The Objective of the following is to empower business leaders to achieve breakthrough, profitable sales growth. Here goes…
Understand What Marketing Is
The first thing a CEO MUST do is recognize the definition of the word “Marketing.” Believing that Marketing is simply the “1 ‘P’,” Marketing Communications, or “P=Promotions”; maintaining a perception that Marketing is simply advertising, promotion, publicity and tricks; fluff and “smoke and mirrors”; or “sales support,” just locks CEOs into a world of pain.
A CEO MUST understand that Marketing is actually the complete function of “managing exchange,” combining disciplines that include:
- Quantitative methods
- Market analysis
- Consumer and buyer behavior
- Motivation leaning & either psychological skills
- Pricing optimization and strategic management
- Distribution and supply chain control & Management
- Sales Process
- Segmentation, Targeting, & Positioning, AND
- Internal Politics
Understand the Hierarchies of Marketing
It is sheer suicide to allow a person who has been in one industry, working there way “up” over the years, to rise to a Marketing Leadership role, without having secured tertiary or specialized STRATEGIC management education.
Why this has happened in Marketing is abhorrent. Can you imagine promoting a nurse to brain surgeon, because he or she worked in a hospital for 25 years?
Imagine promoting a receptionist to Senior Tax Counsel because he or she worked for a tax account for 20 years.
Imagine promoting the stewardess of a Qantas jet to head pilot, because she’s been flying for 30 years.
Is it any MORE stupid to hand over strategic decisions for a business to someone whose expertise has been buying print, organizing photos, copy editing brochures, or drafting advertising schedules? Sheer madness!!!
A “market” is nothing more than a corral of heterogeneous segments.
As soon as I hear naïve commentary that starts off with “people want” or “everyone wants,” I shudder!
As soon as you start treating your customers as cookie-cutter copies of each other, you have definitely, absolutely undermined your sales and profit opportunities.
As soon as you confuse your corporate identity from your branding, you are sunk!
McDonald’s has limited itself by lacking strategic competence at this level. So has Telstra – big time! Woolworth’s (operational giants, strategic dwarfs) have no idea what they are missing. Even Apple, debatably excellent marketers, are cruising for a bruising… watch THEM decline if they don’t ‘get it’ soon!
Mars owns the global canned pet food market because it recognizes and rends to the existence of segments – you don’t maintain 85% market share for 30 years without a GOOD reason! But even the mighty can fall.
The Hurdle for Business
The issue is REAL Marketing has been defamed into an ancient art form by the self-interested opportunists of the operational strain. People without qualifications, who lack understanding and knowledge, always push people away who threaten their power.
Snake-oil sales people, with their fast tongues and greedy motives, will put down common sense to play on emotion and fear, comedy and doubt, to feather their own nests at ANY cost.
The solution lays within the grasp of any open-minded CEO, COO, or CMO
Leaders of organizations MUST be operational. They must know their businesses.
The opportunity cost is they can’t have the strategic competence of those with different skill sets.
One of the best CMOs I have met in years recently told me he enters a meeting hoping he’ll be the least expert of all participants and that he’ll learn the most. But many business leaders perceive they know it all or should appear to know it all, with outcomes synonymous with the fable of the Emperor’s New Clothes.
There are a significant number of strategically skilled consultants and experts across the globe who do understand strategic marketing in its complete sense, and who can contribute to decision-making strategically.
GREAT CEOs recognize their own weaknesses as well as their strengths. Greater ones act decisively and do something about it.
Want some more insight? Download my free e-book, THE FOUR FACES OF MARKETING, here: The Four Faces of Marketing ebook