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Do Airlines Qantas & Virgin DESERVE any Help?

The ONLY people that Qantas & Virgin SHOULD be sacking are the incumbent Board of Directors!

The lack of strategic competence demonstrated by the Board and executive management of Qantas and Virgin is NOT new.

American Rail ignored change in the demand for transport when cars went into mass production: Instead of adapting, they threw their hands up and said “bail us out!”, too. The buggy whip industry shook its head in dismay and began sacking staff and winding down.

Closer to home, Australian car manufacturing industry kept making cars people didn’t want (did anyone ever own a P76?) in the face of diminishing sales it universally closed up shop when a glaringly attractive industry in electric car manufacturing was staring them in the face! HAD they possessed the least amount of strategic foresight and competetence they CPULD have been producing electric cars at the very kernel begibning of Tesla’s reighn.

Sadly teh promisnanc eof oeprtaional corporat ecancer, and teh absence of strategic talent, in all eth examples above, dominated.

Featured

The Biggest Mistake in Business for the Last 100 years?

The 21st Century’s Most Costly Business Mistake?

Probably the most expensive mistake of the 21st century is perceiving marketing as meaning advertising and promotion.

How the business-world came to close itself off from the science of marketing strategy, the vast and rich knowledge base that makes profitable businesses spark and explode, is a matter of debate…

What has created a world that doesn’t understand the meaning of the word, Marketing?

Is it tertiary marketing education devoid of real world worth, now that academics have significantly displaced practitioners in teaching?

Is it because the efficiency of the medium that is the internet is so profound that the aggressive snake-oil hawking of digital promoters, describing themselves as marketers, without understanding anything beyond rudimentary marketing communications tactics?

Is it because the leaders of sophisticated marketing organisations are hording the knowledge because it represents such potent and potentially sustainable competitive advantage for them if they keep it to themselves?

Is it because the marketing professional has fought off mandatory accreditation and control… so that anyone can say they are a marketer without challenge?

Or could it be that middle management and senior executives who have lobbied so hard to rise above their peers in corporate organisations, shout down anyone with knowledge that might interfere with their planned career progression?

Is this due to the fact that over 50% of business executives working in marketing lack ANY tertiary qualifications in the discipline?

Where Did Marketing Go Off the Tracks?

Perhaps, in the ‘80s, if the marketing professional has screamed “wrong” when the term, “direct marketing” was incorrectly coined to describe direct response advertising, the nonsensical term, “content marketing” may not have be adopted and a more accurate phrase to describe “online publicity promotion” might have formed? The same goes for “search engine marketing” which really is “prioritization of search engine ranking”. (At least somebody tried when they coined the phrase “Search Engine Optimization”.)

Poor lay people are left in a soup of confusion daily when terms sprout such as “Influencer Marketing” which is simply utilization of group opinion leaders to disperse information utilization  in context with the multi-stage mass communication model.

Whatever the causes, the cost is incalculable!

How much damage is done when people are unaware that they must balance the 8P’s of marketing scientifically if they are to protect their companies from sub-optimal profits?

How destructive is it when quality executives are appointed to roles they THINK they can handle when they are simply ill-equipped with inadequate training and knowledge to make strategic marketing decisions?

How profound are the losses as the commercial world graciously accepts the dominoes that are retail chains collapsing world-wide, without even questioning that these occurrences might be a clue that the leadership models in business are faulty?

How corrosive is it when employees simply leave their jobs in frustration because their corporate guidelines are soiled by silos, blurred by secret agenda, eroded by office politics, undermined by poor morale?

How much worse does this make frustrated middle management as they vent on their own staff because they are fighting a losing battle with the same demons they are creating because of complacent leadership and corporate governance?

Even though Gartner, Inc,  have made $4B a year reminding us that employee engagement has been consistently around 25% of all employees since they began surveying it in 2002, where is evidence of quality internal marketing?

History will tell a sorry tale.

How they will giggle in decades to come when the historians recall the anecdotes of 21st century  business people ignoring the lessons of history only to repeat the mistakes.

Students of Marketing in the future may shake their heads in disbelief when they discover that the body of real knowledge was not in universities, but secreted away in the coffers of just a few large companies and consultancies, remaining virtually known except to only to a few outsiders.

Incidentally, on the topic of academia worth and value to the business world…

Is Academia Failing Society BIG-TIME?

For years I’ve have complained that the focus of Universities on “publish or perish” instead of “teach well and share knowledge” is a big mistake.

So, I couldn’t help capturing this post when I found it on the web recently…

Who cares about your PhD thesis?

Colin Riegels, Doctoral candidate: Law, University of Oxford

There is an old joke about this: only five people will ever read your doctoral thesis.

  •     You
  •     Your supervisor
  •     Your two examiners
  •     Your unlucky spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend who has to act as unpaid proof-reader for you

In 99.9% of cases, nobody else will ever read it or care what it says.

