MARKETING: THE STEPSISTER OR A CINDERELLA STORY?

By Cassandra Elizabeth Praba, Marketing Manager – CXL Group

Imagine a time, eight years ago, when someone asked me about marketing, and my shocking response was, “Marketing is going to the supermarket to stock up the pantry.” Back then, I was blissfully naïve about marketing’s power. But then, a mentor encouraged me to explore the enchanted world of marketing.

Fast forward eight years, and I find myself utterly enchanted. Do I adore being a Marketing Manager? Absolutely. But do I wrestle with the urge to quit at least once a week? Oh yes, countless times.

Just like Cinderella toiling away in obscurity, marketing began as an unassuming discipline that often took a backseat to other aspects of business operations. In the early days, marketing was primarily limited to traditional methods such as print ads, billboards, and television commercials. Although it played a role in promoting products and services, it lacked the analytical tools and data-driven insights that would later become its key strengths.

While vital to the success of any company, marketing can sometimes be overlooked or undervalued, earning it the metaphorical title of the “stepsister” of a business.

The Overlooked Hero

In the early stages of my marketing journey, I found myself sitting in meetings, feeling invisible. Some might blame this on the ‘gender’ divide, but I believe it was due to a general underestimation of the marketing manager’s potential. Little did they know, being overlooked offered me a front-row seat to observe, to study, to understand the intricate dance of business operations.

Marketing serves as a crucial bridge between a business and its target audience to generate demand and drive revenue. It encompasses activities aimed at creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers. From conducting market research to developing strategies, advertising, and promoting products or services.

This article aims to explore the reasons behind this perception and shed light on the importance of marketing as an integral part of a thriving organisation.

So, despite its importance as an integral part of any organisation that wants to thrive, why is marketing overlooked?

Bias Towards Tangibility: Unlike sales and business development, where their activities are measurable and tangible, the impact of marketing can be quite a challenge to quantify in immediate terms which might lead to the underestimation of their value.

Short Term Siren Song: “Show me the money.” Those four words, made famous by the movie Jerry Maguire, ring true when it comes to marketing, which is inherently focused on long-term brand building and customer acquisition and does not always align with short-term financial objectives. In pursuit of immediate returns, some companies may sideline marketing initiatives that don’t offer immediate gratification.

Understanding (or lack thereof): From market research to digital branding to content creation, marketing encompasses a variety of activities which can often be misconstrued as insignificant, leading to people outside the marketing department failing to fully comprehend its breadth and depth, leading to underappreciation.

It is crucial for businesses to recognise the significance of marketing as an essential component of their overall success. A few years ago, a colleague said, “I wish I had your job. Just search for pictures to upload onto the website and social media.” Um yeah, not quite my friend.

The winds of change have started to blow as the digital era dawned upon the world. Marketing seized this opportunity to transform itself, much like Cinderella stepping into the grand ballroom with newfound confidence. With the advent of the internet, social media, and smartphones, marketing has gained a whole new profound respect in many organisations.

Here are a few reasons why marketing should be considered a top priority:

Brand Awareness: Marketing efforts create brand awareness, establishing a company’s identity and reputation in the marketplace.

Customer Engagement and Relationships: Marketing facilitates direct communication with customers, enabling businesses to understand their needs, preferences, and feedback.

Driving Sales and Revenue: Marketing initiatives generate demand, attract potential customers, and persuade them to make purchasing decisions. Well-executed marketing campaigns have the power to drive sales, increase market share, and ultimately contribute to revenue growth.

Adaptation to Market Changes: In an ever-evolving business landscape, marketing helps companies stay relevant and responsive to changing market dynamics. By monitoring trends, analysing consumer behaviour, and conducting market research, marketing teams can identify new opportunities and adjust strategies accordingly.

Just as Cinderella had to leave the ball before the clock struck midnight, marketers had to navigate the delicate balance between personalisation and intrusion carefully.

Marketing should never be seen as the stepchild of a business but rather as an essential and inseparable part of its success. By recognising the multifaceted role of marketing and appreciating its long-term benefits, organisations can allocate adequate resources, invest in strategic marketing initiatives, and harness the power of effective communication to drive growth and achieve their business objectives.

In the end, the goal of marketing is to create a lasting bond with customers – a love story akin to Cinderella’s enchanting connection with Prince Charming. With the power of marketing, businesses can nurture relationships with their audience throughout their entire journey – from awareness and consideration to purchase and loyalty.

Ultimately, embracing marketing as a valued function within a company will foster a culture that understands and leverages its potential, leading to enhanced competitiveness, customer satisfaction, and sustainable business success.


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The APPIES is an annual event that presents a rare opportunity for creative, media, digital and marketing agencies or brands to present their best campaigns to the industry.

This is the only event where Live Presentations meets Live Judging.

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APPIES Festival – Judging & Presentations
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