You Can’t Hide from a Marketing Problem

There has been an ongoing discussion during the past few years about the integrity of business. (Think Enron, Haliburton, etc.) I think this conversation has been somewhat overstated given that the majority of business owners in the U.S. are honest and trustworthy people trying to succeed in a very chaotic marketplace. For the past several years, the marketplace has seemed to reward businesses that have a great “presence” but not always a strong delivery system. I have always hated the phrase “they can talk the talk but can they walk the walk?” But, for many businesses, the past decade focused on the talking and not worrying so much about walking. And I think it is because marketing has, as a discipline, taken a different role in business than traditionally wielded. We have, in some corners, become more about communications, ‘Q’ scores and “buzz” and less about building and growing a … Continue reading

Seth Godin On Marketing Creativity Killers

Seth Godin writing about what kills marketing creativity, identifies two primary culprits: Fear and Lack of Imagination. As part of his piece, Mr. Godin says: “Basically, most people don’t believe something better can occur. They believe that the status quo is also the best they can do. So they don’t look. They don’t push. They don’t ask, “what else?” and “what now?” They settle.” It is so easy for a marketing organization to fall into this trap…innovation often creates discomfort throughout a company. And when marketing looses it edge the rest of an organization will follow. Recently I spoke about a study that divided Midwest manufacturers into Advanced, Progressive, Struggling and Disengaged categories based on their desire to incorporate new technology and systems into their workflow. The largest group – The Disengaged – have lost their vision for change and innovation. Even under extreme economic pressure they fall into the … Continue reading

Do Your Customers Give You the Time of Day?

Did you know there is a “National Take Back Your Time Day?” And, according to one business pundit, Time Deficit Disorder (TDD) keeps potential customers from having time to read their direct mail or try new products. Breaking through the clutter in the marketplace has always been an issue. Potential customers are inundated with new products, new services and new ideas all vying for their time and dollars. This however is the first time I have heard a marketer blame the customer for not participating. This perspective certainly explains a number of tv ads running these days. Watching television sometimes feels like I am in a room with 20 5-year olds all trying to get my attention by screaming loudest or acting silliest. Marketers you need to remember that potential customers probably aren’t responding because they don’t feel like you are talking to them. It is about meeting a need in the … Continue reading

Are You Working Your ‘That’s Stupid’ List

Best new job advice I ever received: Write down everything you are asked to do that appears to be stupid, inefficient, or unproductive. Check the list in 6 months. Are you now mindlessly repeating those stupid, inefficient and unproductive tasks with gusto? Why do such tasks live on? Momentum is built into your company’s reward system and human nature. The following three rules demonstrate what I mean. Rule 1: Do it the way it’s always been done and it will get done while causing X amount of frustration over and over again. (You get rewarded for getting it done, over and over again) Rule 2: Change the way it’s always been done and you will cause 10 times X frustration once, while reducing or eliminating the repetitive problem long term. (You get rewarded for innovating – Once.) Rule 3: People rapidly adapt to small frustrations, forgetting they are even there. If you have fallen … Continue reading

Be a Marketing Persuader Not A Marketing Tyrant

Effective marketing influences every aspect of your business, not just communication or awareness. However, this is not a command relationship — as in, “We the marketing gods declare the focus group shows we must deliver X.” Marketing tyranny ends with the communication of compelling, yet undeliverable promises that damage brand equity. To avoid tyranny (and its opposite – weeniedom), marketing must act as the gas to energize your company’s efforts to build competitive advantage. From the marketers viewpoint, this energizing creative environment is driven by three initiatives: Drive Interconnected Measurement: As corporate objectives are broken down into department and individual objectives they are reinterpreted within the confines of a given process. Usually this means that across interdependent departments it is difficult to match goal to goal, creating difficulties in communication and support. Facilitate Meaningful Dialog: Communication is no longer a push vehicle driven by traditional collateral, advertising and PR. Marketing must facilitate … Continue reading