More than B2B: Changing the definition of marketing work, and its impact on careers and lives

By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing

In the middle of 2021, our leadership team did a deep dive on our business – not just setting growth goals and focus areas, but also revisiting our core values ​​and defining a foundational purpose for the business as we enter a new period of growth.

With the help of an amazing facilitator and following the EOS methodology, we articulated a purpose that immediately felt like us (based on our culture and priorities to date) and yet also provided an exciting new focus and mission for our work moving forward.

Our Purpose: To change the definition of work, and the impact it has on careers and lives.

Maybe not what you expected to hear from a B2B consultancy. So let me explain…

Work is a means unto an ends

You can love what you do for a living.

It can fire you up, get you out of bed in the morning.

It can even be addicting.

But if work is the end, why does it really matter? If work is all there is (this work, then more work, etc.), then what’s it all for?

I believe work can give you joy. Because you truly enjoy the work, because it’s gratifying, because you can see what your brain and/or your hands have built. It can also be enjoyable because you recognize and appreciate what it enables.

Fundamentals like shelter and food.

A safe environment for your family to grow and thrive.

The comforts of life as you define them.

My family taught me the meaning and value of hard work from an early age. My parents and their parents were raised in the American Midwest, central Illinois more specifically, where hands in the soil and grinding it out on the farm were common means of creating value. Of course, even on a farm it’s not the hardest work but the smartest work that wins. Some may to this day plow the land with a yen of oxen, others get themselves a tractor and let technology do the same work easier if not also better.

A better definition of work

The definition of work isn’t more work. It isn’t defined by doing the most work. The definition of work is about impactful work – for the work itself as well as what it enables for you and those you care about, as well as the broader communities in which we live and engage.

So when we say our purpose at Heinz Marketing is to change the definition of work, it is meaningful and impactful work as its focus. Not long lists of activities, not volume-based reporting, not endless task lists to prove you’ve been busy. Our new definition of work is about making a measurable impact on the business, which enables a meaningful and impactful impact on our careers and lives.

Meaningful work is revenue impact instead of vanity metrics. Doing the right work vs simply more work. Triaging your time to what’s both urgent AND important, and being OK with plenty of work NOT done that simply leaving isn’t as useful or impactful.

It’s the type of work that gives marketers more freedom over how, when and even where it is done. There are no rewards for late night emails here. You don’t get extra credit for sitting at your desk longer or responding to emails faster. Smart marketers, enabled by their forward-thinking organizations, prioritize impact. And if it takes less time to drive that impact, if you can do it without also giving up your nights and weekends, now we’re getting somewhere.

Our purpose, changing the definition of work, is all of this plus putting work in proper context in our lives. If you believe in and lean into the statements above, it can create and enable amazing opportunities in our careers and lives. That part is up to each and every marketer to define, pursue and protect.

Eliminating what marketing is “not”

This starts with changing what marketing work is and what it is not. That’s not a 30-minute meeting, or a reply-all memo to your team. It’s a culture change that may take some time to take root, generate and sustain momentum, become the standard for how marketers work, how they are driven, how they are rewarded.

The best time to start this important work would have been 10 years ago. The second-best time is right now. Start with you, set an example for those around you, and watch the snowball gather speed. We’ll do it together.

How we teach and empower clients to do this

The first step is thinking through, internalizing and accepting that this new definition of work, and marketing work in particular, is valuable and worth pursuing. What comes next?

Enabling individuals to talk with their peers about it. To start building consensus amongst marketers, cross-organizational revenue teams, company leadership as well as investors and board members that marketing’s impact can and should be different. And that it takes a new way of operationalizing marketing work to get there.

It also includes encouraging marketers to align themselves with organizations that get it responsible, that expect marketing to be revenue, that allows them to lean into the right work to accelerate their impact and efficiency.

It starts with us

If you are reading this, it can start with you. If you work at Heinz Marketing, you know it starts with us too. How we drink our own champagne, how we execute and continually improve/optimize our own sales and marketing efforts. How we share those best practices externally in our content and client engagements.

It’s a journey for sure, and we learn from being bold, making mistakes, learning why it didn’t work and trying again. And through our proactive efforts, our example, our discovery and improvements, we can show clients and the broader marketing community a path forward as well.

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