Marketing Crime Series: Is Your Marketing not Converting? – Crime #1: Structure

Sherlock Holmes

Being Sherlock Holmes on marketing crime scenes

In one of my last posts I promised to share with you some of my experiences as a Marketing Consultant. So here we go. Welcome to crime #1 from a series of four of typical crimes that companies committed and still commit. As a result, these crimes prevented marketing departments from performing to expectations, let alone achieving any conversion rates.

Back in the UK, I was hired as a Marketing Consultant by a British mid-sized IT company that had huge problems. The biggest problem, next to employee engagement and continuity, was identity and sluggish sales. Curious though, the market was ready and the company offering was very innovative and competitive. However, no matter what their sales people did, how hard they tried, they only had little success.

People were coming and going

It took me many conversations with different employees and observations, until I found out why. They simply had entirely different views on what their company was all about and what they sold. Many of them were fairly new to the company, since others had been laid off. People were coming and going. “Very strange”, I thought, and felt like Sherlock Holmes just without my Doctor Watson. I had to question the management for further investigations. Very quickly, I realized they had the same disagreements about their business.

I found the dead body

Okay, they needed someone to give them a sharp, competitive profile. So I did, based on all the interviews I had done. I also developed a marketing strategy and drew up a plan on how to deliver it. After a couple of weeks, I realized, nothing happened. Not even a single decision. After more investigations, I worked out that – even though they hired me to help them – marketing had no stake in this company. No one believed in it. I don’t think all my predecessors did such a bad job. I started investigating again. And then, I found the dead body that stirred up all the problems. The lack in feedback and decisions for all marketing aspects had just one crime scene: The management board. On this board you could find all functions represented. Apart from anyone from marketing. The guy responsible for sales was also a COO and had an IT background. He believed in trainings called “The Samurai” and in number or word plays as the key to sales success. But marketing was as foreign for him, as IT was for me. Hence, no one on the board really presented the marketing point of view. No voice, no decisions, no solutions.

Once the crime scene was secured and studied, the lack in structure could be sorted quickly with a matching job profile for the management board.

Companies aren’t successful if there is a gap

Well, it is a fact: leading brand focused companies are marketing-centered. Their marketeers are close to top management and help them shaping their business strategy, develop brand strategies and enable the company to follow their vision. Some of these companies have even introduced the long time missing CMO position among their chiefs in recent years. They had realized, too, companies aren’t successful, if there is a gap between the management board and the marketing department. However, they must be analytical and strategic thinking. If they have good business acumen and are entrepreneurial driven, with a solid understanding of the market, the clients and the competitors, these marketeers are valuable consultants at the top. And you? Would you agree to that?


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