I just went to any amazing road show for Marketo.

God knows how much they spent to entertain over 1000 marketing professionals with breakfast lunch morning teas, drinks, in the centre of Sydney, at The Westin Sydney, a five-star hotel sporting one of the CBD’s biggest convention rooms, with an array of quality speakers, full light & sound, screen and seating, promotional gifts, decor and print matter… and all the promotional activity to fill the room…

They flew Phil Fernandez, their Chairman and CEO, over from the states… and their VP of Product Management as another USA presenter from their team…

Their key staff were there, up to and including their Marketing Director, all kitted out in promotional attire.

It was smick. Chic. Classy. Impressive… and Marketo deserve to get some sales from it.

But you don’t NEED deep pockets when you get Positioning right

The problem is they missed the mark, simply because they don’t appear to understand the Definition of Marketing. They use Marketing as a synonym for PROMOTION.

As a colleague of mine put it, “They perceive only 1P in anyone’s marketing mix”.

Marketo appears to be a powerful digital, marketing communications tool. Optus and Flight Centre promotions department use it successfully.

But, because Marketing isn’t just about generating leads, and professionals know its as much the management of pricing, of distribution, new product development, market research and analysis, product management and brand management, management of processes and people and positioning… packaging, planning, forecasting, industry analysis, competition analysis, environmental analysis, economic analysis, compliance with legal and social cultural norms and expectations, keeping up with technology, managing change, strategic planning and coordination with corporate mission vision and purpose, juggling budgets and answering to multiple stakeholders (internal & external) AND promotions management (analogue AND online) … Marketo has created for itself ambiguous positioning and vague market reputation.

Within the Promotional Mix (the 1 P that Marketo performs in) marketers are balancing inputs such as advertising, public relations, sales promotions and personal selling, to not only generate leads, but satisfy and respond to all of the Marketing Mix, above… and if Marketo could just grasp its own true value, deliver positioning that says “Online, digital promotions management software”, then Marketo would be targeting PRIME target audience prospects, better communicating its own USP (unique selling proposition) and revealing a valuable PBM (prime buying motive) that would generate better sales for itself and better information dispersion to the marketing industry.

Anyone wanting a quick treatment of Definition of Marketing should visit http://bit.ly/MktgDef

For a deeper and strategically applicable treatment download my [free] e-book, The Four Faces of Marketing from http://j.mp/ALLmktg.

Marketing effort vs Market Positioning

The brawn is big budget. The brains is positioning.

Too many marketing strategists believe their own BS! Pricing Strategy, Communications strategy, Online Strategy, branding strategy etc. isn’t genius… it is obvious, common sense that evolves out of the fact that perfect knowledge leads to perfect decisions.

I’ve had an extraordinary number of commercial successes in my career, record-breaking ones… NOT because I am one bit smarter, more intuitive, have more street cunning or am unusually lucky, but because I persevered long enough in learning my trade to be able to recognise the one, inalienable truth of business: If you genuinely know what the customer wants and can give it to them, they WILL buy!

The absolute secret, of all extraordinary business success, is knowing the customer.

Is it REALLY that simple?

Whether it is the individual or the segment – yes!

There are so many examples of this across the internet, in each of our careers, recorded, diagnosed, studied and reported by academics around the world, and demonstrable in every case study and high return annual report… so why do we complicate and confuse, cloud and cover this fact?

Think about it…

Pricing Strategy: In particular Value-Based pricing? Know the customer!

Communications strategy: In particular advertising & positioning? Know the customer!

Retailing: In particular store layout, ranging, staffing, location? Know the customer!

Manufacturing: Everything from branding, sizing, packaging, new product development, distribution strategy? Know the customer!

Why is the business community in denial?

When FMCG hummed a merry tune, the industry habitually committed to segmentation studies annually… but as operational executives with corporate political skills rose in a culture of corporate arrogance, costs were cut to carve out larger profits, ignorant to the fact they were really blunting competitive advantage and digesting brand equity.

In adequately training marketing personnel, briefing and sustaining market research of questionable quality, undermined the payback from segmentation studies and other market research.

Over the years, the team at my firm has written strategy for transport, banks, FMCG, commodities, utilities, government that has generated record-breaking results, unimagined sales growth, and extraordinary profits… why? Simply better understanding of the customer – EVERY time!

The dynamics of the marketing world is now firmly ‘internet-centric’ .

 

At least ‘8 times more powerful than TV’ ever was, potentially more cost efficient on a cost per contact basis (although lack of skills means this does not yet hold true for many), able to target better than past media (skills allowing, again), faster, more flexible, and truly able to leap tall buildings in a single bound; internet marketing is at the future of marketing communications, at the least!

