A powerful question, isn't it?
Barbara Walters Price on her Marketing U blog picked up on the thread about marketing experts (or not) that David Maister started Who Are the Marketing Experts in Professional Businesses? and she mentioned my first response to David's post.
I took exception with the premise of David's post because I believe that most firms don't do cool marketing things not because they don't get innovative suggestions from their marketing professionals, but because they don't accept those suggestions or allow the marketing to move forward for one reason or another. In other words, they are often too conservative.
Barbara's post, PSF Marketers: Experts or Irrelevant? is strong. In it she challenges my list -- not its accuracy, with which she concurs, but its relevance. And she's right. So what. She wrote:
Michelle's top ten list is pretty much right on the money yet, again, so what? You sign on as a marketer for a professional service firm and you mostly know what comes with the territory. You do your best to get better every day. If things don't work out for you or if you're not valued, then you work like a dog to change your circumstances or you go elsewhere. I know it sounds harsh, but it's true.
I think firms are the first to admit they live in a state of complacency. Marketers tend to be change agents. When they first start in a firm, they have their greatest advantage and should set expectations appropriately for the sort of support, infrastructure (budget) and creative license they will want and need to be effective and to stay intellectually/creatively stimulated in the process.
Should the position deteriorate to anything less, then that is something that the marketer should take responsibility for and address. The most successful professional service firm marketers do this from time to time as necessary.
Unfortunately, most of the rest would be the first to tell you that they sink to a level of being less effective than they'd like...adapting to the firm's complacency rather than counseling the firm out of it.
Thank you Barbara for challenging the complaint list. So what, indeed.