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Harsh words are spoken, promises are broken September 1, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, marketing.
Tags: , ,
Acta non verba

Acta non verba

Are we really marketing something 24/7? Ourselves? Our world view? The part of town we live in? The kind of computer we use?


My mate Jules refers to it as social capital, and while in this series he talks about it with regards to a necklace, there’s really an element of it in everything we do.

Our workplaces have it as well, and often companies market to themselves and to their employees just as much as they market to potential customers. The transaction is the same, and goes like this:

  1. A statement is made.
  2. An action takes place.
  3. An observer (the employee, the potential customer, my friend at the pub) hears the words and observes the behaviour and then checks if it matches up.
  4. An opinion based on the correlation between words and deeds is formed.
  5. We rinse and repeat.

That’s marketing people, it isn’t rocket science. If your actions do not routinely match what comes out of your mouth, nobody will take you seriously. Marketing is a part of business strategy, a process of aligning a business so that its actions (which is the core function of the business) match up to the words (which is the core function of marketing).

Can someone please remind me why marketing and business development are still arranged at odds with each other?

Image courtesy of Rico Morán (note: not Rick Moranis), with thanks to compfight.


1. jyesmith - September 1, 2008

The same thing might also be said within publishers in regards to journalists. What’s your point of view on that? Who’s making the statement? Who’s driving this conversation?

2. Matt - September 1, 2008

What successful, modern companies are saying that marketing and business/product development are arranged at odds with each other? Even Ford and GM are starting to cotton on…

3. David Gillespie - September 1, 2008

Jye – the conversation is being driven by editorial agenda, same as always. The Australian takes a right-wing POV, The Age/SMH more centrist, both in line with their owners. There’s no insight there, just the way it is.

Matt – the companies aren’t saying it, I am. Sales and marketing have always been at odds with each other. Marketing hassles sales to take their advice, sales hassles marketing for a golden egg that will convince anyone to buy.

Sales, marketing and product development should function as a single unit. In most businesses they have competing agendas which is why bus dev and marketing so often get out of sync. This isn’t just my idea by the way – Seth devoted a book to it.

4. Matt - September 2, 2008

Yeah, I know what you’re saying, but what companies still do have their product development and marketing departments at odds with each other?

I’d argue that most big, modern, successful companies have got big and successful because product development IS their marketing strategy. Toyota is kicking Ford and GMs arse for that reason; Google, Dell, Hyundai, Amazon, Boost, Sony and Nokia are other great examples.

You asked for someone to remind you why marketing and business development are still arranged at odds with each other – I’m asking, who actually still holds that view? P&G and Colgate-Palmolive probably do, but how else DO you increase market-share of a consumer staple? If you can think of some other good examples I’m all ears…

5. Matt - September 2, 2008

(The Body Shop is another great example)

6. David Gillespie - September 2, 2008

You offer up a ton of great examples there Matt, I cannot argue with most. I’m going to pull you up on Google though, largely because they do not market, their products are their marketing and that is an important point of differentiation between companies that market their products and companies that release products everybody else markets. I’d put Amazon in that category too (people tell others about their service).

Excusing Google and Amazon, who above could succeed on word of mouth alone? (not arguing, asking)

Back to the original point, I actually think Dell are not a great example, I think they’ve been successful but from a consumer standpoint they got trampled a couple years back thanks to “Dell Hell” and are only now recovering from it through consciously realising their words and their actions did not match and aligning their business practices appropriately. A bunch of the above examples are yet to do that (eg. Boost claim environmental awareness yet only recently started testing recycled paper cups in their stores).

My original point was around the sales and marketing teams not working together as they should, but the conversation very quickly leapt (and rightfully so) into the products both were serving. It’s ultimately around the story or promise of the brand; do sales and marketing enhance that story or detract from it? Do sales find themselves pushing a product they know won’t do what marketing says it will do? Does marketing think it gave sales what it wanted? Do the product guys bang their heads on the desk wishing they were out on the floor? All interesting questions probably facing a bunch of the above companies.

This is a long comment, one area I wanted to get into but I might lave for a separate post is all of the above examples are FMCG companies – how does this idea affect content-driven companies, a movie studio for example?

7. I’m a rocker, baby I’m a rocker « Creative Is Not A Department - September 9, 2008

[…] said last week marketing isn’t rocket science, and it isn’t. Unfortunately it’s also almost completely devoid of the courage required […]

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