When I arrived at Oxford I went to the archives and checked out a number of completed doctoral theses in my field so I could read them and get a flavour of what they are meant to be like. In every single case except for one, I was the first person ever to check them out. And, in each case, they weren’t randos – I picked those ones because they were names that I recognised as people who went on to enjoy success in the field.

By the time I read this post, it had 203,900 views and been liked or shared over 6,100 times! Academia KNOWS its failings yet academia are ignoring (laughing at!) what most certainly will be its downfall!

I imagine historians of the future will share my disdain of unoriginal, regurgitated marketing theory being submitted as justification for their existence by the incumbent  pure academics in power now, representing a fake body of knowledge,  thrown up as a smoke screen to disguise it profound absence of advancement; too crammed with irrelevant and unusable findings  that the “publish or perish” mandate has forced them to create.

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Why You Cannot Afford Silos between Sales & Marketing

fighting

What Factors Make Sales People Successful?

I recently shared a Linked In comment, and in my keynote presentations and workshops discuss, a large & intense formal commercial study of selling skills, that showed only two significantly important factors determine a sales person’s success…

  1. How hard salespeople work (calls, preparation, & face-to-face time in front of a prospect or customer, no ‘brass-plating’, procrastination, or poor time-management), and…
  2. The distribution of speaking time between seller & buyer (the greater the percentage of time the buyer spends speaking, the greater the salesperson’s sales success, relative to team peers’ success).

As a throw-away I mentioned that increased average productivity across the whole team of salespeople occurs if they have access to, and understand, properly identified market segments but I probably DDN’T emphasize the point enough that If a company really understands its market segments and responds accordingly, then all the salesperson really has to do is take orders… the selling is already done before the sales meeting.

What Factors Interfere with Sales People being Successful?

Multi-national corporations, in the main, already know a about the world-wide crisis in employee engagement: With only 24% of Australian workers engaged, and with 202% productivity gains to be had from the 76% unengaged, employee engagement & organisational alignment has become TOP priority, particularly in the wake of Millennials displaying even greater need for engagement, than generations past.

An issue that doesn’t receive enough attention is that 18% of any workforce is made up of “disengaged” employees – ones that deliberately want to “sink the ship”. and THAT is seriously lose sales and detrimental to future opportunity!

If silos are known to exist, any decent leader should be tearing them down, YESTERDAY!

But how often do we hear about disconnects between Sales & Marketing teams?

I’m betting silos between research and other departments even interfere with distribution of segment identification and recognition… that information isn’t shared, synergy is lost, and sales results end up being suboptimal across hundreds of industries.

It is an easy bet for me, I have uncovered plenty of situations just like this over my consulting career, from doing marketing audits, deficiency analysis and even in competition analysis… through to ‘war-stories’ from delegates to my workshops who confess this goes on far too often.

Often the problem stems from CEO’s who are too busy with distractions… too complacent towards improving productivity, too cynical to believe that a small investment in correction will deliver a significant ROI, or just fearful that they might be “exposed” as less than 100% competent.

How Badly Do YOU think Silos Interfere with Sales People being Successful?

I’d be interested in any comments, observations, cases in hand, or thoughts readers have as to silos, sales productivity and leadership, relevant to these thoughts.

By the way, I use an approach that has helped FMCG, transport & big pharma grow corporate profits by as much as $250M p.a. that can be used to help all sorts of businesses… If you want to have a peek, check out: http://bit.ly/OpAudit

The Worst of Australian Corporate Governance – A #Target Story

The headlines are reading #Target failed… but the TRUTH is their board of directors failed to perform… They must have known three years ago this was on its way… they sat there and watched, doing nothing proactive to stop it… more than corporate incompetence, this is criminal corporate neglect!

Good Corporate Governance is NOT killing off brands by doing nothing to make them better! Ask any Target shopper and they’d tell you what was right with Target, what was wrong with Target and how to fix it!

Westfarmers board, Michael Chaney, Rob Scott, Vanessa Wallace, Diane Smith-Gander, Wayne Osborn, Sharon Warburton, Tony Howarth, Jennifer Westacott, Bill English, Mike Roche, J P Graham and P M Bassat took home well over $16,000,000,000 in directors’ fees alone…

… if they had only spent just $250000 in market research and product development strategy, they not only would have saved the Target brand, but the careers and income stability of tens of thousands of Australian  workers, not to mention lost brand equity for Westfarmers shareholders future ROSF (return on shareholders’ funds).

When are the corporate watchdogs going to do something about poor corporate governance in this country?

If I was a still a stakeholder in #Westfarmers, I’d be cleaning up by lobbying for and voting in a new Board!

Westfarmers shareholders need to clean the Board up...

Are Qantas and Virgin Bosses Failures?

Are the RIGHT people in Qantas and Virgin equipped to be in charge?

