My career so far has spanned numerous functions – Legal, Sales, Operations, Marketing, Trading. It has given me insight into the different areas and the strengths and weaknesses of each. Talking about that in detail is a discussion for another time. My point today is about how functions can lose sight of the overall goal.

Put simply, the primary purpose of the vast majority of businesses is profit. If a company is making a profit, it is likely to stay in business. The converse is true.

The goal of each function is to contribute to that goal. Legal make sure that the contracts are in order, operations make sure the company is running to deliver the sales, Marketing attract and retain customers and Trading monitor the sales line.

Marketing in particular is often a function that forgets this. The only thing that separates Marketing and Sales is that Marketing is more often about money coming later and Sales is more often about money coming now. The tactics can be quite different, but the important thing to remember is that the end goal is the same. The point of an advertising campaign is to make customers aware of your business and get them to purchase your products. If the campaign doesn’t do that, it has failed regardless of the good feelings or Facebook Likes it has achieved. So many Marketers are in denial about this fact, a fact that seems clear to anyone outside the profession, and it impacts Marketing from having the central role it should. Customers should be at the heart of every organisation and Marketers know more about them than anyone.

A commercial focus is one of the most important attributes employees can have. Even creative people need a commercial edge, otherwise the creation doesn’t lead anywhere. It is up to all the leaders in an organisation to instill this. There’s no point in expecting only certain functions to look after this. If everyone doesn’t, the company won’t achieve its goals. The choice for each function is simple. How do they want to contribute, Money Now or Money Later?