Marketing’s Most Important Role?

There’s something really quite strange that happens in organisations of all sizes all over the planet all the time.

Marketing people (very intelligent ones too) get into rooms with white boards and start planning who the company should target and what they should target them with.

They will each have their own approach and model (you hope) and they will happily discuss and debate the next marketing initiative for as long as they are able until they are happy that they have it all mapped out, the next great “big idea”.

The really good ones will have invited some sales people to the discussion too (although this is rare as sales people tend to think this sort of thing is for the “coloring in department” and marketing people think that the sales folk won’t get it).

Either way, in matter of a few meetings out comes the latest initiative and quite probably a brand new value proposition and set of sales and marketing messages.

All good then..?

Well maybe, but what if I told you that 9 times out of 10 this was all just one big fat self-deluding guess. 

It feels great to tick the boxes, produce the messages and get the programme out. Everyone gets a pat on the back and sits back and waits for the orders to roll in.

Sometimes they do.

Most of the time they don’t or (what’s probably worse) what comes in is not what you expected at all, in fact every order is different and needs a different set of services, skills and products to serve it and likely they will deliver cash at different rates and profit that’s all over the place too.

In most instances it just doesn’t really deliver what you expect it to. I know personally of global corporations who spend vast sums on programs that net no business at all – I bet you do too.

So what’s the problem?

Well there’s a little more to it than meets the eye…but…guess who wasn’t invited to the planning meetings or workshops. Guess who’s input and views and experience you didn’t take into consideration.

Strangely the last person organisations are happy to talk to when it comes to building new programs or propositions, is the customer.

It’s bizarre. It’s actually as if the marketing team are afraid to ask to meet with and speak to the customers or even perhaps that it didn’t dawn on them to ask at all.

I met with a very senior executive from a global corporation last month who told me that often his team would come to him and say “what do you think about this value proposition?”. And his answer was “why do you care what I think?”…”One thing I can guarantee you is that I am never going to buy it”. “Have you asked any customers?”. …..

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