 

Now that Social Media Marketing has reached critical mass, it is vital that marketers embrace marketing theory. The multi stage mass communication model and the importance of the “Group Opinion Leader” is just one of many models that turns the medium into a deploy-able and useful tool… without it lays a HUGE chasm between mega-profits and reality

 

There is a lack of true marketing knowledge in many of the e-marketers of today… Their strong IT skills, and technical knowledge, have been won at the opportunity cost of not having equivalent knowledge in behavioural science, psychology, buyer behaviour, market maturity, the buyer adoption process, buyer readiness, market segmentation, brand adoption and the 1001 other tools trained into, familiar and understood by only those who dedicatedly devoted themselves to advanced marketing theory in academic and workplace training.

 

Technically savvy, who don’t know how much they don’t know, are costing BIG bucks, missing BIG opportunities, mis-directing energies and misaligning positioning in inefficient and destructive ways.

 

With SMM (Social Media Marketing) becoming the sizzling focus for those in pursuit of sustainable competitive advantage, PROFESSIONAL marketing know-how in these advanced strategic marketing skills are mandatory to really springboard super normal profits, using SMM.

 

Yes, trial and error, extraordinary intuition, blind luck also work…sometimes.

 

But there’s nothing like knowing what you are doing BEFORE you do it for time, and cost, efficiency.

 

Marketing theory, PROPERLY understood, and PROPERLY applied, has always secured marketing success. Now, more than ever before, are there opportunities and risks, in investing marketing spend without this knowledge.

So many businesses could boom beyond all expectations…
… If ONLY they knew how much they don’t know, when it comes to ‘marketing’.

So many still think that “marketing” is “promotion”. Others perceive it as simply ‘selling’. Dangerous CEO’s think marketing is just ‘fluff’.

Companies that have leaders with this perception are ultimately doomed… proven infinitely, too often, by companies, businesses, brands and products that ‘fail’.
In fact, companies, businesses, brands and products do NOT fail, management does!

But try telling the naïve, the ignorant and the uninformed: They don’t know how, if they’d only opened their minds, the bulletproof armour that ‘true’ marketing provides.

The complexity of this problem is exacerbated by the fact that too few senior executives were exposed to advanced marketing study at tertiary level, and that TOO MANY were so badly taught by so many inept academics, that the power of marketing methods was never revealed, ad that many students at University were so focussed on finishing their full-time degree and getting a job that they too quickly forgot the advanced skills they were taught much sooner in their careers than when they were called upon to use these skills.

When you cross-pollinate the additional issue of operational knowledge vs. academic knowledge (industry specific knowledge vs. strategic theory) the issue of corporate (and personal) arrogance raises its ugly head.

A common example of this is strategy problems that could easily be solved by product typing.

Take, for example, the B2C model of product type.
If you are selling guttering, time-share, insurance, or any other unsought good, the ‘rules’ say awareness is key. Too many guttering, all time-share and struggling insurance businesses don’t even grasp this!

Then, those that do don’t understand segmentation must be bought to turn this knowledge into profitable strategy development. Then, those that can, don’t have the acumen to brief, commission, or recognise good marketing research in terms of a segmentation study… and THAT’S assuming their management will empower them with enough funding to acquire this knowledge.

Then the organisation may not have adequately skilled people to interpret the research, brief and control the creative development in marketing communications, exercise scientific management of media variables (weight, reach, timing, competitive response, etc.) or the management of channels, production, product portfolio, pricing, people, processes, positioning, etc.

What happens in almost every industry is the LEAST WORSE battle for major market share, the completely devoid of know-how battle for crumbs.

IF a company flukes or actually plans using advanced, integrated strategic marketing, they end up with ‘unnatural’ marketing share levels of 80% plus… long term!
Look at Coke, Mars, McDonalds, and P&G: Companies embracing marketing scientists & enjoying the benefits.

Look at Ansett, FAI, thousands of SME’s that collapse annually… victims of their own refusal to believe they need marketing science.

Imagine a world where businesses, NFP’s and government bodies actually were truly marketing led and managed… utopia!

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Begin your trip towards explosive growth in sales and profits, by starting at:
http://bit.ly/MktgDef

