3 Things Top Marketing Organizations Do Well

If you’re a marketer, there’s one less thing you have to try and solve for: according to Harvard Business Review contributors Marc de Swaan Arons and Frank van den Driest, it’s possible–dare I say easy–to create the ultimate marketing machine.

The results of Marketing2020, the most comprehensive leadership survey taken to date, make it clear that in this day and age, marketing is no longer a discrete entity. Instead, marketing is intertwined with nearly every other function which allows the company to present a unified brand image.

Based on the firms’ three-year revenue growth relative to their competitors, participating companies were divided into two groups: over-performers and under-performers. Some common behaviors adopted by the over-performers became evident, such as meticulous use of data, a strong brand image and thoughtful positioning, as well as a strong sense of loyalty from employees.

Below are the 3 things that over-performing marketing organizations do extremely well.

1. Deeply Integrated Brand Image

In constructing a strong brand image, a successful business will also hit on all three prongs of the brand purpose: functional, emotional, and societal benefits. By doing so, these businesses create a brand image that is successfully integrated throughout the organizations which ensures consistent messaging across all customer interactions.

For example, high performing brands, such as Nike, were able to seamlessly synthesize data on consumer behaviors with the “universal human truths” that govern consumers’ basic drives. The Nike+ suite allows users to share their accomplishments with a community of like-minded athletes and provides personalized coaching specific to individual goals.

There is a growing importance to creating a “total experience” which is a combination of personalizing offerings by leveraging the data that companies have, as well as expanding the relationship by adding touch-points.

2. Strong Internal Communication

Strong internal communication leads to internal organizational effectiveness, which is equally as important as a brand’s interaction with customers. Inspiration, an often underutilized tool, aims to focus the goal of marketing on the employees and foster pride in the brand and enhance collaboration across the entire organization. Over-performing companies featured in the study developed a tight bond between the marketing goals and the company’s general goals, allowing for the marketing team to be actively engaged in creating the overall business strategy.

The ability to leverage global scale while also understanding local marketing realities goes a long way in aligning the goals of the local branches and the overarching brand, which aids in developing a consistent message to consumers.

3. Amazing Teamwork

Teamwork across channels also sets apart the over-performing firms, as those CMOs are able to assemble teams for a variety of different tasks, pulling from the strengths of every marketer. These cross-functional teams require a culture where employees across the board understand the vision of the brand and will work to bring it to life. Similarly, teamwork allows for even the top leadership to learn from the younger staffers for continued, targeted training.

As the most successful marketing techniques change, establishing these key values will allow you to easily adopt them, and reduce the time it takes to start seeing results.

So start by asking the right questions: What values and goals are at the core of your brand strategy? Which internal structure will support them? Do you have the right team in place?


The Ultimate Marketing Machine. De Swaan Arons, Marc; van den Driest, Frank; Weed, Keith. Harvard Business Review.

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