What Path Is Your Marketing Department On – Tyrant, Weenie or Persuader?

Charged with defining and communicating unique product attributes and critical elements of competitive advantage, marketing departments often fork in two directions – Marketing Tyrant or Marketing Weenie. Why do those on the marketing bus turn one way or the other? They are usually driven by the frustration of being responsible for communicating advantage, but not having control over the existence of that advantage. The Marketing Tyrant – “Make the focus group happy or off with your head!” Never a pretty picture, the marketing tyrant behaves as if complete control is theirs (whether in the organizational chart or not). This can lead to the communication of compelling, yet undeliverable, promises that damage brand credibility. It can also drive development that follow, rather than lead, customer behavior. (If your customer has all the answers they probably don’t need you!) The Marketing Weennie – “Our product is a commodityeeee, we’re not doing anything uniiiiiique. Do something … Continue reading

Sales Vs. Marketing – The Struggle For Productivity

60% of sales professionals felt that input from marketing DID NOT improve the effectiveness of their sales cycle in a poll this year by Sales and Marketing Management. At the same time, 35% of marketing professionals felt that their sales organization DID NOT effectively use the tools they implemented for their use. Mutually supportive groups who point fingers at each other often have process measurements that are not relating well. Marketing can be measured by output of items and meeting dates, whereas sales is evaluated continually along the sales process continuum. Try placing each marketing tool available on the process map used to evaluate sales. Usually there are items that don’t fit well anymore and holes that need filling. Done well, enough poorly fitting tools can be identified to free up the resources necessary to provide focus on new ways to support the sales process. In a creative organization where marketing strategy is in … Continue reading

Foreign Exports Drive Sales or Indicate Attitude?

At today’s Economic Development Council Richard Paullin, Chief Operating Officer – Illinois Global Partnership, told us that only 12% of Illinois Manufacturers export goods. Not surprising given my earlier post on how few manufacturers in the region are working to adopt technology more fully in their business. The stat that caught me, however, was that the firms that were selling internationally on average were growing 20% faster and paid employees 15% better. The good news is that Illinois Global Partnership is working on developing infrastructure to help smaller and mid-size businesses develop overseas markets. The question is, if only 10% of manufacturers have the management savvy enough to actively pursue technological improvement, how many businesses will jump at the opportunity to strategically diversify their business internationally? Where does your company sit? Are you actively pursuing foreign markets? Have you tried and given up due to cost, complexity or financing? Is … Continue reading

What’s Your Company’s Clue Quotient

Advanced, Progressive, Struggling and Disengaged were categories given out to manufacturers at a recent Chicago Economic Development Council meeting. Two things stand out about these categories: First, if you are in any category other than Advanced you are at severe risk of having the world markets pass you by. Second, 75% of manufacturers in the greater Midwest fall into the bottom two categories. I found the definitions of each category to be enlightening and relevant to any organization, not just manufacturers. Advanced – Organizational recognition of change and active pursuit of technology. (Have a clue)     Progressive – Ownership recognition of change but low implementation. (Getting a clue) Struggling – Ownership debating the need for change. (A clue is in the area) Disengaged – Ownership not actively involved or sees no reason to change or implement technology. (Clueless)   There are few reasons why an organization can’t move itself up in these categories, positioning itself for … Continue reading