How to get the wider company on board with marketing

Bryony Thomas, CEO, Watertight Business Thinking
Getting the FD, MD and the wider business fully signed up to the value of marketing can be a real challenge. How do you get it right?

For more from Bryony and Rachael, head to, where you can also download their free book!

👀 One. How do you spot a marketing cynic?

The people in your company probably fall into one of two camps: believers, or non-believers.

But, how do you find out who is your ally and who needs to be taken on a journey to understanding the value you bring?

In her time consulting, Bryony has asked boards to write down words they associate with marketing in red (negative words) or green pens (positive words).

The answers they give will provide you with a remarkably clear idea of who is a cynic and who’s a convert. That’s going to be important because…

😧 Two. There are different ‘characters’ of marketing cynicism

79% of SME businesses say attracting & retaining customers is their biggest problem… a.k.a. marketing. And yet, marketing is often not seen as the answer.

Why is this? Well, there are a few objections that are raised consistently:

  • “Marketing is ‘icky’ and at odds with our values! I have an ethical objection”
  • “Show me the money! I want to see the direct link between marketing and sales”
  • “My product should sell itself, it’s amazing! There’s no need for marketing (and anyway I can’t get my head around it)”
  • “Marketing is too fluffy! Show me a system, and a proven process”

Ouch. But – these objections are consistent enough we can start to plan for them!

🏠 Three. So… how do you start convincing folks?

Marketing is often misunderstood by non marketers. This is mostly due to the fact that what they see ‘of’ marketing gets interpreted ‘as’ marketing; lead generation, and prettifying a product. However, this creates marketing with no substance.

Bryony and Rachael proposed Four Foundations of what a successful marketer should be spending their energy on:

  1. The Right Work (strategic). To whom are you offering what? Make sure who you’re selling to and what you’re selling is appropriate and keeps you nourished! “
  2. A Balanced Routine (operational). What is the customer journey? Do you have a tool or technique that is mapped to every stage of the journey?
  3. Baseline Rhythm (operational). Keeping it happening. When will you show up with those tools? Match this to the intervals and pace of the market.
  4. Maintaining Momentum (strategic). Your vision. Why are you doing it?

When converting a cynic, you need to take them on a journey through these steps. Marketing answers key questions – showing cynics the questions that need to be answered (and not just giving the answers) will help make your job an easier one.

↔️ Four. It’s all about getting the operational and strategic in balance.

Each of the four steps represent the strategic and operational mix. Great marketing organisations are doing them in balance.

Think of it like four legs on a chair. If one is vastly longer or shorter than the other – then the chair falls over. We need to be taking people on a journey to impress the importance of doing both strategic and operational activities in balance. It’s only then we start seeing results – but also people ‘getting’ marketing.

In terms of distributing the work – a regular flow is the board will dictate on strategic issues only, a senior marketer will sit inbetween operations and strategy, and a junior marketer or series of agencies/freelancers will be purely operations.

🗣 Five. This lays the groundwork for the big question… how to convince a convert!

  • First, identify the type of cynic they are! (the characters in step two are a great starting point)
  • Now you’re aware of their orientation on marketing, you can start broadening their perspective beyond their starting point and encompassing everything else marketing is! Remember – you’re looking to understand their lens and context here 🙂
  • And finally… If you are trying to convert a cynic, do not use ‘marketing speak!’ You do not want to sound like a marketer!

While marketers may think that marketing jargon makes for a more professional look, it can lose you your audience and keep the cynic in their corner. Use words everyone in the room will understand, and you will have a much high chance of conversion!

And with that thought in mind, head to 36 minutes into the video for the remainder of the session which is all about the 16 things that kill the credibility of marketers!