The Objective of the following is to empower business leaders to achieve breakthrough, profitable sale 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 CEO’s 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 behaviour
  • Motivation leaning & either psychological skills
  • Pricing optimization and strategic management
  • Distribution and supply chain control & Management
  • Sales Process
  • People
  • 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 specialised STRATEGIC management education.

Why this has happened in Marketing, is abhorrent. But 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?

Its is MORE stupid to hand over strategic decisions for a business to someone who’s expertise has been buying print, organising photos, copy editing brochures, or drafting advertising schedules… sheer madness!!!

Understand Segmentation

A “market’ is nothing more that a corral of heterogeneous segments.

As soon as I hear naïve commentary that starts off with “All 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!

McDonalds has limited itself by lacking strategic competence at this level. So has Telstra – big time! Woolworths (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 is 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 fast tongues and greedy motives will put down common sense to play on emotion and fear. Comedy and doubt, to feather their own nests and ANY cost.

The solution lays within the grasp of so any open minded CEO, COO of CMO

Leaders of organizations MUST be operational. They must know their businesses.

The opportunity costs is they cant have the strategic competence of those with different skill sets.

One of the best CMO’s I have met in years recently told ne 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 CEO’s recognise their own weaknesses as well as their strengths. Greater one’s act decisively and do something about it.

Want some more insight? Download my free e-book, THE FOUR FACES OF MARKETING, here… http://j.mp/ALLmktg

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Frustration is viral

November 20, 2013

Frustration is a viral sentiment spreading throughout the global business community, “How do you find executive management who can truly achieve results, embrace cutting-edge methods and implement bold new ways to succeed?”

Business success comes not by natural intuition, through costly mistakes, charismatic diplomacy or knowing the ‘right’ people. (This attitude has, and continues to, put potentially immortal companies at risk and costs billions in avoidable commercial failures.)

Business success comes from wisdom-based talent layered upon experience and knowledge.

Many large international businesses need to experience change and renewal, particularly those with a number of market leading products, in established industries, major categories and competitive businesses.

They desperately NEED sustainable competitive advantage, which comes from innovation built upon solid strategic skills, genuine strategic innovation, blue-ocean growth initiatives spawned by the ability to identify key challenges effecting the organisation, and ability to develop and conceptualise strategies to improve competitiveness, steering those initiatives to improve overall business performance.

This calls for a leader with academic grounding, a breadth of experience that is rare among business individuals, and genuine successes in SME as well as middle sized and large companies. (The premise being no one person is ever responsible for success in large organisations, so ‘pure corporate’ executives from this background are more likely to behave been at the right place, at the right time, as often as they are a true performer.)

Boards must now scour the executive labour market for a new beast: Someone best suited is now an individual with success across a plethora of industries, who possesses demonstrable ability to understand new concepts quickly and act as an innovative thinker, with numerous experiences setting product strategy as well as the ability to implement.

Breakthrough performers must possess a passion for marketing strategy and instinctual understanding of buyer behaviour. They must be endowed with insight into the mechanics of marketing planning and business issues, and a wisdom that is unlikely to been seen in a young, corporate “climber”.

Self assured, mis-perceived as arrogant, or over-confident, ‘hero’ CEO’s dispel doubt when allowed to apply their craft and when results evolve.

All it takes is for an imaginative and dynamic Board or Shareholders to dare to try… the outcome being greater than the pain of resistance to change if they do.

The older I get, the more I learn how much I don’t know – but also the more I recognise so-called “business experts” don’t know as well. I guess that’s fair, except at least I know how much I don’t know… others appear to “believe their own BS”.

The latest manifestation became glaringly apparent in the search for “Sticking Points in Business Growth” and “Barriers to Business Growth” where ‘money’ and ‘funding’ was patronisingly offered as a main reason. In reality, GROWTH should be easily funded, as trading history inspires lenders. (Launch, however, still is constrained by the 22nd Immutable Law of Marketing.)

Other reasons offered for growth constraints were ‘people’ and ‘market size’… Come on!!!! Surely, there are some strategic corporate thinkers out there that can distinguish between operational and strategic issues?

There is one, and one only, profound issue that hampers business growth, stifles unbridled expansion, and suffocates limitless potential… is the CEO the leadership and managerial talent that follows.

Many true veterans of business-consulting recognise this to be the core truth: When CEO’s reject a completely valid and rational business plan, when CEO’s horde decision-making, forcing operational middle management turnover rate to increases When decisions just aren’t made because the CEO won’t delegate and his in-try overflows… when money is NOT spent in growth generating areas, and, the most fatal of all… when not undertaking an idea is justified because “we’ve never needed to do this before”.

Nothing is more heart breaking for qualified practitioners of their specialised skills than when their CEO stops letting them do what they do best, and applies the brakes.

CEO’s who cant ‘let go’ inspire new appointees to keep their job search robots alive if a CEO interferes with new initiatives introducing higher sophistication levels than the firm is used to implementing: No one likes to dumb-down!

It is said that the only constant in the world is change. That business cannot stand still and must grow or wither. A CEO’s unwillingness to change with the business is frequently the key problem. Even CEO’s conscious of the need for change can fail to recognise their own inability to do so. (The most dangerous and destructive are those that SAY they move with change, but can’t.)

Hurdles that exist at key points in a business’s growth trail:
1. At $2M they must surrender their control over management decisions and accept that different decisions are not necessarily wrong ones.
2. At $5M they must recognise that future growth means complete market orientation and adoption of strategic initiatives rather than operational ones. complete autonomy of decision making delegated to the position holder responsible.
3. At $20M they must adopt corporate disciplines and formality of structure with complete detachment from all operational decision-making.
4. At $100M a CEO is the COO, and the CEO of the foundation years moves over the administrators to take Chairman and CEO mantles, mentored by major shareholders and appropriate performance incentives.

Summarily, if a CEO doesn’t change in order for the Organisation to grow, and the Organisation doesn’t change its CEO, then the Organisation cannot grow because it cannot change.