VOL. MMXIII..No. 209

the evolutionary shopper | WHAT THEY'RE DOING NOW

Marketing 2010: What’s It Worth To You?

With a recession comes deep cuts in operational budgets and retailers were no different in the darkest days of 2009. Marketing departments shrank and even mammoth retailers were working with skeleton crews of marketing managers or in some cases, one lone VP doing the lion’s share of work in wrangling vendors and pushing promotions.

 

Many think marketing is expendable. Some think it’s just hanging a sign in your window that says, “Mother’s Day Gifts, ”or throwing a cocktail party. But marketing is strategic and it doesn’t need to be brain surgery to ensure an impact on your business.

 

I know many retailers who spend hundreds of thousands (and even millions) of dollars on complicated, long-winded campaigns and in-store drivers with marketing mechanics that are so overblown and unnecessary that the only people who are driven are the marketing assistants who have to put it all in motion. It’s not Las Vegas folks, it’s a department store.

 

Good marketing is consistent and message-driven. The consumer believes and understands the value proposition — whether it’s a luxury retailer or a discounter.

 

As a consultant, I often receive queries from clients who, having long ignored the need for a proper marketing plan (or having assassinated their entire marketing team) come seeking a quick fix.  But very often what I discover is that a brand’s marketing (or lack thereof) is a kind of Rorschach for the dysfunctional inner-workings of a company’s vision and corporate strategy.

 

A well-oiled machine does not lie: a company that is functioning well on the inside is usually running well on the outside too. It is able to spring into action and react to the changes in the market. In order for great marketing to occur, there cannot be a disconnect between corporate and retail: if store employees are not given credit and transparency into the executive suite then you might as well blind-fold them.

 

As a consultant, my job is not to drink the Kool-Aid.

 

Often I’m faced with an organization where senior executives are either completely blinded or in denial to their company’s shortcomings. We’ve seen this happen with many big name retailers in 2009 and even in 2010.

 

376 companies per day sought bankruptcy protection in the first two quarters of 2009. Which ones sacrificed long-term strategic marketing for short-term gain?

 

Gottschalk’s, Max Factor, Circuit City, the list has grown long of brand’s that were long in the tooth and should have known better. Who was driving? Why didn’t we suspend their license especially with so many employees who had to be the casualties?

 

Of course, it wasn’t always simply a lack of marketing strategy. But the most successful brands are keenly aware of innovating their product, optimizing their retail experience (both online and bricks and mortar) and making their people — the talented folks who are in the trenches building the brand — their most strategic investment.

 

In these competitive times, there is no room for mediocrity.

 

Have you ever examined Google’s job application process? While at times their human resources strategy seems to include the use of Tarot cards and Scientology, it speaks of a company that weighs each hire very carefully, balancing employee development with employee rate of return.

 

Marketing and brand strategy isn’t so much about the numbers as it is about the alliance of great product, great people, and a vision for how to make the consumer a key part of the equation in building the brand’s ultimate deliverable: satisfaction and allegiance.

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2 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mash Bonigala. Mash Bonigala said: » Marketing 2010: What's It Worth To You? | Branding The Man Blog … http://bit.ly/cnUJ6h […]

  2. […] bottom line is, as Bertrand Pellegrin says in his blog post Marketing 2010: What’s It Worth To You?, that: Marketing and brand strategy isn’t so much […]

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