Roger Corbett, who was CEO of Woolworths on its rise to co-domination of Australian retailing, warned that corporate arrogance was the most dangerous threat to Woolworths’ future.
Could he be right?
In March, 2009, post GFC, American business analysts came to the conclusion… “Today, we face corporate arrogance that is almost transcendent and vastly more damaging than any of organized labour’s excesses”.
All to frequently, enraged experts, frustrated by simply ‘bad calls’ of businesses that have suffered by not following great advice, vent blame on…. “arrogant executives who use corporate leverage to implement an “our way or the highway” mentality”.
Is Woolworths in danger? Many thought Ansett would last forever, that FAI was rock-solid, that One.Tel, supported by a marriage of Murdoch and Packer, must be invulnerable. Even Qantas, also accused of outrageous corporate arrogance, but thought immortal, teeters on becoming the Asian Kangaroo.
Having heard Roger Corbett speak, I am convinced where there is smoke, there is fire, and while Woolworths may see movement into hotels and poker machines as a sure bet, I have too often observed profitable companies disappear into the mire of management by conceit that gives credence to the old adage “pride cometh before a fall”.

How to make a Marketing Plan truly POWERFUL? G.R.A.I.S.E!

Many, many marketing plans are dust collectors – they get written, put on a shelf and forgotten – basically because they do NOT help management get “the job” done.

But a GOOD marketing plan… is actually an everyday tool that makes marketing management and achieving marketing objectives a reality!

So what turns a rubbish plan into a brilliant, key focus of business activity? G.R.A.I.S.E!

Grip: It is soaked in reality (not some fluffy piece of verbose jargon) and is achievable, executable and implementable.

Relevance: It means something to every participant. It helps them understand their function and do it to the best of their ability

Action Steps: Every strategy (how are we going to achieve the objective) is broken down to an Action Plan, with indivisible, individual tactics delegated to a specific person, whose job it is to see the tactic is done to a quantifiable measure including a time-constraint.

Interdependence: Every participating department can identify how each relies on each other for the organisation to achieve the objectives.

Simplicity: It can be read and understood by every person it involves

Exposure: Don’t follow the plan and everyone in the organisation will know who has stuffed up!

So, how do you write a GREAT marketing Pan?

For 100 years academic schools of business have been chasing this allusive goal. Sadly, as academics become more academic, and less commercial, their distance for reality increases. And few are privy to the inner sanctums of the world’s most successful, and discretely quiet about sharing their methods, marketing planners.

Fortunately, launch Engineering, a consultancy that only recruits senior consultants with 25+ years of commercial experience in marketing management that MUST include an outstanding individual success AND advanced marketing qualifications, has provided the answer.

It’s a marketing plan workbook, in Excel format, that works like a guide to writing relevant and appropriate marketing plans.

Better than a marketing planning template, and worth thousands due to its real, commercial value, it is available for a hands for of dollars at Marketing Planning Workbook

ANY marketing professional will look at it and go so what… UNTIL they use it… then they’ll go this is POWERFUL stuff!

One senior marketing executive with a leading Asian Telco, said, “This is so good, I’m introducing is as compulsory in our corporation as soon as I get back to the office!”

This Marketing Planning Template Workbook has been used by government, large national and international companies, and down to small FMCG manufacturers, banks, and even SME’s. Results have spanned 20% growth to over 100% in as little as 18 months.

So if you’re a marketing professional, of any description, you’d be wise to grab this very useful marketing planning tool for the next marketing plan you write. And see just how good it really is in helping write a great marketing plan.

Or if you just need the Marketing Communications Plan, Sales, Plan, or a simple Marketing Planning Template in Word format for SME, try…

Are you as tired as we are of rubbish marketing plans that only serve to collect dust?

Sometimes, it seems like people have forgotten that a marketing plan should be a clear and concise set of directions that, if followed correctly, ensure you achieve or exceed your goals.

So many marketing plans end up being a report of where the business is now, or a weak wish-list of what the writer thinks might be as good a guess as any.

While many businesses accept the importance of a marketing plan, few know where to start or the questions to ask to build this comprehensive and powerful business tool.

Partly this is because few marketing planners actually have a decent marketing planning template or marketing planning workbook on which they can craft and build a winning marketing plan.

With literally thousands of awful, limited, and distracting documents offered on the web, all promising they represent a decent marketing plan template, the problem is magnified. Discriminating planners find these are not written by marketing planners, or those whose marketing planning skills and talent have much to be desired. The documents offered appear to be plagiarised extracts from basic business textbooks, devoid of commercial marketing planning functionality.

Since rising to Marketing Manager level in the mid 80’s, I’ve learned, the hard way, how to put together marketing plans that work, and have written around 30 marketing plans since then: 3 were not implemented due to politics of weak management, every other one succeeded.

