become road-worthy? Or, what will happen to the 47% of US jobs that are at risk of being replaced by technological innovation in the next 10 years? Unemployment and social unrest will be right around the corner for Americans and many of their rich-country fellows, and it will grow further in the undeveloped world.
Marketing is about delivering messages that aim for an action. Therefore, marketers must assume their responsibility to advocate for innovation not only in the technology they, use but also in management models. Marketing is the only department that can communicate and demonstrate internally why companies need to go beyond generating profits. It is also the only department that can create social awareness about the fact that companies that make money can (and should) also supply a sustainable solution to the world’s challenges.
Marketing can induce the internal team to work toward a purpose beyond profits, while generating the external support needed to balance profitability with sustainability. So, let’s get down to work and start saving the world … through marketing!
Pablo Turletti, an internationally-recognized expert on marketing and sales efficiency and accountability, as well as a marketing keynote speaker, is the founder and CEO of ROI Marketing Institute (ROIMI), which has offices in Miami, Lucerne, and Madrid. ROI Marketing Institute helps companies around the world improve the efficiency of their marketing investments through precise measurement of the economic return on marketing activities. By directly connecting marketing projects and campaigns to a company’s bottom line, he helps turn them into true business investments. ROIMI provides a broad array of services, including auditing, competency-building, implementation support, consulting and research. Turletti is the author of the books ROI Marketing: The New Performance Standard and Marketing & Sales ROI: What Is It Good For? Learn more about the ROI Marketing Institute at roimarketinginstitute.com, and follow Pablo Turletti at twitter.com/pabloturletti or linkedin.com/in/pabloturletti/.