The lack of strategic competence by the Board and executive of Qantas and Virgin is NOT new.

American Rail ignored change in the demand for transport when cars went into mass production: Instead of adapting, they threw their hands up and said, “bail us out!”, too. At the same time, the buggy whip industry shook its head in dismay and began sacking staff and winding down.

Closer to home, Australian car manufacturing industry kept making cars people didn’t want (did anyone ever own a P76?) in the face of diminishing sales it universally closed up shop when a glaringly attractive industry in electric car manufacturing was staring them in the face! HAD they possessed the least amount of strategic foresight and competence they COULD have been producing electric cars at the very kernel beginning of Tesla’s reign.

Like Kodak, that also didn’t have the talent in leadership to cope with change and entered bankruptcy in 2012; Blockbuster Video, which went belly-up in 2013; Borders, one of the largest book retailers in U.S that refused to accept change and died in 2011, Qantas and Virgin are currently being led by those who are incompetent in adjusting with appropriate strategy.

Sadly, the prominence of operational corporate cancer, and the absence of strategic talent, in all the examples above, has thwarted opportunity.

You can BET the Board of Virgin and Qantas exhibit one (if not all) if the symptoms of Corporate Cancer.undefined

Lucky GE had a Leader with Strategic Wisdom

If the leaders if Qantas and Virgin had been running GE between 1981 and 2001, they’d be calling for handout and still making light globes and electric toasters.

Fortunately for GE shareholders, Jack thought strategically… Quotes like these seem to have escaped the abilities of Virgin and Qantas leaders…

  • “Change before you have to.”
  • “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”
  • “Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be.”
  • “It is better to act too quickly than it is to wait too long.”
  • “You can look at the situation and feel victimized. Or you can look at it and be excited about conquering the challenges and opportunities it presents.”

… and more.

Qantas and Virgin Must NOT be bailed out…

… at least not with incumbent Board and executive management… regardless of how much money you give them , they are literally fancy overheads with no appropriate talent in adapting to new realities.

The Covid-19 experience is a prime example of what happens when a company is loaded with operational people, who lack the strategic skills necessary to cope with new circumstances.

Too late for Virgin? But there’s still time for Qantas

The ONLY Commercially Sensible Way Forward

I think it may be too late for Virgin, but not for Qantas. The first thing shareholder HAVE to do is vote in a Board that exhibits a balanced skill set for strategic thinking. And they should do it preferably before 9:00am Monday!

Like Welch did for GE, they should focus on true capabilities, adaptabilities and alternative opportunities…

With on-line commerce booming… what’s to stop Qantas converting passenger “freight” to parcel freight?

With huge telemarketing centres, sale support teams, catering competencies, cleaning competencies, and more… why can’t Qantas diversify to where new markets and new segments are screaming for services? With an abundance of people versed in service, why not put these to new tasks which they are potentially suitable?

If Joyce treated his employees with respect and recognized the latent talent within, he could call for business plans from his people and cherry-pick the best… he’d be flooded with golden opportunity.

But no, it’s better to sit quietly on $8M a year sand focus on the easy option, the last option, the “watch Rome burn” option, than to man-up and lead like a leader should.

Will the Government Fold or Be Strong?

It will be interesting to see if the government will bend at the knees or opt to embrace tough love.

I fear taxpayers’ money comes too easy to politicians who prefer to grandstand on “saving the airlines” rather than looking after constituents better by letting natural forces apply.

It will be interesting to see how much courage the political leaders have in the wake of the spin that Qantas will apply to hack off a generous gratuity to further sponsor their poor management team.

The future will tell… but what will be interesting is how history paints commercial wisdom of decision makers in the “Covid era”.

How to check if your business should be closing for a lock down

The modern “Marketing Concept” is “using the resources of your organization that can be competitively utilized to satisfy the needs or wants of an identifiable and reachable target audience.

So, EXPERT marketers that understand their job is, “The holistic, integrated management of exchange” are equipped with the understanding to self-determine if a business should be closing for a lock down, staying open despite a lock down, of actually redeploying resources and responding to a lock down to satisfy new and unsatisfied needs in the market place.

Think!

Can you do something for those in need?

Can you deliver new things that a group of people of organisations now want?

Can you reorganize your resources that satisfy new markets? Increased demand? Can you develop new products that people NOW want?

Can you develop new products for new markets?

Most good marketers will recognize the Ansoff matrix

Internal Marketing Comes First

Remember, you’ll get no-where fast if you don’t have support, engagement and alignment within your organization.

Does your response of effort to adapt fit with the organizations’ MEVPIV?

For ideal employee and stakeholder engagement and alignment

If not then leadership has to be called into question. and if your leader’s cant embrace change before its too late, get out early.

If leaders are onside, remind them that internal marketing is necessary and leadership has to be overt. Call for enthusiasm, alignment and encouragement from everyone and ask for (and respect) contributions.