Since my current consulting firm, Launch Engineering, has been going, we’ve seen frequent occurrences where an aspiring entrepreneur, middle management, marketing executive, or a frustrated COO brings us their marketing plan built upon a generic marketing plan template they’ve wasted weeks of their valuable time trying to fit their business into: The structure of a marketing plan template they have acquired, having distracted them from the key, specific and individual issues that may make or break them.

After seeing this over and over we said to ourselves, “There needs to be a better option for marketing planners.” So we set about empowering marketing planners to identify the real issues and key variables to build proper marketing plans. We built a professional’s marketing planning workbook.

Sharing this with key clients across diverse industries such as banking, telecommunications, infant nutrition, tobacco, international air transport and fashion retailing, this marketing planning workbook has proven to be universally applicable for building marketing plans that are relevant and individual, while being concise and implementable.”

As a non-profit endeavour, we simply called it “the Ultimate Marketing Planning Workbook”, an Excel formatted document of over 30 individual worksheets that force the marketing planner to explore the pertinent issues, and dismiss irrelevancy. Marketing Plans evolve from the workbook’s output of isolating the key issues and identifying the tactics, resources, and strategies necessary to achieve marketing objectives.

Peers, colleagues and even a few clients says the tool is worth its weight in gold and that making it available at a nominal price doesn’t indicate its true value.

However, in an effort to enlighten struggling marketing executives, and raise the bar (so to speak) we decided to release it for only the fulfilment/processing cost.

Anyone who is less than 100% satisfied with their marketing plans will find using this workbook a dream.

Give it a try, go to:

Have you heard the expression, “Assumptions are the mother of all f—ups”? When observers say, “challenges that corporations face in managing and adopting innovation” are we assuming management skills are a constant – ’cause they ain’t!

The managerial errors of Strategic Myopia, Structural Inertia & Reactivity have been denounced for so long, you think rubbish management would be long gone…

However, the politics of selling consultancy means 99% of management consultants skip over findings in the problem identification stage, hiding rather than revealing, sub-standard management lacking in understanding of rudimentary concepts such as the Ansoff Matrix, the Resource based approach to the marketing concept, product portfolio management and other strategic marketing management concepts.

I see so much waste is the ‘selling of emperor’s clothes’ to big business. SingTel just boasted 0.8% increase in profits due to their clever Six-Sigma approach – BIG DEAL!!!

One of OUR banking clients just increased generated 22% profit growth using our proprietary Customer Value Management models – and our fees were insignificant to the ones paid by SingTel!

Poor shareholders… the world of imperfect information hides how woefully mismanaged their investments are

Improper choices by underskilled management seem to be much more the problem with innovation, chnage and profit challenges being more of a symptom.

All decent marketing consultancies contain a majority of tertiary qualified principal consultants, who pass on and apply their academic knowledge in relevant and appropriate ways to the advantage of their clients.

Yet a great number of these marketing firms fail to apply the same science and knowledge when it comes to their own busineses.

You would have had to skip a lot of classes and a few key subjects at Uni to avoid learning about perfect competition vs. monopolies: How an industry in perfect competition has many small players who squabble among themselves for small market share and “nominal profits”, while an industry in monopoly or oligopoly commands “super-normal;” profits and “economies of scale”.

But further than this, skilled marketing consultants SHOULD have an intimate grasp and understanding of industry life cycle theory. They KNOW that an industry in maturity should be including merger and acquisition as a strategy and that small payers in a maturing industry are mandatorily destined for premature extinction.

Certainly, merger and acquisition is an active strategy of our own firm, but curiously, there is an aloof reluctance with the management and marketing consulting industry to bend to the inevitability of the Immutable Laws of Marketing and build growth through M&A.

The question as to why? The answer must be lack of confidence in the science they purport to embrace, lack of knowledge they purport to possess, or businesses performing well below the level they purport to generate.

Curiously, the professional services industry relies HEAVILY on a firms’ rainmaker – the salesperson, or new business development executive/s.

M& A is perfect for these firms because rainmakers can work in harmony, and the quality control of support and deliverables can be significantly embellished.

Additionally, overheads are reduced and kudos expanded, increasing perceived value by clients. Other benefits include recued reliance of key executives to hold the business together and greater security in a broader portfolio of clients. Advertising, of course, is cumulative, and inevitably, value to clients takes a great leap forward.

In fact, the payback has minimal downside, requiring only like minded, aligned and engaged principals who simply need consensus on the amalgamated firms’ mission, vision and purpose for being.

Reflectively, management and marketing consultancies, even those in niche spaces, are probably to be avoided if they consist of only one person with support staff. This is usually indicative of lack of core grounding and business training, an inability to change, aging (and probably less appropriate) deliverables, and unusual (if not eccentric) approach to business.

To readers who appoint marketing consultants are best advised to welcome M&A in their service providers as the outcome should be advantageous from any business orientated and commencement consultancy.