Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Why Marketing Strategy Goes Beyond the Marketing Team

by Gareth Mellor Kobalt Music Group

Kobalt Music Group is an independent rights management and publishing company. Marketing Director Gareth Mellor discusses the importance of interdepartmental collaboration in building a successful marketing strategy.

As marketing and the tools used to conduct it have evolved, so too has the relationship between a business and its customer. The lines between the two parties have become ever more blurred. Looking to create engaging video content? Well, 85 per cent of consumers find user-generated content more influential than brand content. So now you need your audience to do the work for you. Want new leads to find you on Google? You’d best anticipate what they’ll search, not what you want to tell them. Trying to give your brand more personality? It better be authentic. No one wants their bank tweeting a meme from 2017.

Marketing teams have seldom before had such a wealth of options in front of them and, simultaneously, the need to have such a deeply nuanced approach. Yet as the practice evolves, so too have the business structures that surround it. The continued rise (and rise) of startups and the culture that accompanies them has encouraged larger, more established companies to follow suit, a result of which is more agile working patterns and a reduction in departmental silos. What does this mean for marketers? Hopefully, it’s creating an environment which actively encourages an open dialogue between departments which, in turn, empowers marketing teams and allows them to have more authentic conversations with an audience.

Since Willard Ahdritz launched the business in 2000, Kobalt has grown exponentially and now has more than 700 employees speaking nearly 30 languages in a dozen offices around the world. Each one of those employees has a significant role to play in how Kobalt is marketed. As a marketing team, it’s hugely important for us to be dialled into how other teams work, not just as an accessory to the sales and retention cycle, but as the voice of the company, both internally and externally. If, as guardians of the brand, you want the business to sing as one, you’ve got to give them all the same song to sing. Key to this is an agreed set of brand principles which are written down and easily understood by everyone. It’s no small project to create internal and external brand guidelines, and you have to revisit them regularly but, in the long run, it will pay off many times over. Just remember: they’re guidelines, not rules – you’re not creating robots. 

Marketing has a place in every part of a company and our business is no different. We’ve signed a new client? Great. Now let’s tell the world in a way that remains true to both the business and the artist. There’s a new product or feature in the pipeline? OK, we need to be in the conversation early – we’re going to have to explain it to our customers. We’re doing a recruitment drive? Brilliant, we can help get everything in line with the brand story. But the street goes two ways and, as marketers, building those relationships often falls to you. At Kobalt, we announce all of our brand partnerships and campaigns internally long before they hit the public eye, we actively encourage our team to recommend initiatives and partnerships to us and, in turn, we support their initiatives whenever we can. Subsequently, we have a wealth of experience on any subject at a moment’s notice, an army of advocates excited to speak for and about the company, and access to an enviable address book.

It must be stressed that recognising the importance of your team’s opinion and expertise doesn’t mean that every decision should be decided by committee – this serves no-one. But by harnessing the power of these attributes, empowering the business as a whole, and embracing each team member as a potential advocate, your marketing strategy and your audience will benefit.

Gareth will be speaking more about this at the Digital Marketing Summit on 30 January.