The Marketing Pyramid

Did you ever try to define marketing? It’s like trying to define art; marketing means different things to different people. Nevertheless, there are some good definitions. I like this one best:

Marketing is the management process through which goods and services move from concept to the customer.

That certainly says it all, but is it a useful definition? Does it define the specific role of marketing in business or the value that can be realized when marketing is executed effectively?

What marketing needs is a good marketecture – an organized way to describe its essential elements and how they relate to the business and to each other. Following is my framework for defining the role of marketing in terms of business challenges and contributions. I call it the Marketing Pyramid.


Value Prop
At the tip of the pyramid is the value proposition. It must be clear, crisp and most of all compelling. It must also resonate loudly with your target audience, not only in terms of industry sector but also in terms of decision-makers and influencers. It must be differentiated from your competition. Finally, it must be supported by tangible customer evidence. A value proposition that is not supported by facts will not survive the scrutiny of discriminating buyers. Does your value proposition meet these criteria. Have you validated this with your customers and prospects?

Business Model
The second layer of the marketing pyramid is the business model. Do you have the right business model to monetize your customer value proposition? Marketing plays a fundamental role in answering this question. It determines the pricing strategy based on customer buying patterns. It does this by analyzing the economics of an average deal to reveal the most profitable deal scenarios. Armed with this knowledge, marketing can help you to set revenue and margin targets and project your path to profitability. Is your business model accurately framed in this way?

The third layer of the pyramid is the Go-To-Market strategy. Marketing should lead the charge in developing this plan as it must be based on the assumptions determined by the top two layers (value proposition and business model). It is from these strategies that you will have chosen your customer solutions, target markets, revenue and margin targets. Now it’s time to launch products and services into the market using the most efficient and scalable sales channel model. What will it take to develop this channel and support its growth? Marketing should be in the middle of this conversation.

Demand Creation
In the demand creation layer of the pyramid, marketing moves from a strategic planning role to an operational role. Marketing must be responsible for fueling your business cost effectively. This is critical for two reasons: Sales leads are necessary to drive revenue growth and lead generation represents a significant investment and component of your cost of customer acquisition. How efficiently is your marketing investment converting to revenue? Are you effectively incorporating the latest inbound and outbound marketing strategies? Do you have the right metrics to accurately measure the performance of your programs?

Sales Enablement
The fifth layer of the marketing pyramid is also an operational role of marketing and equally important as the previous layer. Sales enablement is an important responsibility for marketing because without the right tools and training, there is no consistency in the sales process. Without the right rules of engagement for qualifying leads and measuring progress through the sales cycle, there is no predictability in the business. Marketing must play a key role in defining these rules of engagement. Marketing information systems must measure lead quality and conversion. Sales resources that accelerate the customer acquisition process must be continuously updated. Does your marketing function support the business in all of these ways?

Virtual CMO can help you to improve any of these marketing roles in your business.
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