ANYONE HIGH ENOUGH on the food chain making $80,000 or more knows a majority of marketing initiatives are like Marxism – theoretically attractive yet ineffective – usually due to human error.

If you oversee P & L or run a profit center, you know that web search engine rankings, social media followings and sales forecasting metrics are great . . . but qualified, interested lead acquisition / demand is what you pay your on and offline and event / trade show marketing people for.

Many organizations up to $100 million in revenues have a common disposition: they invest CRM systems, database marketing, online content, web seminars and other new business-centric “business weapons.”

Increased operating expense with inconclusive profitability is a common scenario.

Employees have to project manage and forecast a quantifiable ROI projection – i.e.

  • trial subscriptions

  • ringing phones

  • demo requests

  • purchase orders

  • qualified leads / demand

And the analytics, search rankings and list of strategic partners do not count on next quarter’s income statement.

Focusing on tools and technology is easier than project management and mission critical problem solving. Marketing directors and CEOs can thus dump responsibility on software or third-parties.

During Korea, the Navy kill ratio was 12-to-1. We shot down 12 of their jets for every one of ours. During Vietnam, that ratio fell to three-to-one. Our pilots become dependent on missiles. Top Gun was designed to teach air combat maneuvering. Dog fighting.” – Lt. Commander Rick Heatherly, Top Gun, Paramount Pictures, 1986.

Business owners and sales directors will inevitably return to fundamentals. As in identifying new profit centers, product positioning and generating qualified, interested demand at the lowest acquisition cost available. Whether that means online, off or a combination.

With a pencil, notebook and telephone conference call.

Follow-through will supersede dependence on information gathering, state-of-the-art ERP software and hardware tools.

Sam Palmisano was written up in the New York Times in 2012 when he announced his retirement as CEO of a little company called IBM.

He said big blue’s stock has been strong and revenues always stable because its leaders wanted four questions answered:

1) Why would someone spend their money with you — so what is unique about you?

2) Why would somebody work for you?

3) Why would society allow you to operate in their defined geography — their country?

4) And why would somebody invest their money with you?

The rest is merely conversation.” – Gordon Gekko, Wall Street, 20th Century Fox, 1987.