When engineering, sales and finance turn their back on marketing…… trouble begins
Reading the headline above, there’s good justification for continuing to do something that works. If it doesn’t then change it.
Early in this article I touched on what I believed to be a single issue, or block if you like, that’s responsible for much of the trouble I’ve described and its what is desperately needed. New leadership philosophy. Because right now we’re still focused on what we’ve always done. In the UK leadership tends to fall into the following categories
A focus on an “activities view” of business growth
The early part of my career was spent in sales in various tech markets (data, electronics, IT and plastics) for both British, Japanese and US technology firms. Many of the hi-tech’s in the UK are either satellites for other regions or run by people that came out of sales environments which were all about activity. Sales thinks its important because it has the relationship with the customer in a direct face to face channel. What it doesn’t realise though is that this closeness is also a limitation as you can only deal with so many people in this manner and because personal relationships can blind you to the truth.
Mostly male dominated, their experience of marketing is not unlike my own in that it never really delivered what we wanted and that was leads, help with sales and stronger customer loyalty. It seemed that sales had to do everything from getting the lead to fixing customer relations, so what was the point in all this marketing. That’s because a lot of conventional marketing in the UK focused on the wrong things, which is a story for another time. Its seen as fluffy or confusing and at worst the “office help” for things like exhibitions or that old presentation that needed “tarting” up for the sales team.
Marketing felt obliged, even bullied, into performing this service role to sales and the board. They were ill equipped with (or stopped from applying) accountable and results orientated strategies that would give sales teams what they really wanted and would help the board deliver its objectives.
The exact cause of how things came to be like this I’m not entirely sure, but the result was a lack of respect for either side and a continued failing to put in place real strategy which would make for a stronger business that could be controlled far better. Instead we’ve been left with more muscles than brains and the real power of marketing has been ignored.
Maybe it just didn’t matter when all that there was, was just another software revision or product model that seemed not to dissimilar from the last and didn’t really give audiences something new, unusual or different to show any interest.
Could it be because things took so long to get into print or never made it through the main stream media channels because they were far too niche orientated or “boring” for mass audiences and so it would have just been a waste of time and effort.
Or was it, that all there was were trade journals and industry shows and award ceremonies where the same old faces showed up year after year, with the same old stories.
In modern marketing terms this kind of attitude would be considered suicide. There is so much more opportunity to directly connect with people who really need your help and are preapred to listen if you communicate well. Combine this with measurability and developing skill sets like Inbound Marketing, a hybrid blend of proven results orientated strategies, there should be no reason for things to say as they were. It can only be a leadership issue.