Mind The Gap

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Marketing is about selling. Plain and simple. Otherwise, there’s no good reason to do it. Marketing without the aim of directly contributing to revenue isn’t worth the time, resources, or budget.
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The task of providing opportunities to sell often falls to the Marketing team, ideally led by a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) who is senior and has the ears of the C-Suite. More often than not, marketers are on an island by themselves—misunderstood, underappreciated, and undervalued. And they’re the first to get hung out to dry when things don’t go as planned.

Marketers face three main challenges in completing that task:


Navigating the ups and downs of an ever-shifting market while maintaining brand integrity, performance, and relevance to customers.


Managing the brand responsibly to achieve the internal alignment with leadership required to ensure their plan is executed with purpose and delivers performance that matters.


Leveraging an agency partner to drive performance by retaining and selling more to existing customers while attracting new ones that have a chance of staying and becoming recurring advocates of the brand.

It’s a near-impossible job, and marketers are fighting an uphill battle from day one. The margin for error is measured in months and quarters, and the timeline required to deliver on a long-term strategy is a pipedream. It simply isn’t realistic to think Marketing will have the time they need to be effective when the long-term strategy changes every quarter.

So, what can they do about it?

They need to dig in and embrace the fight they’re in. And make no mistake: it’s a fight. One in which the odds are stacked against them; and the risk is high.

Marketing should be a catalyst for growth and best serves the brand, its leadership, and employees, when it creates engagements and positive experiences for customers deliberately and intentionally, rather than by accident. But unless marketers can bridge the gaps between the brand, the market, and the customers they serve so they are aligned from top to bottom, they will not be successful.

Key to the above is a worthy agency partner. An agency that brings a fresh, objective pair of eyes and deep expertise can be a secret weapon in a brand’s arsenal.

So, the final gap Marketing has to bridge is between the brand and its agency partner. Maximizing the value that an agency delivers to the brand is the sharp end of the spear that can make in-roads into markets regardless of what can and can’t be controlled. The agency provides a lens through which the brand can maintain a realistic view of what its customers want and need and deliver value propositions that are meaningful and relevant.

If the agency is compensated based on the performance it delivers, everyone wins. A good agency will perform, while bad ones will be left behind.

And if brands perform, Marketing will reap the rewards and live to fight another day.

Read the book already? Find out about Dave’s marketing agency TMD & how they help extend marketing teams.

About Dave Cliche

Dave is TMD’s President & CEO of TMD (The Marketing Department). A graduate of Royal Roads Military College, the University of Guelph, and Humber College’s post-graduate Communications and Public Relations Program, Dave has over 20 years of experience developing and delivering strategic marketing solutions locally, nationally and internationally.

Throughout his career, Dave has had hands-on experience with practical client-side leadership, brand stewardship, business development and marketing strategy, giving him an understanding of the marketing industry that few can boast. He led GlobalInteractive Marketing and Marketing Operations for Aon Worldwide and was responsible for redesigning 135 global websites in 120 countries in 9 languages.

Subsequently, he reorganized the Canadian business division for Aon’s large global portfolio, which continues to support the business’ national Healthcare Practice Group. Dave has also worked with other notable brands, such as Microsoft, Nike, Manchester United, Canadian Physiotherapy Association, SickKids Foundation, Canadian Tire, IKEA and TIFF.

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Key highlights from the book

Part 1
The Market Gap
Part 2
The Organizational Gap
Part 3
The Agency Gap
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Marketing is about selling. Plain and simple. Otherwise, there’s no good reason to do it. Marketing without the aim of directly contributing to revenue isn’t worth the time, resources, or budget.

David Cliche