And don’t forget…

Act, don’t react: Plan strategically – don’t just embrace reactive tactics

Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.

Think through your strategy. Consider all the implications. Determine contingencies and prepare for them.

YOu marketing plan should not be more than 20 pages, and consider ALL aspects of the marketing mix, and make sure your market research, analsysis, and information is right!

Successful marketing coordinates the codependent parts of the marketing mix, optimally.

Transitioning to a Remote Workforce?

How to Maintain or Improve Productivity

If you’re transitioning to a virtual office, opting to have your employees work from home, you need to accept the innovation also demands change in management accent.

When you employ, recruit and manage workers who tele-commute or operate from remote offices… regardless of the reason, you must ensure they are engaged and productive.

Many businesses employ workers who aren’t ready to accept going remote

Remote work is a matter of culture. Experience tells us that emergency change to working remotely in response to a crisis doesn’t always work out. You need nurture a buoyant attitude and positive disposition to help them be truly productive.

That’s why “transition to remote” needs to address the very core of your business.

A remote work force needs to be aligned. The team must be tune with their core contribution to the organization, its mission, its vision, it’s very identity and ethos.

The Fast-track path to Leading this Transition

Leaders must be diligent and sensitive to their workers’ needs. The team must be committed to, and included in, your organization’s values, ethics, intent.

They must both be aware of, and connected with, your objectives, the strategy you believe will achieve those objectives, the tactics they’ll use or are using and the tasks you need them to complete.

More than ever before, kinetic leadership will stimulate employee engagement. Now is the time, as you ask your workers to adopt a more independent work environment and adapt to the accompanying self-discipline and independent motivation needed to be productive.

How trustworthy they are will reply on how their leaders to inspire motivation, enthusiasm, and dedication to work.

Learn More or Get Help

As with any organization, sometimes the operational demands of everyday business have let the strategic sheen fade on engaging MEVPIV.

It only takes a mater of days to create, adopt and initiate a new MEVPIV that can increase productivity by 202%

For other organizations the employee engagement issue has been top of mind and in the things to do list of priorities.

If you need to prioritize this component of your leadership, be it strategic input, implementation or anything in between, feel free to drop me a line and I’ll see if I can help you find an answer or at least a sensible direction.

Huge Influencer Marketing Webinar Might be “the ticket”.

What is “Influencer Marketing”?

It only took Forbes 3500 years after the activity was first employed to discover “Influencer Marketing”… or so you might assume if you read a recent Forbes article published that insinuated the concept is radical, breakthrough and new.

It is such an awkward and silly expression, but curiously adopted by the masses. A range of people, from those who are non-discriminating and tolerant of lay-person interpretations, to opportunists who don’t know any better, have coined the phrase to attract their audiences to consider their opinion.

Those that “know” are aware that “Influencer marketing” is a means of describing promotional communication messages through celebrities and opinion leaders to deliver awareness, create interest, distribute knowledge, inspire liking and preference to coerce the recipient of that information to buy. This is done because it is human nature to follow and to trust those to who you believe you rely upon for that opinion.

A lay-person definition of the expression, “Influencer marketing”, being the means of describing the dynamic between a Group Opinion leader (GOP) and how they work within the context of the Multi-Stage Mass Communication model, has been extensively taught in Marketing courses around the world for the past 50 years.

Infamous snake-oil salespeople, political leaders and political institutions, throughout history, and recent and modern operational marketing communications specialists, have all utilized “Influencer Marketing” to help achieve their goals.

A Digital Expression?

The immature or forgetful among us who perceive the world didn’t exist before the internet and social media, may limit their thinking of Influencer Marketing to highly followed and liked, online, group opinion leaders:

Does it work?

Yes, I think many people, including me, have bowed to some authoritative opinion at some time in our buyer-decision-making lives. 🙂

Having survived the test of time, the tactic, that being using the influencer of a GOP to “bend” their followers’ behaviour, is proven.

How to Embrace, Apply and Implement “Influencer marketing”

I am joining forces with Entrepnr for their upcoming Influencer Marketing Asia virtual summit taking place on February 25-26, 2020.

I’ll be one of an array of their speakers sharing ideas, inspiration, and some tips on influencer marketing in Asia.

There will be in-depth presentations, case studies and extensive discussions from top influencer marketing practitioners, see https://www.influences.asia for more details.

The summit is only a matter of a few weeks away. There are still tickets available, and if you are interested in attending this great event, I have a discount code that will give you a 30% off discount.

Click on the link to get the 30% discount to the Influencer Marketing Summit on Feb 25 and 26.

A Lighter Side Look at Management Terms*

Delegate: Pass the buck

Pending: What the hell do we do with this?

