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The Start of the Circle.

May 28, 2009

I just left this comment over at Bob Hoffman’s blog who wonders why people take marketing and ad people for idiots. I understand what he means and have suffered the ‘retarded eight year old look’ from accounts people as I talk about wacky things like creating cohesion through word of mouth and earning the respect of clients to deserve their business as they babble to me about financial snapshots and forecasts. Anyway here’s what I wrote, tell me what you think…

Finance, Operations, Production and Engineering exist to manage the existing business. They are all the people you hire when you already have a company and by default customers. It’s easy to be glib when you don’t have to figure out ways to get the business in through the door (trust me glib is what I do best).

But marketing is the start of the process. Marketing is all we have. No one buys a product because the accounts are up to date. No one even buys a product because the turnover time from production line 3 to 4 is next to nothing. No one cares.

Sure, all of this stuff is important to keep the company turning once it starts but the reason why marketing people get carried away with their own magnificence is because if the product isn’t tailored to the market no one buys the damn thing. If no one buys then it doesn’t matter how nice the books look, or how fast the boys in production are changing lines or how well engineered the components are. If no one buys, none of these bright cookies go to work in the morning.

All these jobs exist because someone somewhere has already bought the product.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 31, 2009 9:35 pm

    Depending on who you listen to, it was either Mark Twain, Jonathan Swift or Samuel Johnson who said, “‘Twas a brave man who first ate an oyster” or words to that effect. Those of us in marketing/sales/advertising are the ones who, somehow–by sheer persuasion, sex, voodoo, etc.–manage to get someone to eat that oyster for the first time. That is a feat to be sure. And an oyster sitting in a tidal pool is only going to be eaten (sans cocktail sauce and lemon) out of life-threatening hunger, on a dare, or if you’re a seagull.

    So your point is right on the mark, as far as nothing happening till demand moves product, and I imagine that even contrarian Bob would agree with you on that. It seems to me that the looming issue is that, once a consumer market has been established, that the marketing/advertising side puts itself in a position to be ridiculed: Well-paid pretenders parroting meaningless crapola that has nothing to do with selling anything. And that doesn’t do any good for any of us who try to be businesslike about creativity.

  2. Tim permalink*
    June 1, 2009 10:05 am

    Well, yeah. The crapola sellers give everyone a bad name but…

    Maybe the conversion of justification is the problem. This means marketing people must continue to market even when it’s not considered a need anymore. Even for the enlightened who can see the need to adapt the communication of a product to the target market at the beginning, this melts away faster than ice cubes on a motorway once the stock starts to move out the door.

    The people in accounts don’t have this problem. They have to keep doing the books month after month and no ne will bug them. But marketing something which sells already is difficult to justify. Worse, if you don’t continue to update the strategies and sales decline the marketing dept. will have the finger pointed at it first. If sales go down the accounts don’t give a rat’s arse because it’s not their fault and what the heck, they were already busy doing the books.

    In an aside I wonder sometimes about the first guy to try eating a pickle. I mean who the hell would be the first? Was it some type of bet?

    “Hey Horst I bet you five bucks you can’t eat this.”
    “What is it?”
    “It’s a cucumber I accidently dropped in this vat of brine.”
    “You idiot, what did you do that for?”
    “I didn’t do it one purpose. Here eat it.”
    “For five bucks? Give me ten and you’re on.”

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