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Beware the IDE's of Marketing!

Caesar

Nearly 2100 years ago on March 15, only a year after he had been appointed a perpetual dictator, Caesar was murdered by assassins whom he knew very well. He had been warned many times of their intent, which is why the saying, Beware the Ides of March, went down in history. The ides fell on either the 13th or 15th of the month in the ancient Roman calendar.

Why did the master of the Roman world--having been clearly warned about impending danger--elect not to worry? He was a military genius, an incomparable strategist! But the very man who proclaimed, "I came, I saw, I conquered"--got conquered.

Must the mighty always fall? Are there any warnings you have received about the health of your business-- and ignored? Beware the IDE's of marketing!

I is for Ignoring Information

Didn't Caesar believe there was a conspiracy against him? Did his emotional ties to those such as Brutus prevent him from mistrust? Whatever the case, if he had listened to those who warned him, he might have died of old age. Likewise, to avoid being murdered by the competition, an executive needs to carefully consider all information pertinent to the well being of the firm. Here, we can learn from the Japanese. Every major industrial group in Japan now has its own research institute whose main function is not technical research but research into knowledge, that is, to bring to the firm awareness of any important new knowledge, not just in marketing, but in technology, management--whatever--developed anywhere in the world. These think tanks have emerged from the Japanese insight that leadership throughout the developed world no longer rests on financial control but on who knows the most.

Could your organization have a think tank? Why not? People who are responsible for specific information gathering could come together once a month to share their discoveries. In the information age, what you don't know CAN hurt you.

D is for Deathwish Marketing

Deathwish Marketing is a term coined by agency professionals Kevin Clancy and Robert Shulman in their book, The Marketing Revolution. They define the malady as marketing efforts which emerge from errors such as
    • Basing key marketing decisions on judgment alone... "This is the way we made the decision last year."
    • Watching the competition for guidance. (They could be wrong.)
    • Demanding short-term results... Fast reactions are sometimes necessary, but following a process is what increases the odds of success.
    • Creating marketing programs that build consensus within the firm... but don't address real customer needs with real solutions.
    • Seriously considering far too few viable target markets, positionings, creative options, pricing levels, etc.... Tunnel vision based on untested or limited assumptions.
Consider your options! You could get your wish.

E is for Egocentric Efforts

Caesar enjoyed wearing a laurel wreath. Whether he was resting on his laurels we cannot say, because he wore the woven leaves not just to show he was a hero but to conceal his baldness. In either case, it made him a sitting duck. The moral? Be conspicuous for customer service. Stand out for helping your clients win laurels, not for your own feats.

Now you know the IDE's of marketing. Avoid them-- You have been warned!

Consensus Isn't All It's Cracked Up To Be

meeting

A lot is written today on team building, shared vision and other such warm, fuzzy management goals. Yet the executive who excels at encouraging disagreement will make better decisions than the one who focuses on building consensus. Management expert Peter Drucker gives three main reasons for "organizing" disagreement among staff members.

First, it safeguards the executive from becoming a prisoner of the organization. "The only way to break out of the prison of special pleading and preconceived notions," says Drucker, "is to make sure of argued, documented, thought-through disagreements."

It provides alternatives to a decision. "If one has thought through alternatives during the decision-making process, one has something to fall back on."

It stimulates the imagination. Imagination must be challenged or it remains latent and unused. Disagreement is the most effective stimulus we know. "Unless we turn the tap, imagination will not flow. The tap is argued, disciplined disagreement." (Note- disciplined, not rude.)

These ideas are especially pertinent to marketing management. Be sure to organize disagreement among your staff at your next marketing meeting. Considering all the options is the safest way to arrive at a course of action that will succeed.

Quotes are from The Effective Executive by Peter F. Drucker. Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. 1967.

Top Marketing Concept #1

guy with mobile phone

"You can catch more flies with honey than you can swat with a sharp stick."

In this analogy, the flies are your customers--very hard to catch-- and the product or service you offer is the honey. The question is: Are your offerings wonderfully irresistible? How can you make them so?

Quality is important, but in the current marketplace it is more important to know precisely what matters most to your customer. A "total quality" product may not be affordable; your customers may be happy with a lot less. Of course, customer service is a key, but that is no different than what your competitors are offering. What makes products and services truly irresistible is a unique differentiation-- something that the customer can't get anywhere else. For example, there is a self-serve gas station where the manager will pump your gas for you at the self-serve price. Now that's honey.

The sharp stick of Top Marketing Concept #1 is direct mail or email facilitated by database marketing. People will invest a lot in this form of advertising because they believe that sending a message by mail or email into homes or businesses insures that it will be noticed and read. Not so. You see, even with a pointed stick you can still miss your target. You need a swatter, a broader instrument. Some experts call that "integrated direct marketing" and they define such an effort as comprising print advertising in appropriate trade or niche publications, an 800 number, some telemarketing or personal selling efforts, perhaps some billboards or www banners, plus direct mail.

We recommend complementing your direct mail/email with other media. This builds your image and reinforces your message, and it is the interplay among various media that increases your direct mail/email response to way over the 2% which is the industry average for mailings that are not supported by any other media or efforts.

But first, start with the honey. Because you can point and swat all you want, but without honey, you may never catch the busy things.

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