Would you say that as a marketer your work is valued, or is it considered “valuable” to your organization? Did you just think, “Laura what’s the difference and why does it matter?” Yes there is a difference and it does matter. Let’s look at these two words, and explore their implications for marketers, then talk about how you can make Marketing more valuable.
Value is the degree to which something is useful or estimable. Valuable is something that is precious and of great worth.
Value may be appreciated but may not be necessary or important. Valuable on the other hand is something that is of great importance, utility or service; it is essential to the working of the organization.
Valuable is indispensable. So you see these are different.
Your work can be useful but not necessarily indispensable to the organization. For example, pulling some data to understand customer purchasing patterns, creating a new piece of content, or executing an email campaign may all be valued by your leadership team. But that doesn’t always mean it is considered valuable.
What happens when marketing is perceived as valued but not valuable? All of you know the answer. Valued organizations will be given some resources (people and budget) to continue to be productive, but additional resources are harder to come by or take more to justify.
Organizations that are valued are recognized for their abilities but it is valuable organizations that participate in making key decisions. Of course, it probably goes without saying, but if a marketing organization isn’t even perceived as of value, it won’t be long before that organization sees budget cuts and headcount reductions.
Ok, so you are valued but would like to be more valuable, what can you do?
1. Make it Count
There are so many nuances in this phrase. First, your leadership team needs to be able to count on you to produce quality work on time and within budget. You need to be accountable and productive. But even more importantly, what you do needs to matter and make a difference to the organization. That means you need to be able to quantify the value of your work.
What decisions does your company need to make about markets, customers, and products? You need to be able to anticipate these decisions. This will require you to really have a pulse on what’s going on with your business, your customers, and your competition.
While it’s a good thing you’re reading all about the next shiny marketing technology, you also need to be reading about industry and business trends, monitoring competitive moves, and listening and learning about customers and apply these to your organization so you can anticipate what the leadership team will need to navigate the market.
3. Build an internal and external network
Marketers and marketing cannot operate as a silo or see itself as merely a service center for sales. Marketers have a tendency to be head down in tactics. According to the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) research, only 40% of employees work with more than 20 people on a given day, and more than 80% only work with 10. Your network needs to expand beyond other marketers or the sales team and includes members of the business, operations, finance, and IT teams.
Forge connections with people outside your organization that you can tap when you need an outside-in view of the market, competition, and industry. Accept opportunities that will enable you to contribute to the team and develop more contacts and give your network reasons to want to work with you versus someone else.
4. Be a thought leader
Your leadership team needs to have confidence that you know your domain. Write articles, make presentations, serve on panels, and contribute to blogs on topics that are relevant to your discipline, company, and industry. Make a point of offering new ideas that could enhance your company’s business.
5. Work on What Matters
It’s not the quantity of your to-do list or how many of the items you complete that makes you a valuable marketer or employee. Being able to make good decisions about what’s important and prioritizing work so that what you are tackling will move the needle demonstrates that you know what is valuable to the company.
Look for opportunities where your work will improve customer satisfaction and experience, create money for the company such as accelerating customer acquisition or growing customer share of wallet, and save the organization money.
6. Be a Change Agent
The business environment is fluid and dynamic. Organizations are constantly adjusting to the market and customer. Embrace positive change and help make change happen. Look beyond completing your work for ways your work can solve problems and facilitate the goals of the organization.
7. Communicate in business terms
Convert how you communicate about your work from talking about completion to communicating impact, value, and contribution – in the language of business. Make your value visible and be clear about how it is valuable.
Whether the economy is up or down, employers place a higher value on people who are valuable. Hard work and effort are no longer enough. Make your accomplishments less about whether what you produced was useful or that you provided a quality “service,” and more about being essential to business success. If the organization could ultimately operate without your work product, it may be valued but not valuable.