Considering MBA school? Learn how the best companies align marketing and strategy

January 01, 2017

marketing concept with financial elements hand drawn on blackboard

Some companies maintain separate marketing departments and strategy departments. Since the two disciplines originated from somewhat different needs, where marketing is used to sell a product and strategy is used to plan overall business activity, it’s no surprise that this separation persists in the minds of some businesspeople.

However, it's increasingly thought that sharing direction and tools among different departments can help a company become more interconnected and effective. Many successful businesses take steps to align their marketing and strategy goals and values, and research suggests this can increase revenue by an average of 20% annually.

Read on to learn how the best companies go about implementing this kind of approach.

Ensure marketing & strategy both follow the same company philosophy

Great companies establish a company philosophy and use it to align all their activity toward a common purpose. For example, Southwest Airlines was founded on the following idea: "If you get your passengers to their destinations when they want to get there, on time, at the lowest possible fares, and make darn sure they have a good time doing it, people will fly your airline."

To that end, Southwest offers fast flights at low costs and hires personable employees. Low prices draw customers and friendly customer service from Southwest employees ensures that those customers have an enjoyable experience. The company's marketing efforts highlight the low cost of tickets and the light, fun interactions customers have with Southwest. All of this is in keeping with the philosophy above, and the results have been positive. Southwest maintains industry-leading favorability numbers, and celebrated 43 consecutive years of profitability in 2016.

To take a similar approach in your own workplace, determine what it is that drives your company—why does it do what it does?—and establish that as a guiding philosophy. Use the performance management and team-leading skills you will develop in your MBA courses to ensure that strategic moves and marketing efforts all operate according to and in service of that philosophy. This will help ensure that work that’s done by all areas of the company is aligned toward a common purpose.

After MBA school, unify marketing and strategy data with technology

Many successful companies use customer relationship management (CRM) software to share data between departments and enhance understanding of how actions in one area can affect the others. For example, a good CRM program can let you see how well individual pieces of marketing content work to generate sales. This data can be used to align future marketing efforts with what is proven to work, and can provide indications to sales teams for which leads should be pursued aggressively.

The up-to-date marketing management training you will receive at an MBA school such as WU Executive Academy will help you determine which marketing and sales data you should track and share between departments. Based on this information, you will be able to compare popular CRM platforms to see which option works best for your needs. Need intuitive lead scoring? Salesforce is a good pick. Want a program that includes marketing automation features? You might consider Zoho. Choose the right solution, and grant equal access to your different departments. This will help everyone use data to understand which factors are influencing their own work, and align their efforts with what is proven to be effective for the company.

Data charts on a tablet viewed by two persons
Sharing data between departments can help companies align their marketing efforts

Aligning marketing with the sales and strategy of your company can help you define a direction for the company to follow, and can help you improve data sharing between departments. Standardize the philosophy and software used within your company and you'll be on the right track toward a more successful, consistent system of business.

Want to earn your MBA in marketing?

Visit WU Executive Academy to learn more about our top-rate program.

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