Every time you interact with a customer, you’re engaging in marketing. Doesn’t matter if you’re instituting a policy, gaining some data, delivering an invoice… it’s a marketing interaction.
When you bother 100 customers to get useful data from 2, you just paid a marketing cost.
When you yell at a classroom full of kids because one kid misbehaved, that’s a marketing decision.
When you make 5,000 non-smugglers wait in a steaming customs hall at a resort destination, you may think you’re doing your job and collecting those little white forms, but what you’re really doing is marketing (negatively).
When you bring a little candy (which wasn’t required) with the check (which was) you’re using the transaction as an opportunity to do positive marketing.
Here’s a little thought experiment that will show how your managers are misjudging these interactions: Go ask your front line people what they’re doing when they’re doing what they think is their jobs. Like when they’re ripping tickets or answering the phone or filling out a form with a customer. How many say, "I’m using this as an excuse to market to our best customers"?