Original insights in international business and marketing
Marketing: Heal thy self! With marketing evolving faster than ever before, it probably makes good sense for companies to do an occasional health checkup. Here are a few signs to look for which could be symptoms of deeper problems:
1. Regular parade of new leadership. Has your senior marketing management seen a lot of turnover lately? More than 2 department heads in the past 5 years? A lot of marketing veterans leaving the team? All of these could be a sign of a marketing identity, organization or strategy crisis. Too much turnover of key positions can happen anywhere but it is a worrying sign.
2. Yoyo budgets. Have your budgets been through more than one round of cuts in the past 12 months? Any hiring or spending freezes in the last 4 quarters? Budget fits and starts are anathema to developing a coherent and resilient communication strategy. Yoyo budgets simply promote short term, tactical thinking.
3. Wrong profiles in positions. When was the last time you conducted a skills audit for your marketing organization? How do you know you have the right people in the positions and that they have the right competencies to be successful? Chances are that a reliance on internal hiring over the years has resulted in overweighting certain profiles at the expense of others. Too many engineers? Too many clinician? Too many many sales people? Conducting an internal audit and competency evaluation could allow you to re-balance or broaden the the marketing talent pool.
4. Stuck in F & B mode. Are your marketing messages and collateral materials wordy, technical, even boring? Do they focus heavily on the product, talking of of features and benefits ad nauseum? Is your training heavily product focused? If so, your marketing may be in need of a major reset. The days of straight F&B marketing are over. Customers are looking for business partners who understand their needs and provide value-added solutions. The days of selling boxes are over.
5. Old school outbound marketing approach. Does your marketing still heavily rely on printed brochures, print ads, direct mail campaigns or other tools associated with Outbound Marketing? Are you still doing the same things you did 5 years ago or doing them because they have become expected? What percentage of your marketing spending and activities are going towards new, never tried before projects? To be world class and innovative, marketing has to take risks and experiment.
6. Lack of perceived value within the organization. What opinion do other senior leaders in the organization have of Marketing? How does your marketing group measure its efforts and demonstrate ROI? How satisfied are field sales with the marketing support and leads they are generating? Depending on the answers you get, it may be time to revisit your strategies and find ways to better demonstrate your value through programs that have a measurable impact on the bottom line.
7. Lack of creativity and exposure to new ideas. Has your organization embraced social media or new digital/electronic technologies? Do you have a new media or content strategy in place? If you rely too much on classical marketing, you could be falling behind your competition and wasting money.
8. Over-dependence on trade shows. Are trade shows and congresses your primary vehicle for generating leads? Have you been able to demonstrate a positive return on investment for these? In an era when sponsorship & travel costs are rising and when show attendance is declining, it may be time to reconsider the number of shows attended or whether they are absolutely necessary.
9. Too much time spent on internal “stuff.” Are your marketers spending too much time in the office and not enough in the field with customers? Are they spending more than 50% of their time working on internal issues and meetings? Spending too much time fighting internal windmills and chasing down people for approvals and review could be a sign that your organization has gotten too complex and inwardly focused.
10. Too little turnover. Is your annual marketing turnover below 5%? Is your department full of people who have been in the same role for 5-7 years or more? They say familiarity breeds complacency… Turnover is not always a bad thing as it brings in fresh faces with new ideas and it can expand the skills & talent pools of your department. It used to be that people stayed with the same company for an entire career. Nowadays, staying too long in one department or with the same company is almost seen as a negative.
Any one of these “symptoms” does not in and of itself constitute an serious problem but if several have resonated then perhaps a little visit to the “marketing doctor” is in order.
photo credit: The Doctr at photopin