Posts Tagged ‘economy’

When the economy tanked a new synergy was born in the office. Controllers and accountants smiled as marketing cut down and integrated with other business office processes.

First, let me be clear: Marketing has to prove its worth in a business environment. Whatever metrics a business uses to qualify success has to be embraced by marketing as well. A direct correlation has to be made between a program or strategy and what impact it makes on the balance sheet.

But, the methods employed to get to the impact can’t be boxed in. Offices are great for regimented tasks, which are the backbones of businesses, however, marketing is not a regimented task. Ideas may strike at any time and an environment that encourages them should be striven for. Considering there are always deadlines, the constant flow of ideas should be of paramount importance. Professionals know how to cultivate the space in their head and still touch base with their immediate superior.

Just because the CMO is attending more meetings involving financing and IT infrastructure doesn’t mean that everyone in marketing should be handcuffed to a desk and fluorescent lighting. That’s what labor hierarchies are for. The CMO is depending on the marketing manager who is in turn depending on project managers. While these people are creative, they have to look at bigger pictures and provide direction. Any of these will provide valuable insight at a spitball meeting to hash out details. At some point it will fall to someone to actually make something though and that person needs the freedom to bring their A game.

It’s possible to have it both ways in marketing. Creative and business accountability, (Which can actually bring about more freedom if used correctly in proving wins for the department) it just may mean management does a little extra juggling.

To give you an idea of what the most creative people sometimes go through to produce works that have been proclaimed genius, take a look at this:

Gapminder screen capture

Gapminder Chart chock full of goodies

Gapminder is a site with tons of potential info for Marketers following international trends. This would enable one to also make educated guesses as to the future. Check out everything on the site and be sure to click on the ‘how to use’ button on the graph to get the most out of it. Happy hunting.

Those companies and business concerns that are surviving our economic implosion are doing so because they are forced to work leaner. Some are even having their business practices scrutinized by the government. (Hey, if you take the money, there’s go to be some price to pay.)

The ones that are really making an impression are not the ones that panicked and offshored as many efforts as possible while cutting back on crucial services. Those are the ones that are getting by on life support. The ones working smarter are the new vanguards of business. They didn’t cut services like marketing. Instead they honed their strategies by incorporating marketing into all other departments. Marketing gets to sit at the table with everyone else, sharing ideas and bringing new thinking to bear on problems. (Yes, it’s a two-way street. Marketing needs the other departments to bear on their efforts and should have integrated with them a long time ago.)

Marketing agencies have had to step up as well with clients making demanding more for their money. Again, this is an opportunity to smarten up the business approach. Panic benefits nobody. Well, except the ones keeping their heads.

So, all those CEOs cutting things right and left with little thought to consequences down the road; (Have to make their nut for the quarter, keep the shareholders happy. Seven year plan? Five year projection? What’s that?) Keep it up. You have competitors watching your frantic actions. Not all of them are concerned with padding their golden parachutes either. (That’s the kind of thinking that got everyone into this mess anyway.) You’ll see someone step up with a Business and Marketing Plan that will make all of your problems (and profits) go away.

Most of us are in full blown DefCon 4 mode right now in regards to employment or our roles within an organization. Heads of companies are trying to stem the economic flow of blood. This leads to a panicked cutting of personnel and services across the board instead of a thoughtful analysis of how to reduce expenses.

Many marketing departments feel these cuts more severely than other departments because they still haven’t found a way to effectively show ROI. Still, even with that against them, it would be a grave mistake to cut marketing across the board or more severely than other departments.

Marketing is the voice of the customer, your outreach to customers both existing and potential, your public image and your defense against attacks from the press or the public. When you cut these services you are leaving an opening for your competition to acquire your customer base. (Let’s face it: existing customers are still spending money, yet by cutting marketing you devalue that money. Right now they’re looking for more value.)

Marketing can certainly be shaped up and put into fighting weight as all departments should be right now. Analyzing your marketing channels, advertising ROI and┬ámaximizing customer contact and response for retentions purposes should all be priorities now. Obtaining new customers is not an emphasis as everyone has developed the bunker mentality. Note that I said ‘not an emphasis’, not something to be totally eliminated. Be prepared to take advantage of opportunities that arise. (And they will.)

Make a case for marketing during downsizing efforts or those efforts will continue until there’s nothing left to downsize.