Growth Insights for CEOs

Marketing…the big “M” and the little “m”

Posted by Mary Doize

When it comes to understanding the function of Marketing, there are often common words that enter the equation like “website”, “brochures”, or “sales collateral”. While these are tools that typically originate from the Marketing department, they only scratch the surface of what Marketing encompasses in total. A wise person once characterized the poorly understood function in the terms of “there is a big 'M' in Marketing and a little 'm'”. Wow, that is profound.

So, what do we mean when we say the big “M” of Marketing?

Enter Case Study A, a Managed IT Services Provider, who has grown from ground zero to $15M through grass roots efforts and networking. Bravo! A great accomplishment indeed. The CEO and founder, however, was scratching his head wondering how he was going to take the business to the desired $25M in three years. There are only so many coffee meetings, lunches, and dinners (or cheap wine and expensive coffee) for prospect entertainment that a small company can physically make happen. In order to scale the business, the CEO knew he had to do things differently. This is where the big “M” comes into the picture. Strategic questions need to be answered before the battle plan can be laid out. For example:

  1. What do I sell and how is it articulated to my market?
  2. Do I have different targets for the different offerings that I bring to the market?
  3. What are the best segments to reach for my business and why?
  4. What are the specific buying decision-making roles that I should target within those segments?
  5. Do my brand position and messaging framework resonate with my specific targets? Am I addressing their needs and pain points?

Once I delved into the business with the CEO and his executive team, it became clear that there were actually three different businesses with three separate targets at hand. As you can imagine, this made a world of difference from how the business was organized internally to how the positioning and messaging had to be articulated in order to attract the right targets. Once this big “M” work was done covering insight and strategy, the more tactical little “m” work of executing the new messaging on all of the vehicles like the website and the collateral could be completed. Concerted lead generation “en masse” could then take place as well with marketing automation. The employees were trained on all of the new approach and messaging so that they could emulate the new “brand” of the company.

It is easy to focus on the activities and lose sight of the bigger picture.


That is why it is important to think of Marketing as the big “M” with strategy and positioning at the forefront, and the little “m” which takes that strategy and bakes it into all of the vehicles and processes that create a marketing machine that will work to scale your business. The right targets will be attracted to the well thought out position and messaging, executed on your website and through your lead generation programs, filling the top of your sales funnel with great leads.

Hopefully, next time you have a discussion about Marketing, this is the image that will come to your mind: 


Here is to your business growth success with both the big “M” and the little “m” of Marketing in the equation!

Topics: Big M Marketing

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