The power of delegation in marketing management
To produce sustainable profitable income, by anticipating and satisfying customer demand, requires a process of careful management, which is generally referred to as “marketing”. However, while the term “marketing” may often be defined differently, it is as a management process that it should properly be considered.
Every successful manager has also to be a “leader”, and to be able to balance the respective needs of the task to be achieved, the team to carry it out, and the individuals of that team. Marketing managers are responsible for producing a flow of profitable income for the long-term benefit of the business, with the objective of maximising profitable income while minimizing costs and the use of assets. To achieve this, they must manage resources, as well as be a leader and motivator. They must understand the market and their customers, as well as understand all the activities involved in getting and maintaining business. As managers, they must ask difficult and searching questions, avoid assumptions, and seek quantifiable proof of performance, but as a leader, they must know and understand the requirements of the marketing team and especially the individuals involved.
Leadership and management are not about simply hitting goals and targets. Achieving business objectives can be met by “driving “the organization and its staff. However, experience shows that such methods are ultimately counterproductive, and may cause the most important asset, the experienced marketing staff “to vote with their feet” and leave.
Effective marketing managers must be able to inspire, motivate and manage their marketing staff to achieve the required objectives, as the success or failure of the marketing function is dependent on the ability of its staff.
- How does the method of working and organisation meet the needs of employees and employers? Is the work process efficient and effective?
- Does the methodology and levels of responsibility motivate or demotivate employees?
- Do management know what employees actually do or how they contribute to the commercial objectives?
- Are all personnel gainfully employed, or have changes in organisation and business technology necessitated a reassessment?
Generally, when employees are fully and constructively occupied, they tend to be well motivated and effective. However, when this is not the case, employees can easily become de-motivated and begin to game the system to their own benefit, rather than that of the organisation
Clear job descriptions define necessary responsibilities and expectations for the benefit of both employer and employee and also enable employee’s performances to be assessed. However, the tasks and responsibilities that are written in an employee’s job description may differ from what the employee perceives them to be, and may differ from what they actually do. Unless periodically reviewed, the tasks engaged in by both managers and staff can expand and, drift into areas of interest and convenience and away from the planned requirements of the business.
Marketing managers should routinely and periodically undertake an assessment of organisation and staff resources:
- Consider the business and commercial objectives.
- Assess the resources available, - are they sufficient for the tasks, are they organized effectively? How do you know?
- Get all employees to write their own job descriptions, defining what they see as their prime responsibilities, areas of interest and lines of reporting.
- Compare each employee’s own job description with their official one, and with others.
- How do the job descriptions relate to the task? Where do these job descriptions overlap? Are there any gaps in capability? Where are the gaps?
- Consult with employees to establish where and why there are overlaps and gaps. Seek their suggestions for improvement. Evaluate the answers and adjust tasks and responsibilities accordingly with the cooperation of the staff.
- Ensure that all job descriptions have clear objectives and responsibilities that are subject to regular progress review.
- Are personnel sufficiently trained to meet current requirements?
- What training might they need? What training do they consider they need to be more effective with current business situations?
Staff that are well motivated and enthusiastic about their task produce better results. Staff should be given the necessary training so that when given a directive, they are capable of deciding and acting as necessary on their own initiative. Experience shows that given the opportunity, the majority of employees rise to the occasion, by taking ownership of the task and its solution which encourages their motivation and confidence to succeed.
Marketing managers should:
- Delegate and entrust responsibilities to subordinates.
- Specify goals not methods.
- Provide assistance if necessary, but avoid micro management.
- Encourage openness to thinking and alternative views.
Employees who have the knowledge and experience on which the business depends , are the most important asset that the marketing manager has. Thus maintaining their motivation and management is fundamental to the success of the business. Delegating responsibilities to entrusted subordinates encourages motivation, staff retention and improves effective management.