Delayed: Forgotten

Urgent: Panic

Extreme Urgency: Blind Panic

Frank and open discussion: Flaming row

Analytical projection: Guess

Forecast: Guess

Long Range Forecast: Wild guess

Scheduled: Hoped for

Deficiency Analysis: Pointing the finger

Ambitious: Ruthless

Strategy: Low cunning

Shrewd: Devious

Profit: Profit

Profit before tax: Loss

Deficit: Staggering Loss

Industrial by-product: Our waste

Environmental pollution: Other people’s waste

Pilfering: Theft by employee

Fringe benefit: Theft by executive

Terminal payment: Golden handshake

Supplementary statistical information: Padding

  • Source Unknown

What are corporate marketing strategies?

By Leigh Cowan, CEO of Leadership Empowerment

I was recently asked, “What are corporate marketing strategies?” so thought I’d share a summarial answer my own blog.

A properly led company starts and grows because it has a defined focused and clear PURPOSE. It embraces a VISION and undertakes a MISSION to strive for the achievement of that VISION. As it grows, it ensures it stays true to core VALUES by maintaining clarity regarding its IDENTITY and sets OBJECTIVES that satisfy these guidelines.

Marketing is the management of exchange and marketing strategies are the overriding approaches that the organisation will adopt as the means by which the OBJECTIVES will be achieved.

These strategies set the parameters for TACTICS that are employed to get the job done.

These TACTICS can be broken down into indivisible tasks that need to be completed to satisfy the above.

When strategic corporate guidelines are in place, diligently (if not fanatically) endorsed by the Board and all c-level executives, the following outcomes occur:

  • Higher levels of employee engagement
  • High levels of employee productivity
  • Less internal politics, silos, hidden agenda, and disengaged employees leading to lower staff turnover, less sick leave, lower stock shrinkage, higher customer satisfaction and better user experience from customer to trade partner.
  • Less “friction” exists between supervisors and their subordinates because everyone has a clever understanding of what is expected of them, what they should be doing, what decisions are the most appropriate… this means people can take control of themselves, self-manage, use their intuitive abilities and work more constructively and collaboratively.

Corporate Marketing strategies deal with Product, Price, Channels of distribution (Logistics and Communications), Promotion (advertising, sales promotion, PR and Personal Selling), Pricing Processes (including manufacturing, procurement), People (staff and service providers), Positioning (branding, image, corporate social responsibility, organisational reputation management) and Politics (external lobbying, industry, and internal politics).

If your corporate objectives are comprehensive, and your corporate marketing strategies are implementable, then you have a successful, sturdy and secure corporation.

Ask me for help with determining corporate strategic guidelines including Mission Vision and Purpose statements

Why You Cannot Afford Silos between Sales & Marketing

The latest figures infer a 202% increase in productivity and 16-25% increase in bottom-line profits… too important to ignore!

The Marketing Blog for Advanced Marketers

fighting

What Factors Make Sales People Successful?

I recently shared a Linked In comment, and in my keynote presentations and workshops discuss, a large & intense formal commercial study of selling skills, that showed only two significantly important factors determine a sales person’s success…

  1. How hard salespeople work (calls, preparation, & face-to-face time in front of a prospect or customer, no ‘brass-plating’, procrastination, or poor time-management), and…
  2. The distribution of speaking time between seller & buyer (the greater the percentage of time the buyer spends speaking, the greater the salesperson’s sales success, relative to team peers’ success).

As a throw-away I mentioned that increased average productivity across the whole team of salespeople occurs if they have access to, and understand, properly identified market segments but I probably DDN’T emphasize the point enough that If a company really understands its market segments and responds accordingly, then all the salesperson really has to…

View original post 355 more words

The Missing Skill of a chief human resources officer (CHRO) or chief people officer (CPO)?

The Co-dependency Between HR, Recruitment & Marketing

The Worldwide Employee Engagement Crisis Remains – Why?

Yes, 60+% of employees are unengaged: 50% of them due to their boss, 34% because they don’t know or understand their employer’s mission & vision! BUT is this because 95% of leaders do not know the true meaning of #marketing?

Ideally, all leaders and executive recruiters SHOULD understand the proper definition of the word, “Marketing”, and the Hierarchies of Marketing. Not only are the two related concepts lynch-pins in organizational management, but they are also are crucial to CORPORATE GOVERNANCE. This knowledge assures leaders of a profound means of developing talent in the workplace for immediate productivity gains as well as succession evolution.

Marketing is NOT a synonym for Promotion

The great error some make is defining “Marketing” as meaning “promotion” or “advertising”, “smoke and mirrors, or “waffle and PR”, which only creates a whole world of pain for many executives.

Marketing is the holistic integrated management of the codependent dynamics of exchange

Both internal and external recruiters, who want to be professional as well as draft job profiles that attract A1 quality candidates, need to understand the real meaning of “Marketing”. It is the key to discerning between fast talkers without appropriate skills or productive marketing-proficient performers.

