If you listen to a big classical work – like an opera or a symphony – you may find that the person that wrote it (the composer) was also the person that orchestrated it across multiple instruments (the orchestrator) and then went on to conduct the performance. Or you may find that the person that composed let someone else orchestrate it better, and that someone else again conducted the first performance. Marketing roles in organisations work similarly.
In a solo start-up, you’re essentially playing all these marketing roles. You’re creating the product; you’re figuring out who does what between you, the customer and any third party suppliers; and then you’re conducting that (or probably at first you’re also playing all the instruments yourself). That’s why entrepreneurs can easily burn out.
In a slightly larger business, say 5 employees, the CEO or Founder is probably the composer and orchestrator but stops being the person delivering the product or service themselves. They conduct others to perform – they become the glue that holds everything together.
Once you get to about 10 employees that becomes infeasible. Suddenly you spend your whole day trying to connect all the parts on the fly, and your Brand Symphony develops keeps having to change speed according to your capacity. At that point it’s time to think about what role you want to play.
I have said before that my view of the CMO’s role is that of the Chief Marketing Orchestrator to the CEO’s conductor. The CEOs job is to have the vision (for their own composition or someone else’s) and to conduct the performance. But the orchestration needs to involve marketing. The CEO also needs to stop playing any of the instruments themselves.
I recently found a great podcast The Marketer’s Journey – hosted by Randy Frisch. In the first episode he talks to Maria Pergolino now CMO of Active Campaign, who says the CMO’s role is to co-ordinate across the other functions. To understand all the parts so you can talk about it outside the organisation.
I have often wondered how you can market a service if you don’t know what it entails or how it feels to be your customer? In a service business it’s what you’re selling.
One of the things I have always loved about marketing roles is the breadth of skills I get to use – creative and analytical, strategy and project management. The key to being able to orchestrate has been building a relationship with the CEO, understanding their composition and vision – and orchestrating the marketing strategy that helps them conduct. Not one that gets in the way of it.
What roles are your marketing team playing? Are you allowing them to orchestrate? Is there time in their day that allows them to work across the organisation and understand all the moving parts of your service? Can they use that to productise your service? Is talking about all the different sections of your orchestra part of what they’re promoting?
Marketing roles can be diverse. Who’s playing which role in your Brand Symphony?
Jill Pringle is a Brand and Marketing Strategy consultant working with service-led businesses. She’s the Author of The Brand Symphony book and speaks regularly about branding and marketing strategy. She’s a former marketing director in companies such as Gartner, Equifax, SCM World, Thomson Local and the Philharmonia Orchestra. She studied music before she studied marketing and combines the two in her Brand Symphony Marketing services.