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142 Marketing’s Job Is NOT Serving Internal Customers

Monday 17th June 2024
LOM_Episodes-142 Marketing Job Is NOT Serving Internal Customers

On this episode, let’s talk about one of the things that drives me the craziest and more importantly, ruins marketing results and careers on a regular basis. That is, why marketing’s job is NOT serving internal customers.

Speaking of which, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for making our new books into bestsellers at Amazon Books. You can check the whole list Category Pirates mini-books at Amazon Books, and expect more in the near future!

Welcome to Lochhead on Marketing. The number one charting marketing podcast for marketers, category designers, and entrepreneurs with a different mind.

The Concept of Internal Customers is Dumb

The idea of an Internal Customer is dumb. Listen to it: Internal Customer. First of all, what does a customer do that an internal department or “internal customer” doesn’t? That’s right, customers actually pay you money.

Companies who are so internally focused and direct marketing inwardly, that they are confused as to what it should be targeting is a company destined for disaster.

So point number one is this:

“There is only one customer, and those are your actual customers.” – Christopher Lochhead

You can put whatever modifier in front of customer you want, but customers or consumers and putting a stupid modifier in front of them is well, frankly stupid.

What Marketing should be doing

That said, what really is marketing?

Firstly, Marketing is a leadership function. Its job is to lead the company, lead the category and ultimately design and dominate a legendary category that matters around solving problems or creating opportunities for customers.

Second, marketing organizations often get trapped in this feeling of being an internal service bureau. That’s ridiculous. Marketing is no is no more of a internal service function than finance than engineering or products. d in this being of being an internal service bureau. HR is not a service function either. It’s a leadership function.

So the first thing to understand is marketing is a leadership function, whose job is to partner with the rest of the organization in creating, designing, and dominating a market category that makes a giant difference for customers who pay us money.

How Marketing works within the Organization

Now, what does that mean for how marketing works within the organization? You do it as leaders, as you partner with other leaders.

So is Sales Enablement important? Yes, of course it’s important. As a marketing leader, we want the sales organization to love us. Are there a certain set of things that we want to deliver to sales to help them be successful in their job? Of course, there are. But we’re not order takers, we’re leaders. And we’re partners. We’re in a co creation relationship.

You’re in the business of co-creating a legendary relationship. Are there some service elements of that? Sure, there are. But that is not the primary paradigm, the primary paradigm is a co-creation relationship.

That’s the relationship marketing wants to have with sales, that is to say, both of which should get together and say, what are our objectives for the year for the quarter for the month? How do we partner together to produce legendary revenue with the exact kind of customers that we want? So in that regard, marketing and sales work together, hand in glove.

To hear more on how Marketing should be done in your business, download and listen to this episode.


Christopher Lochhead is a #1 Apple podcaster and #1 Amazon bestselling co-author of books: Niche Down and Play Bigger.

He has been an advisor to over 50 venture-backed startups; a former three-time Silicon Valley public company CMO and an entrepreneur.

Furthermore, he has been called “one of the best minds in marketing” by The Marketing Journal, a “Human Exclamation Point” by Fast Company, a “quasar” by NBA legend Bill Walton and “off-putting to some” by The Economist.

In addition, he served as a chief marketing officer of software juggernaut Mercury Interactive. Hewlett-Packard acquired the company in 2006, for $4.5 billion.

He also co-founded the marketing consulting firm LOCHHEAD; the founding CMO of Internet consulting firm Scient, and served as head of marketing at the CRM software firm Vantive.

We hope you enjoyed this episode of Lochhead on Marketing™! Christopher loves hearing from his listeners. Feel free to email him, connect on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and subscribe on iTunes!