The “Right” Marketing Appointment

THE FIRST STEP in recruiting the PERFECT Marketing Executive means determining whether the role requires Administrative, Operational, Managerial or Strategic skills.

Do you want tasks done expertly with great attention to detail? That’s an Administrative marketer.

Do you want tactics developed that support and achieve your strategies? That’s an Operational role.

Do you need creative approaches to development of Marketing Objectives, incorporating new product development, pricing, channel management, marcomms coordination and control, market research, sales management, process strategy, positions, segmentation strategy, customer experience management, etc. This is the domain of a Managerial marketer?

How about corporate reputation, merger and acquisition, corporate branding, brand portfolio, market development, industry and competitive strategic governance, or to undertake an IPO? Now you’re looking for a Strategic Marketer.

The Hierarchies of Marketing provides a structure for these tiers on the broad universe of marketing and marketing talent.

Companies should no more be operated on by unqualified marketers than people should be operated on by unqualified surgeons.

Because many corporations have not understood this distinction… marketing personnel with admin skills have been pushed into more senior roles for which they are not suited, let alone qualified… and corporations have paid steeply for this error!

If you who want to know more, I put together an easy to read e-book that was first published in 2014 and is now in its 2nd edition… used across Europe as a text in some universities and a reference book in business schools and large corporations.

You can find it at…

https://bookboon.com/en/the-four-faces-of-marketing-ebook.

“Digital Marketers”: The New Flat-Earth Society?

It is HARD to change some people’s beliefs…

What is “Marketing”?

Many so-called “Digital Marketers” believe that marketing is a synonym for advertising and promotion.

That’s OK… if they focus on the implementation of online promotional tactics AND IF those tactics follow genuinely valid marketing strategies set by someone who understands the true meaning of the word, “Marketing”.

I am occasionally attacked by self-taught promotional people, lacking formal marketing qualifications, who insist they know everything about marketing without a degree. Some are digital marketing people who (I think) see this as “protecting their turf”…

Asking them if they would respect a medical practitioner who was self-taught without studying to become a qualified doctor, only seems to increase their determined resistance to genuinely grasping my point – they don’t see it as an effort to open their minds.

I’ve had digital marketing experts refuse to even consider the definition offered by the world’s leading marketing experts or representative bodies such as The American Marketing Association, Philip Kotler, Peter Drucker, Theodore Levitt: It appears, the world’s experts know much less than people who have worked in Google ads and social media promotion for as little as two years! (I produced my first web site in 1996, have built web sites since ‘00s – but would not DARE call myself a web development expert by any means.)

I ponder why it is that some feel is so necessary to discard 100’s of years of tertiary research and study, business acumen and volumes of proven corporate reinforcement, the revolution that followed the birth of the discipline of Marketing and the thousands of corporations that prosper by it every day.

I was recently chastised by someone, who promotes herself as a digital marketing strategist, despite lacking any marketing qualifications. She justifies her claim because she is a self-taught google analytics user. She has a certificate in an unrelated field, and just over two years administrative marketing employment experience. Boy, did she flame me for suggesting that a Quora question be referred to a genuinely qualified marketing expert. She rejected globally approved definitions and insisted she knew better.

How do you feel about the definition of the word, marketing?

Of course, PART of Marketing is the management of marketing communications. Within the marketing mix, it is called “Promotion” and under that activity (the promotional mix) are the skill sets of advertising, sales promotion, PR and personal selling. These four components, when coordinated together to create synergy, are the MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS set and represent one eighth of the function of “Marketing”.

When combined well, marketing mix synergy is formidable

Marketing takes a lifetime to learn and no-one person can ever master it!

When we think about ALL THE ROLES that fall under the umbrella of marketing, it becomes blatantly apparent that you could study your whole life and not know it all.

Advertising alone, is a lifetime learning curve: From David Ogilvy to David Droga, no advertising guy knows it all about advertising. In specialist disciplines as diverse as loyalty, pricing, logistics, packaging, personal selling, category management, direct mail… and hundreds more ALL marketing activities, no one can know it all.

But at least realizing the reach, co-dependency and significance of Marketing, people are more empowered to see where they true worth lies, and when to make observations and contribute valid perspectives rather than poor decisions.

Is Adopting the Hierarchies of Marketing a way forward?

A CEO from Geneva recently sent me a note, telling me how profound and insightful my e-book, “The Four Faces of Marketing” was, despite 22 years’ experience and his MBA, it was a milestone revelation.

An ex-CMO of Fuji Xerox, once told me “If only I’d read your book three years ago, it would have saved me three years of angst and frustration!”

My book was about the Hierarchies of Marketing (still available from Bookboon in 2nd edition) which explains a model my form uses to help clients structure their marketing departments and succession plan their marketing teams.

Are organizing a trade stand and drafting a corporate purpose statement both Marketing roles?

