The Marketing Bureau


Specialist Marketing & Communications Resourecs

30

Jun

Think and Win


By Brian H Meredith
From the NZBusiness Magazine"Marketing Maestro" Archive.
First published May 2008


I spend at least a couple of hours a week sitting in Air New Zealand’s Koru Lounges around the country waiting to board flights. It is an enlightening, if not an enlivening, experience. New Zealand must comprise some of the most boring, slovenly and uninspiring group of business air travelers in the known universe.

 

Sartorial elegance is not something that you will observe or admire in these places. Rather, you will be surrounded by a shabby collection of inexpensive, ill fitting, often badly creased suits, jackets, pants & shirts. Hallensteins, not Armani, is the preferred provider here.

And shoes! Has someone withdrawn shoe polish from the shelves of our supermarkets?

Such is the inelegant, and mildly distasteful, scramble for the free food and drink in these lounges that it is clear these corporate warriors are not being properly fed & watered elsewhere in their daily schedules.

But most worrying of all are the conversations which you can overhear (accidentally, of course) both amongst those warriors travelling together and, even more clearly, from those who are shouting into their cell phones (who think that the further away the person is with whom they are talking the louder they have to speak).

The drivel that is spoken about business in general and, more specifically, their own business and related activities, has to be heard to be believed.

It is little wonder that so many New Zealand businesses either fail completely or only manage to accomplish meager financial performance. If the Lounge populations are representative of this country’s business population (and they are) then we really do have something to worry about.

Where is the energy? Where is the excitement? Where is the creativity?

Where are those people who understand that marketing is at the centre of the business universe (“Nothing happens until somebody sells something” Adam Smith) ?

Why do I perpetually hear these people droning on about just about anything except how to know and understand the customer better and, armed with that awesomely powerful knowledge, how to develop, deliver and profit from products & services that will blow their socks off?

One thing has become brutally clear to me over the years – if doctors knew as little about medicine as so many business people seem to know about the concepts of business & marketing and how to profit from them, we’d all be dead.

If organisations and their people were to spend as much time on “thinking” marketing as they do on “thinking” about how to flog another “me too” product whilst hardening the price by another dollar and squeezing their costs by another two dollars, then, as a nation, we’d be buzzing along.

But we are not buzzing along.

Despite what short term economic data may tell us, the long term bigger picture for New Zealand is glum. We are not creative. We do not innovate. We continue to have our primary industries occupy commodity markets and they refuse to have anything to do with the bigger and more compelling concept of added value. If things continue as they are, we will all work for Fonterra and the CEO will be Prime Minster.

Fonterra aside, New Zealand is becoming (has become?) a nation of regional sales & marketing offices for overseas companies. We have plenty of people here who sport the title of CEO but the majority are little more than Sales Managers running a regional sales team from a branch office.

These people do not influence the long term marketing and sales strategies of their parent organisations – they are required only to deliver on short term sales performance from a portfolio of products & services that are developed, designed and manufactured elsewhere.

Maybe that’s why, when gathered together in one place like a Koru Lounge, they all look so glum, so unexciting, so, well, dull & boring.

Oh, and I mustn’t forget the other species that inhabits Koru Lounges in large numbers – MPs, government officials and the public service. They are easy to spot – they often gather in large groups and hit the free food & booze with a voracity that has to be seen to be believed. It is not uncommon for some Lounges to be so full of this species that I have been forced to seek solace and serenity in the often much quieter public areas of the terminal.

Guess we can’t rely on that species to contribute anything to the future of business in this country.

So it’s all down to us then.

We will have to do it ourselves.

We’ll have to take much more time to THINK about our businesses, THINK about our customers, THINK about their needs and wants and THINK about how we can deploy our resources to meet those needs & wants in ways that will blow their socks off. When we start doing that (and if it catches on) we really will be heading down the right track of long term economic prosperity.  

Remember Peter Drucker : “Business has only two functions : Marketing and Innovation” – right now we are crap at both of these.

And that should worry you because commodity dairy products won’t do it forever.

