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The Three Pillars of Modern Marketing

Marketing is evolving at such an immense speed, that it’s helpful to remind ourselves of the fundamentals sometimes. The following framework by Buffer's VP of Marketing Kevan Lee lays out the three major disciplines within marketing and the questions they are answering.
The Three Pillars of Modern Marketing

Marketing is evolving at such an immense speed, that it’s helpful to remind ourselves of the fundamentals sometimes. The following framework by Buffer's VP of Marketing Kevan Lee lays out the three major disciplines within marketing and the questions they are answering:

1. Brand Marketing - Defining who you are

This basically boils down to "why should people care". What problem are you solving for people?

Or how advertising agency Ogilvy calls it: Your Big IdeaL: The intersection between a cultural tension and your brand's best self.

Check out this previous newsletter from Kevan to learn more about brand marketing.

2. Product Marketing - Tell the Story about what you sell

The second step is about positioning. What is the narrative that your product revolves around?

3. Growth Marketing - Figure out how to sell it

These are your fundamental growth- and go-to-market strategies.

But Kevan makes a good point to keep in mind:

Often times, brand, product, and growth are a Venn diagram, and your team and your team’s activities live somewhere in the overlaps.

For instance, a blog can be a representation of who you are (brand marketing) as well as a growth channel for awareness, acquisition, and demand gen (growth marketing).

A product launch can help position your company (product marketing), it can help sell to new customers (growth marketing), and it can speak to who you are as a brand (brand marketing).

Building The 3-Pillar Marketing Team

Especially for early teams, the setup tends to be holistic, encompassing all three bodies in a single group. But as you scale, you might start to see these disciplines for brand, product, and growth become more apparent in the way you organize.

And this is a structure that comes up over and over in the podcast conversations I have with growth leaders from around the world. Modern marketing teams are set up around those three pillars as well. A few examples:

  • Drift has three teams: Brand marketing, product marketing and demand gen (growth)
  • Webflow has four teams: Content marketing (brand), product marketing, demand gen (growth) and operations
  • Buffer has three teams again: Brand marketing, product marketing and lifecycle marketing (growth)

They might have different names, but most marketing teams can be (or should be) part of either brand, product or growth.