3 min read

The impact and the rise of the marketing "expert".

We all seem to be experts at everything we're not responsible for.
The impact and the rise of the marketing "expert".
Photo by Harrison Broadbent / Unsplash

"Type C typically makes more money than the structural engineer, has mastered structural engineering from YouTube videos, is better connected, and will seek a second, third and fourth opinion—including one from a guy who used to sell concrete—until eventually one comes up aces."


In today's self-centered world, we're seeing selfish decisions impacting entire states, the entire country or an entire building of residents:

  • The continued recklessness of the anti-vaccine movement resulting in an extended pandemic
  • The deep split in politics resulting in voting laws being mismanaged for specific parties' best interest rather than the nation's
  • The need to find a solution to fit one's own specific problem rather than a solution to fit the many

In fact, we're all experts at everything we're not responsible for. And in doing so, we become the default expert for something we have little-to-zero knowledge in, potentially damaging relationships, culture and progress.

The New Yorker image: Let me interrupt your expertise with my confidence.
Let me interrupt your expertise with my confidence. (The New Yorker).


The business impact

From active disengagement to unprofessional discussions to ultimately missing deadlines, the impact of fake experts leads to a major deterioration in morale, collaboration and overall culture, ultimately creating a negative brand in the market.

A negative brand in the market creates additional challenges in meeting business and corporate goals, as more time is spent on 'fixing' a damaged brand while attempting to operate business as normal.

Revenue targets are missed, finger-pointing escalates and departures accelerate.

Without swift action and accountability, cash dries up and an unplanned exit strategy is formed.

The industry numbers

  • 14% of marketing managers, directors, VPs, and CMOs are completely satisfied with their overall marketing performance and the outcomes of their marketing investment. (1)
  • 80% of respondents use revenue and sales growth to measure their marketing team’s value, contributions and performance metrics. (2)

What's the point of these numbers? They can tell a few different stories:

  • Your operational teams are in misalignment
  • Your operational teams do not have the proper expectations set
  • Your leadership teams are out of sync

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The path forward

While the impact of 'experts' likely won't cause the downfall of your organization overnight, it will creep up on your leadership team in one of two ways:

  • Proactive: The leadership team, in working together, will see signs of infighting, which may be responded to before the deteriorating culture goes public
  • Reactive: The leadership team is part of the problem, with no insight (or care) into why infighting is occuring and no way to respond before the deteriorating culture goes public

How does an organization remain proactive?

  • Invest in your team's business acumen with an understanding of how their discipline and focus impacts the entire organization
  • Set clear expectations for specific roles within the organization, ensuring other teams understand who is ultimately responsible for what
  • Ensure the leadership acts as role models for the rest of the organization, especially for the the teams that report up to them (in addition to acting as role models between themselves)
  • Reduce friction immediately when infighting begins to perculate, ensuring the leaders of the bickering teams are in sync on roles, responsibilities and outcomes within the different teams

As an example, while it may appear, based on the numbers above, that marketing is responsible for sales, this is an inaccurate statement.

  • Marketing is responsible for delivering leads and empowering sales, in addition to go-to-market plans, supporting product releases and brand awareness initiatives (depending on the size of your organization, this may also include product positioning, earned media, public and media relations, partner marketing, email marketing and analytics)
  • Marketing's performance should not be wholly dependent on the ability of the sales team to close marketing-generated leads and opportunities, and therefore should not be graded on sales KPIs (define marketing ROI and MQL metrics for their own performance)
  • The marketing team's roles and responsibilites may be tough to define, however defining what the team is not responsible for is just as powerful as defining what the team is responsible for (bringing on freelancers or consultants or even a vCMO to help define marketing technology and marketing operations will ensure the business keeps pace with today's messaging and trends)

The source

  1. State of Marketing: Insights and trends from over 8,200 global marketers engaging customers from anywhere (link)
  2. C-Suite Scorecard: A 2021 Enterprise Performance Report of Marketing Effectiveness  (link)