First and foremost, we have to understand that this is not a game of musical chairs. Those with seats do not want to give up theirs, and they are unwilling to let just anyone pull up a new chair next to them. They sit comfortably, entrenched by the common language they share and the accepted value they bring to the business as vital operational elements.

Marketing loiters – hopeful for an invitation to sit but, believing its functionality to be discretionary, the table is unmoved. Desperate to have its value acknowledged, Marketing performs for the table like a jester at a banquet, amusing them briefly by providing promotional trash on demand (“Hats with logos? Sure thing!”). But still the table remains unmoved; no one is budging. Confused and with sore legs from standing, Marketing wonders, “What’s wrong with me? How can I get a seat at the table?”

Funnel Masters (an alumni of Funnel Academy graduates and other funnel zealots) met in an effort to uncover the answer to this question. The resulting conversation, however, proved that there is no golden ticket. We did, however, identify a couple of key steps…

Talk the talk

Put simply, there is little point in arguing for a seat when the table doesn’t understand what you’re saying. Marketers need to learn the language of the table before presuming to suggest how it can add value to the business. If you can’t meaningfully discuss the same things as those at the table, you don’t belong there. Seats are awarded based on the value you bring to the business; therefore, Marketing needs to change how its’ value is defined, so that the table can understand and appreciate that value.

Walk the walk (when you can)

What can Marketing do to get noticed and be offered a seat? While promotion is an important aspect of good B2B marketing, alone it fails to deliver the sort of value necessary to win a permanent seat at the table. Marketing needs to look beyond the day-to-day promotion of the business, and change the business’s capacity to generate new revenue.

But, does this capacity always exist? Unfortunately not. Whilst Marketing can influence revenue in some circumstances, in others it is simply unable to make much of a contribution. Start by assessing if your world is one where marketing really can make a difference, and then act – but only if you can.

In businesses where it can contribute to new revenue, Marketing deserves recognition as an ingredient in the recipe for business success. The key though is to prove it. Start by talking the talk, then back it up by walking the walk. Only then will Marketing be granted a permanent seat at the table.