Is this a way forward for Digital Marketers and anyone else “in marketing” to move to a new respect for the meaning of the word?

A Tear for Coles & Woolworths

Poor WW & Coles – Hard Frustrating Unsatisfying!

Spare a moment of sympathy for executives, senior management, C-suite leaders and directors of Woolworths and Coles.

Yes, they get paid well but at what cost?

For decades they have suffered in absence of the wisdom of the ages, best summarized by legendary strategist, Sun Tzu, who said…

“Tactics without strategy is the noise you make before defeat.”

Few people at either Coles or Woollies know what strategy is; many perceive tactics to be strategies.

A flotilla of strategy-qualified executives having spun through the revolving doors of Coles and Woolworths employment, and gone again; in frustration, meeting for coffee after retrenchment, echoing the words of those who have gone before, “It’s getting worse!”

You can only be sympathetic.

The conundrum is that everyone in-charge at both companies are operational A1 players. They know their business. They understand their operations intimately They sweat over very piece of data, every report. Every fact and figure they can gouge. They slave long hours. They grapple with silos, with politics, with hidden personal agenda, with bosses who don’t communicate well and suppress initiative.

Despite their best efforts, customer satisfaction is failing. KPI’s are increasingly hard to meet. Outperforming each other is hard enough, while Aldi continues to happily erode their market share… only slowed down by Metcash’s resistance to adopting blue ocean growth opportunities and FMCG suppliers’ willingness to surrender all their margin.

Where do you go when you’ve got nowhere to go?

Now Coles is abandoned by Westfarmers with Woolworths struggling in the wake of its Big W decay, Masters flop, and other lack-lustre performance outcomes.

Both are blinkered to the reality of their merchandising philosophies and combative relationship with suppliers, and the very stoppable (but not without strategy) flow of shoppers to Aldi.

Do what you always do… Get what you’ve always gotten

It seems incredible, doesn’t it, that the power of the two giants and the operational executive talent is unable to recognise their archaic approach to their problems.

Their resistance to change is formidable. Their unwillingness to accept they are tracing the 19th Century path of the American Rail corporation and the buggy whip industry, they are as resistant to change is News Corps and Fairfax were in the 90’s, they are determined they are doing everything right when they are doing a LOT of things wrong… just like Nokia, Blockbuster, Kodak and others…

When a past CEO of Woolworths warned them to beware of the ABC’s of Corporate Cancer, Arrogance, Bureaucracy and Complacency) their response was to evict him rather than heed his advice!

The Writing is on the wall

Lots of those that know, know! The wisest stakeholders abandon ship and the millennial naive are innocently walking into the web.

Tie will tell if I am right, but anyone reading this, who can observe a trend, may be shaking their head in acknowledgement of these observations.

Poor Woollies. Poor Coles. 😦

Is China a real threat? If so, is it a good or bad threat?

How bad is the China issue?

Many countries are pondering China’s purpose. Fear is rising.

Chinese money is everywhere. They own ports, farms, mines, airports, big brand companies, supply chains and lots and lots of property and real estate everywhere!

Is there Evil Intent by China?

Is it an economic invasion?

If so, are adequate responses from around the world worthy of those nations?

The USA’s answer is tariffs. Australia’s answer is to avoid talking about it. The Philippines are grateful for anyone’s money. In any country, corruption is easy when public servants aren’t paid enough, or adequate controls are absent.

The question remains, is it some great plan of China to control the world?

The Chinese self-perception is one of entitlement… they deserve to rule. Many Chinese possess a racist belief that they are superior to every other nationality, and the only justification for other nationalities is to serve China’s interests.

Recently a book was published by a Chinese immigrant to Australia that bemoans the perceived injustice of racial discrimination by white Australian’s but ignores the complete absence of human rights for non-Chinese that risk visiting, let alone living, in China. (Gaol first, questions later.)

Chinese don’t seem to be able to embrace empathy with much vigour. 😦

Perhaps this is how Mao Zedong could let 36,000,000 people starve to death for his Great Leap Forward.

I hope there is no Great Leap Forward planned for the future!

My first taste of China was while it was a closed country, and I was on a trade mission. Before they learned “spin”, I saw the real “id” and it was scary! But then I see the social progress in modern-day social behaviour and I wonder if enough Chinese will risk their lives to stand in front of tanks to protect human rights as they did in Tiananmen Square?

Is it a Non-Military Strategy?

The world bows to the wisdom of the great Chinese military genius of the 500BC strategist, Sun Tzu. Many Chinese learn, and follow, the teachings of their past. Sun Tzu said,

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

Is China’s employing this strategy?

Would it be so bad?

