The Marketing Bureau


Specialist Marketing & Communications Resourecs

18

Aug

A Marketers Whinge



by Brian H Meredith

Banks have large, costly marketing departments. They develop campaigns that make impressive promises to customers and potential customers that they too often fail to deliver.

Insurance companies have large, costly marketing departments. They develop campaigns that make impressive promises to customers and potential customers that they too often fail to deliver.

So many businesses have large, costly marketing departments. They develop campaigns that make impressive promises to customers and potential customers that they too often fail to deliver.

Why?

I really do wish I (or somebody) knew. But we don’t. Despite three decades in the profession, this core issue has never changed, in my experience.

Certainly one of the issues would appear to be a failure (or bad choice) on the part of Boards & CEOs to concentrate exclusively on meeting the needs of their shareholders. The rest of the business is too often left to its own devices to go and sell stuff.

This doesn’t work.

There is only one place the money comes from and that is customers. And it is proven, with significant and credible data, that where a business is focussed on its customers, it not only meets the needs of its shareholders, it also outperforms other businesses in its sector on more than 20 key dimensions.

But very few businesses get this.

At the time this data was first produced, for example, which was a couple of decades ago, only 3% of New Zealand businesses met the criteria of being “market oriented”. And today, I am going to speculate that the number is not much better.

A business is a marketing organism – everything that it thinks, says & does will have an effect on its performance. Positive or negative. Never neutral.

And yet the overwhelming majority of businesses still see marketing as being about campaigns, about being that place where the ads are done. Marketing is, through the behaviours of businesses, often nothing more than seeking to arrest the human intelligence just long enough to extract money from it. In reality, that’s not marketing. It’s mugging.

A number of other factors contribute to this much bigger issue.

There are very few marketers on the top table. Accountants dominate Boards and CEOs. Lawyers & Engineers come next. Can’t explain that.

The number of businesses who do not have appropriate, actionable and measurable Business and/or Marketing Plans is significant. So they end up being like an aircraft that takes off with no Navigational Plan. And we all know the outcomes of that.

Too many marketers themselves seem to struggle to understand the concept of marketing. This is due to a number of reasons, including a lack of marketing education, significant pressure from their employers to just meet the numbers and a global environment where the “what” of marketing is now overwhelmed by the “how”. But how can we work on the “how” if we haven’t nailed the “what”?

Internal structures, cultures & behaviours are also a factor. Too many businesses comprise silos, with each of those silos having a Manager or Supervisor who has his or her own opinions, ideas and goals and rarely, if ever, works in an integrated manner with the rest of the organisation to ensure common goals, complimentary strategies and tactics that work across the organisation.

This is apparent when a customer calls a business with a problem or a question and is told “sorry, I can’t help you with that. You’ll need to call our .........(whatever or whoever)”

Every single person in an organisation, irrespective of their seniority of their role, is, in effect, an MMD – a Mini Marketing Director. Their potential through their attitudes and their behaviours to have a marketing “effect” is real and constant.

Where a Marketing Team have worked hard to develop and implement a strategy with a Proposition that is well targeted, carefully articulated and successfully delivered and a customer opens the door to the Delivery Man who connects with the customer like a square peg and a round hole (doesn’t speak English, scruffy presentation, only interested in getting back in his van as quickly as possible) – disaster. If, by contrast, the Delivery Man is a reflection of the Brand (presentation, attitude, behaviour) the effect is enormously positive and business is likely to be done again.

If a business is truly market oriented, has an actionable & measurable Plan, has a well structured organisation where the people are recognised as being vital and are led (not managed) and treated as such and the business works hard, on every level, to know and understand who their customers are, what they want/ need and how best to deliver it to them – then you will succeed. And nothing less will do.

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