Sales professionals hear, almost constantly, 'You should ONLY be involved in revenue producing activities.' In other words, any activity that doesn't result directly in revenue is an activity in which a sales professional should not be involved.
(If there is a sales professional that hasn't heard this, please leave a comment below).
Bottom line: sales reps are used to hearing this. They understand that producing revenue is part of their job description. They 'get it.'
So here's the question: are marketers exempt from this revenue-focused existence? Or, put another way: should marketers have the same mandate to only be involved in revenue producing activities?
That's a good question. Let's consider it.
It is quite clear that every single person in the company can't and shouldn't be involved in ONLY revenue producing activities all day long.
Marketers shouldn't care just about monthly revenue. Marketers need to care about the big picture, about SEO, about web design about building longterm strategies that promote growth, branding and general company well-being.
If marketers were going to spend their time on ONLY revenue producing activities, they would spend ALL of their time in lead gen, which means reaching out to people via social media directly ALL the time.
Pretty soon that morphs into calling a few people. And then, before you know it, you have basically converted your entire marketing team into a sales team. The bottom line is that marketers have a specific job and sometimes elements of that job involve non-revenue producing activities.
For example, as you may know, our mascot is a beaver. His name is Bernard. Our graphic designer creates different costumes, outfits and hats for Benard depending on the time of year. He gets a Santa hat at Christmas, a flag on the 4th of July, and a witch hat at Halloween.
These images are awesome. They're funny, they build our brand, and they certainly demonstrate our playful, fun nature as a company.
But...do they build revenue? Is creating these images a 'revenue producing activity'? Obviously not. But they are still worth doing because they build our brand and showcase our company.
Obviously, marketers should have their eye on longer-term projects that may or may not involve revenue. Otherwise, your marketing department will turn into a de facto sales department.
What is a marketer? What does a marketer do?
If the answer to these questions is anything other than 'produce revenue', than that marketer isn't doing a very good job.
Maybe another answer like branding or longterm success would have worked 20 years ago--maybe even 10 years ago---but not today. Not in our hyper-metrics driven business world. Marketers are expected to produce results that translate into revenue.
Agencies are expected to produce results. They're expected to generate phone calls, appointments, and purchases. They're expected to do more than create pretty ads. Marketers NEED to drive revenue.
For example, spending time to create a beaver that wears a Santa hat is an utter and abject waste of time. Writing reports, internal memos, and creating product sheets is a waste of time. The question to ask yourself before beginning any task is this: will this task produce revenue?
I don't know. I think the best solution, as with most questions/problems, is somewhere in the middle. Marketers should, I think, ask themselves the question, 'Will this task produce revenue?' before they begin a task. However, it is okay if sometimes, occasionally, that answer is 'No.'
In 2013 it is critical for marketers to focus more on revenue than ever before. Agencies are increasingly judged ONLY based on the revenue they have generated for the client. Marketers are, increasingly, judged by their bosses ONLY based on the revenue they generate. The days of brand and hope are over.
I don't think we're there yet, but the day is fast approaching when marketers will ONLY be engaged in 'revenue producing activities.'
And, you know what? I like it.