If you are a typical company, your marketing department is bigger than your HR department, although HR is ostensibly responsible for recruiting, compensation, benefits, talent management, workforce analytics, workplace safety and legal compliance and marketing just has to write a few white papers.
So why does the marketing team typically have its own wing while HR fits in a cubicle? I have a theory about that from the marketing side of the house and you can get the inside scoop from HR over at Dave Ryan’s HR Official.
Is it because so many HR functions are outsourced? Nope, marketing gets outsourced, too – everything from SEO to white papers to creative services, just to name a few.
Is it because marketing adds more value to the business? I don’t think so. HR done well adds as much long-term value to the business as marketing, although marketing has an advantage when it comes to demonstrating short-term value.
Is it because there are more marketing people so they are able to do more and therefore get more recognition? Well, yes, but keep in mind most marketing departments start small and grow with the business.
Is it because marketing people are better at selling themselves? Getting warmer, but it’s actually not down to a popularity contest. There’s more to it than that.
The secret sauce is this: Marketing constantly measures how their results impact bottom line performance and generously share that information with the people who make business decisions.
The good news is, HR can do this too. It all comes down to portfolio management, customer success, proactive communication and driving business success.
- Portfolio management: Marketing religiously tracks data points like how many people view online content, how many viewers become buyers and what buyers have in common. This information is used to develop an effective portfolio of marketing programs and assets. Similarly, HR can track capacity available across the organization, skills needed to drive strategic initiatives and how effective HR processes are at attracting, developing and retaining those skills. Armed with this information, HR can develop an effective portfolio of talent strategies.
- Customer success: Marketing is also highly in tune with the needs and objectives of marketing stakeholders, including customers, sales and business leaders. Marketing engages in two-way communication with its stakeholders to ensure the right messaging, tools and support are delivered to meet business objectives. Similarly, HR should be talking to business leaders, managers and employees about their needs and tailoring their programs to meet those needs.
- Communication: Marketing isn’t for the faint-hearted… or the modest. But marketing pros don’t just talk about their successes in vague terms, they make sure to back up the information with actual facts and figures. I grant you it’s harder to measure the monetary value of a person than it is to measure how people click a link but you can align HR processes and programs with company goals and measure their impact on overall business performance.
- Enablement: Marketing supports sales by building brand awareness and arming the sales force with tools and information to help generate revenue. Likewise, HR must empower leaders, managers and employees with information and tools that help them work effectively and collaboratively.
Hey, now that you mention it, marketing and HR are kind of the same job… 😉