What is the worst thing that could happen to a business? Is marketing to blame?

Why do some companies grow and others don’t? What are the three barriers that prevent businesses from growing? 

Before you continue reading, pause for a moment and think about what those are, in your opinion…

As Verne Harnish outlines in his book Scaling Up, these are the three reasons businesses fail to grow: leadership, infrastructure and marketing. 

  • Leadership – the inability to train and grow leaders 
  • Infrastructure – the lack of systems and processes 
  • Marketing – the inability to attract and retain customers and talent 

It’s hard to argue that these three components are critical to any organization, no matter how large or small. But what’s even more obvious, yet what gets missed often, is that all these three components must work together. 

So is marketing always to blame when we stop getting leads? 

Let’s take a look at how these three barriers relate to each other and to your marketing strategy specifically. 

Leadership and Marketing 

Leaders come in all shapes and sizes, and they can be found in various levels of an organization. The CEO of the company is the chief in command, but as a business or marketing manager, you are the leader in your area. 

Whether you have a team under you, or you are the only person in your marketing department, it is your role to lead. To lead the company in bettering the area you are accountable for. 

So if you are a marketing manager, you are the expert in marketing, but you are also the one who will be thinking of the next generation of marketers in your company. And most importantly, you will be thinking about how can everyone in our organization “become a marketer.”

Marketing is not about selling. Yes, the main goal of marketing is to attract and retain customers and talent. But marketing starts within your organization first. As a marketing leader in your company, how do you make sure that everyone in your organization is clear and consistent about your company’s core competencies?

Be a marketing leader in your organization and lead people to clarity and consistency.

Infrastructure and marketing 

There are no bad people, there are bad processes that prevent people from being their best.

Raise your hand if you love rules. Do you love following processes and checklists? 

Some people do, and some people don’t. The problem is, when we work as a team, we must be as consistent as possible to achieve great results, especially when it comes to marketing and branding. Repetition is what creates patterns and turns them into habits. This is where checklists and processes come in. 

So either you love rules or hate them – you have to follow then. End of story. 

Just imagine what would happen if a barista at Starbucks did not follow their process on how to make a latte for you, and decided that he can just make it the way he thinks it should be made?

What would happen is that every latte would taste differently from one Starbucks to another. In the end, it wouldn’t be Starbucks anymore. It would be Joe’s latte or Micheal’s latte or Maria’s latte. Starbucks is Starbucks because their latte tastes the same in Vancouver and in London. 

Can you say the same for your organization? Do you have solid processes and checklist your team follows when serving your customers? 

And how about processes in marketing? Do you have documented processes on how you handle social media? Do you have a brand book? Do you have a style guide for your writers? 

These processes make you unique and provide a foundation for growth. 


And finally – marketing. How do you define marketing? What is the true job of marketing in your organization?

 If you are a cool company, you already know that you can’t ignore one part of the business and expect all the other parts to work smoothly. You know that core values, purpose, mission and brand promise are not just something you put on the wall – it’s how you live and breathe and do businesses – this is what makes you truly unique in today’s world that is overloaded with information. We have to fight for attention, but for your customers to really notice you, you must provide something different, something unique and valuable.  

So, where do you begin? 

How do you make sure that your leadership, infrastructure and marketing are all working in sync to grow your organization? Start at the beginning – look at the big picture first. What’s missing in your brand? A comprehensive Brand Audit usually reveals all the blind spots not only in your marketing but in how your business operates, how well all business units work together

Need help? Give us a shout or visit our marketing agency in Vancouver – we always have chocolate, and we just moved to our brand new Creative Greenhouse.