Let’s face it, other leadership hasn’t done the world that much good… look at their record:

  • 1% of the world’s population own 99% of the wealth.
  • Brazil is illegally burning off the Amazon forests.
  • The EEC is breaking down.
  • 1000 children die a day in Africa of starvation – ignored by the western world.
  • The Pacific Ocean is choking on plastic.
  • The world constantly loses the war on drugs despite huge funding.
  • People trafficking and modern-day slavery still exists in many forms.
  • The internet has only served to confuse and irritate with everything from fake news to narcissistic selfies.

There are arguments that a Chinese leadership might be just as bad… so what’s the difference. It might also be better.

I am reminded of the quote (source unknown), “You get the leadership you deserve”

So, if our own leaders fail us – it’s our fault.

And if we end up with Chinese dominated leadership, whose fault is that?

If Politicians Adopted Advanced Business Methods They’d Earn and Hold Power for Decades…

The Australian Labor & Liberal Parties

The Australian Labor Party commenced in the 19th century, as a body representing the needs of trade unions and rural pastoral workers’ groups at that time. Often described as “a band of unhappy amateurs” it has oscillated between strong and vocal support for the White-Australia policy to multiculturalism in the pursuit of votes and power.

The Australian Liberal Party commenced early in the 20th century, formed by Labor dissidents, as an anti-Labor body, with policies of protectionism and opposed to socialism. It has held onto power with a series of mergers with groups varying from women’s movements, youth groups and dying or weaker parties with anti-Labor sentiment, such as the Country Party.

Why Labor & Liberal dominate now

Each was, however, basically formed and has survived on their match to the perceived needs and wants of the Australian population… polarising political preference to Labor vs. Liberal.

Law 8 of the Immutable Laws of Marketing, The Law of Duality, says, “In the long run, every market becomes a two-horse race.” Which is exactly what has happened. From the Workers Party of 1972 to the Clive Palmer United Party of 2019, emotive attempts to foster better government have been made with poorly structured and inappropriately managed efforts of wealthy egos, rather than objective strategists… with appropriate results. The issue is NEITHER Labor or Liberal offerings currently satisfy the existing and future needs of Australia. Voters feel it… hence, the rise of splinter parties, a senate ballot paper that is the size of a table cloth and record-low levels of primary vote.

Based upon the foundation and infrastructure, neither can ‘metamorphosize’ to be what Australia needs… which is not one, but two new and up-to-date political groups.

Inevitably New Australian Political Parties Will Evolve & Dominate

Sooner or Later Smart Politicians Will Make their Move

Law 10 of the Immutable Laws of Marketing, The Law of Division says, “Over time the category will divide and become two categories.”. Australia has observed evidence of this division in the Australian Labor Party Rudd/Gillard contest, before Labor closed public airing of disharmony. It also witnessed the appalling display of rot in the Australian Liberal Party through the Abbot/Turnbull/Dutton/Morrison evolution.

Discontent has never been higher and will continue to exist until a new Party, founded on current Australia values, rises to the fore.

The difficulty is that politicians are mostly graduates in law or political science and not business strategy. I have yet to meet a politician who thinks of Marketing as anything but advertising and promotion (the root of their problems). I have yet to see market research performed in politics as well as it is in FMCG (fast moving consumer goods). I have yet to see political parties embrace sophisticated management tools in the multi-faceted array of marketing communications… from media interviews and other publicity, with advertising (liberal does the worst ads possible), promotions (poor effort and transparent grandstanding) and personal communications (pride cometh before a fall).

I once mentored a PhD student doing her thesis on “what would happen if a political party utilised modern marketing methods) and the preliminary findings indicated it would rise to power and keep it indefinitely. (Sadly, she discontinued her PhD and the work was never published). Politicians have refused to investigate these findings.

Politicians Are Their Own Worst Enemy – at the Cost of the Country

The self-defeating dichotomy is politicians themselves. Revered motivational psychologist, David McClelland identified that politicians crave power and resist advice from outside their power circle… The “men won’t ask for direction” syndrome, magnified to many degrees.

So when you take modern, helpful, constructive, positive, professional and beneficial change proposals to political parties you get polite rejection base upon a “it is my ball and we play by my rules” response.

Even New Zealand’s PM, Jacinda Ardern, is likely to be guilty of power-driven motivation… it is likely that it just so happens she feels the same way as the greater NZ population, and being so in sync, has won the heart of the other parts of the world. However, there will come a time where her personal lust for power and optimal decisions will contravene each other… then watch out!

Australia’s Continuing Political Turmoil and the Way Forward

The truthful barrier to Australia finding wholesome, beneficial and universal (or as best as can be achieved) political leadership is old-fashioned resistance to change. Basically, things will have to get even worse before they get better… and in getting worse will create a legacy that will be difficult to undo or reverse. It will take a consortium of contributors, a very highly skilled team of strategists, and most importantly and difficult, a national representation by achievement-based leaders willing to stand for parliament… people who genuinely will put the good of Australia before themselves, who will check their egos, greed, and gratification and sincerely strive for an invigorated Australia.