The academic study of Marketing was initially undertaken to make business decision-making easy… and it worked! Marketing decisions that religiously, if not fanatically, followed the technical revelations of academic marketing teachings, have worked, and worked, and worked.
In my career, every single marketing plan based upon the teachings of my studies, and implemented accordingly, has “hit-the-ball-out-of-the-park”, so to speak.
In my 3rd year at Uni, a recent graduate guest lectured on the launch of Moove & & Good One in the 70’s, explaining how they simply applied text-book marketing theory and would up with the most successful marketing outcome in the history of milk marketing. It was text-book theory that was used to save and re-launch My Dog & in the 80’s.
With reverence to the KISS principle, after 13 years of studying marketing, 38 years of applying it, 7 years of teaching marketing at University, I can confidently suggest that the core to successful marketing comes from knowing the segments in the market place and targeting and positioning to attract preferred segments.
So, with segmentation being the virtual “road to riches”, you would think all marketing executives would scramble for any segmentation market research above all else, and covert the opportunity to get as much as possible to empower them and simplify their whole function.
Alas, few good marketers stand in the ranks of business, and many of these are constrained by superiors whose limitations create the black holes into which fall opportunity and money.
Reality slapped me in teh face recently, when my firm decided to systemise a method of empowering clients with segmenatation knwoledge, and offfered a promotion… 2 (ideally sequential, not mandatory) segmentation studies, worth around $160,000 for just $60,000 – with an $11,000 social media marketing promotion thrown in. This offer was sent to a select 60 key individuals I know needed a market segmentation study.
Can you guess the response?
Now these guys KNOW that “the segmentation studies they get now” – are likely (at best) to be performed by the guys that taught market research to their current suppliers of market research, so its not a matter of quality.
Loyalty? OK… is that loyalty well advise in the light of the best interests of shareholders? Is it in their own best interests to miss out on more frequent, timely and recent information? Given that fresh segmentation information could make the difference between growth or deletion, between profit and loss, between market dominance and market share erosion, wouldn’t it be worth the effort?
To a great marketer – this would be a great opportunity… there are just too few of them about.

What is the Marketing Concept? What is the basis of all marketing management?

Is it not meet the customers’ needs with available resources?

Is pushing an imperfect satisfaction of needs, via advertising, personal selling, tricky copy and negative options, give-aways and incentives, going to imbed success in a brand?

Is a badly thought-out product or brand extension, timed well or not, a failure because of insufficient advertising?

Not necessarily.

Looking at the purpose of a marketing expert’s being: For all exponents of the marketing profession, there is one focus… The needs and wants of the markets (or the targeted segments in which you are interested).

IF the market NEEDS advertising, if the ACTUAL product (as opposed to CORE product) includes imagery and positioning, then the marketer’s responsibility is to deliver those needs. In delivering the needs of the target audience, a marketer maintains brand equity, and thus, the life of the brand/product.

If the marketer just invests in advertising without understanding the customer, life cycle is bound to prematurely terminate, brand decay will set in, and brands will die…. in response, of course to substitutability, imitability, comparative value and rarity.

This turns focus not to the science of marketing but the skills abilities and talent of marketing management personnel.

Does management “get it”? Do they really UNDERSTAND ‘marketing’ or do they perceive it hype, advertising, or selling? Are they CAPABLE of embracing and applying marketing science, or simply charismatic diplomats, climbing the corporate ladder? Are they EMPOWERED with funds, autonomy, flexibility and leadership support to implement? Do they have the ACUMEN to pull it all together and planning skills to imbed the direction for years to come?

[The answer, by the way, is that ego and corporate arrogance, stop people like us helping people like them 😦 ]

There are no specific strategic models for FMCG brands to manage lifecycle because any generalisation would be fictitious nonsense.

The secret for ALL marketers is market segmentation.

Until decision makers recognise that there is no singular ‘market’, but a unique combination of segments that make up an individual market, we are unimpowered.

“Markets’ are as unique as people, segments as unique as human characteristics. Noses vary, size, hair, eyes, teeth, skin… just as segments are different. Individual products must be made to fit the attractive/targeted segments.
Just as nose drops may be useless as skin moisturisers, some products or brands may not appeal to some segments.

Brands can and do survive anticipated life cycles as a result of disciplined marketing strategies based upon trend analysis and rational strategic response to changes in segments.

Brands fail when companies choose to deliver what is easiest for them rather than what is demanded by the market. You can’t maintain a brand without market satisfaction. You can’t go wrong if you achieve market satisfaction.

But we can delve deeper into brands than that… For example, several years ago “Marlborough” was the 7th most valued brand in the world. Tobacco giants could have brought out new products to extend the life of the brand… not cigarettes, but other “Marlborough man” themed products… capitalising upon this brand equity and developing it according the changes in the market at a core product level – where the core product for growing segments was not ‘tobacco smoke for inhalation’, but (as a result of long term brand positioning) became ‘virile and manly country & western masculine image’. [For more on “Core Product see: http://www.launchengineering.com/ModelsLawsRules.htm, for more on “Market Segmentation see: http://www.launchengineering.com/Market_Segmentation.htm%5D

In summary, the commercial reality is that lifecycle is almost completely a function of competency of management rather than some ‘cosmic inevitability’. If management can identify and respond the change, a brand can live forever.

Ultimately, it is the 5th “P” of Marketing, PEOPLE, (in this case executive acumen) that make the difference between brand immortality and brand decay.