Editor’s Notes: What Makes a Marketer Great?
In college, one of my history professors had us write a paper explaining what we thought drove history. Was it the movement of populations and competition for resources? Was it the great ideas defining their ages and evolving age to age? Was it the “Great Men” theory of history — that great leaders and thinkers drove history forward?
The funny thing about that last theory (aside from its antique gender assumption) is that you can view the entire question through its lens: Do great men and women make history, or does history make great men and women?
To apply that to our subject matter: Does the marketer make the market, or does the market make the marketer?
Marketing is becoming a gadget-focused endeavor, just like many other aspects of our culture since computers took over. But does visionary use of technology make you a great marketer? Or is it something else? Is it successful branding or changing the company’s image? Is it just bottom-line revenue?
These are important questions, because marketing today is essential to the business strategy. Social media may have made word-of-mouth more important than ever, but it is undoubtedly a marketing-driven kind of word-of-mouth. This isn’t mothers talking in the supermarket, it’s mothers sharing a meme about your product on Instagram, or a video or a coupon on Facebook. All of those things likely originated in your marketing department.
So what is it that makes a marketer great in that environment?
I ask this today because, as I look at our Target Marketer of the Year, Rich Smith, I see a marketer who has guided his companies through some incredibly difficult business challenges. There’s something to be said for the marketing that gets sales day-in and day-out. The situations at Ditech and AIG were incredibly tough challenges most marketers would never face, yet he thrived in them.
It makes me ask again, what makes a marketer great? Is it the technology, the results, the circumstances or how you react to them? What do you think?
One Great Marketer Says Goodbye
Now, a special note: This is our last issue with Denny Hatch’s “Famous Last Words” column, ending a marvelous run as editor-in-chief and then contributing editor and columnist. In my years working with Target Marketing, I learned a heck of a lot from editing Denny’s columns (which was the first job I had when I joined this company) and even more from the man himself.
Denny is one of the finest marketing minds I have ever known, and we will miss his wit and wisdom.