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Insight: AdLand's C-Suite Advantage
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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When building a team, the group gathers together and discusses its strengths and weaknesses. In that conversation, each member says what skill or talent they bring to the table that would make the group (and essentially, their presence) successful. If you are the marketing or advertising person, what would you say? Creativity? Strategy? Capability?

Can't any member of the group say that about their skill? In management, it takes creativity and strategy to lead a team. In finance and IT, it takes capability and knowledge to figure out solutions to complicated problems. Those skills and talents, though nice, don't set marketing and advertising professionals apart. Those characteristics do not make AdLand unique. 

This powerful concept comes from Adele Ravella, leader of the Buyer Persona Institute. She recently wrote an article about what a marketer's core competency is so that CMOs and AdPeople aren't sent to the kids' table so the grownups can make decisions.

She's right. Marketing and advertising professionals need to figure out what their competitive advantage really is. Though we wouldn't go as far as to say that there is a "competency gap" in marketing, we do believe that AdLand professionals are having difficulty stating their case as to why they're needed. Advertising isn't just there to make messages look pretty, to gather attention, and to boost sales. Marketing does more than persuading people to look at a product or service over another one.

Adele hit it square on the head: Marketers provide insight on consumers and buying habits.

Insight is the selling point. Creativity drives it home.

The C-Suite needs AdLand to gather information about the markets they are dealing with. Without that kind of information, how could they decide what new products or services to offer, or what new markets or audiences would benefit from their current offerings? There's our competitive advantage: It is not how we communicate with the audiences, it is that we communicate with the consumers in the first place. Marketing is the eyes, ears, and mouth of the C-Suite. 

Will this be a tough transition to make for AdLand and the CMOs we work with? Hopefully not, for the creative and strategy we employ every day should be grounded in insight. Therefore, it is only a matter of reframing the conversation.

That should be easy for AdLand to handle.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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