 

Brian H Meredith

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18

Jul

Think. And Win.



By Brian H Meredith

From the NZBusiness"Marketing Maestro" Archive
First published May 2008


I spend at least a couple of hours a week sitting in Air New Zealand’s Koru Lounges around the country waiting to board flights. It is an enlightening, if not an enlivening, experience.

New Zealand must comprise some of the most boring, slovenly and uninspiring group of business air travelers in the known universe.

Sartorial elegance is not something that you will observe or admire in these places. Rather, you will be surrounded by a shabby collection of inexpensive, ill fitting, often badly creased suits, jackets, pants & shirts. Hallensteins, not Armani, is the preferred provider here.

And shoes! Has someone withdrawn shoe polish from the shelves of our supermarkets?

Such is the inelegant, and mildly distasteful, scramble for the free food and drink in these lounges that it is clear these corporate warriors are not being properly fed & watered elsewhere in their daily schedules.

But most worrying of all are the conversations which you can overhear (accidentally, of course) both amongst those warriors travelling together and, even more clearly, from those who are shouting into their cell phones (who think that the further away the person is with whom they are talking the louder they have to speak).

The drivel that is spoken about business in general and, more specifically, their own business and related activities, has to be heard to be believed.

It is little wonder that so many New Zealand businesses either fail completely or only manage to accomplish meager financial performance. If the Lounge populations are representative of this country’s business population (and they are) then we really do have something to worry about.

Where is the energy? Where is the excitement? Where is the creativity?

Where are those people who understand that marketing is at the centre of the business universe (“Nothing happens until somebody sells something” Adam Smith) ?

Why do I perpetually hear these people droning on about just about anything except how to know and understand the customer better and, armed with that awesomely powerful knowledge, how to develop, deliver and profit from products & services that will blow their socks off?

One thing has become brutally clear to me over the years – if doctors knew as little about medicine as so many business people seem to know about the concepts of business & marketing and how to profit from them, we’d all be dead.

If organisations and their people were to spend as much time on “thinking” marketing as they do on “thinking” about how to flog another “me too” product whilst hardening the price by another dollar and squeezing their costs by another two dollars, then, as a nation, we’d be buzzing along.

But we are not buzzing along.

Despite what short term economic data may tell us, the long term bigger picture for New Zealand is glum. We are not creative. We do not innovate. We continue to have our primary industries occupy commodity markets and they refuse to have anything to do with the bigger and more compelling concept of added value. If things continue as they are, we will all work for Fonterra and the CEO will be Prime Minster.

Fonterra aside, New Zealand is becoming (has become?) a nation of regional sales & marketing offices for overseas companies. We have plenty of people here who sport the title of CEO but the majority are little more than Sales Managers running a regional sales team from a branch office.

These people do not influence the long term marketing and sales strategies of their parent organisations – they are required only to deliver on short term sales performance from a portfolio of products & services that are developed, designed and manufactured elsewhere.

Maybe that’s why, when gathered together in one place like a Koru Lounge, they all look so glum, so unexciting, so, well, dull & boring.

Oh, and I mustn’t forget the other species that inhabits Koru Lounges in large numbers – MPs, government officials and the public service. They are easy to spot – they often gather in large groups and hit the free food & booze with a voracity that has to be seen to be believed. It is not uncommon for some Lounges to be so full of this species that I have been forced to seek solace and serenity in the often much quieter public areas of the terminal.

Guess we can’t rely on that species to contribute anything to the future of business in this country.

So it’s all down to us then.

We will have to do it ourselves.

We’ll have to take much more time to THINK about our businesses, THINK about our customers, THINK about their needs and wants and THINK about how we can deploy our resources to meet those needs & wants in ways that will blow their socks off. When we start doing that (and if it catches on) we really will be heading down the right track of long term economic prosperity.  

Remember Peter Drucker : “Business has only two functions : Marketing and Innovation” – right now we are crap at both of these.

And that should worry you because commodity dairy products won’t do it forever. 

Comments

Let us know your thoughts
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