The aim of Marketing?

Your opinion: The aim of Marketing? (Peter Drucker)

“The aim of marketing is to knoww and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself” – Peter Drucker

Did we lose (some) touch with this initial insight by mr. Drucker, looking at nowadays marketing?

Gianluigi Cuccureddu

Consultant ? Marketing Strategist ? Venture Advisor

In short, “yes”. I think that we’ve generally lost touch with those principles. It’s not just marketing products and services. It’s permeated our entire culture. Low-quality “shotgunning” has been slowly replacing targetted, quality interactions. Email customer support, recuriting by keywords, telemarketers, facebook friendships, offshoring and outsourcing, 500 channels and nothing to watch, disposable “everything”, etc. It’s hard to argue with the approach when you can spend next to nothing to saturate thousands with your message and get a handful of positive hits in a matter of minutes. Even if you take into account the number of people that you piss off in the process, the sheer numbers tend to make the behavior worthwhile. Why take the time to do it right when you can be “good enough?

I think that we’re coming to a point where people are going to be willing to pay more to get back that personal touch and connection. They’re starting to recognize that they’re being treated like mindless cattle. Taking the time to understand the customer needs isn’t the “given” that it used to be and Quality has been replaced by “I can live with that”. But I beleive that the pendulum is swinging back and a return to these principles is going to become the differentiator that raise organizations above their competition. (at least I hope so. The alternative is that we continue down the path of information/crap overload and our needs get lost in the noise)

Should your business allow staff access to Social Networks in the office.,,. while using them to build business traffic?.

Facebook on or off? I recently suggested to a client that to add value to his new website – he needs a Facebook and Myspace presence for his company … a recruitment and temporary staffing business. His reply was that he was turning off access to them because his staff waste to much time there.
How do I convince him to balance the benefits with the distractions?

Rick Carter

Helping People/Organisations to Build Dynamic, Vital Brands using Social Media Marketing

Social networks are a double-edged sword.

There’s a lot of value to social networks for business contacts, customer interaction, feedback, and just providing a “human face” to the company. But when you blur the lines between the business and personal interactions, you run the risk of someones “off hours” activities reflecting poorly on the company. The flip side of that is that you may find yourself in a position of trying to exert control over what amounts to someone’s personal life.

My recommendation is that the access be allowed, but that personal profiles and “company presence” profiles be kept seperate. Make it clear that the “company presence” profile is subject to review and audit and has to conform to some sort of “appropriateness” guidelines. (also, that it shouldn’t be linked to personal profiles…if it is, they become subject to the same guidelines).

Encourage peer review of the profiles or assign someone to periodically review how these profiles/presences are maintained and managed. It’s not that much different than an employee writing letters to the editor or giving public presentations or interviews. If they’re doing it on behalf of the company, let them do it on company time, with company resources and while adhering to company standards. If it’s personal, then do it on your own time and keep the company out of it completely.

Where it gets a little more hazy is with sites like LinkedIn. It’s clearly a business tool and people can easily maintain professional profiles, relationships and exchanges that are business appropriate but not neccessarily related to the company. I tend to view these as “professional development”. If my staff wants to engage in these discussions, it helps to develop business skills, grow their professional network and helps to increase their overall value to the company. Each exchange is like a little “mini conference” or Users Group meeting without the cost of travel and living.

With that said, if they spent 6 hours a day on social networking sites, they’d better spend the rest of the day working on resumes 🙂

I Beleive…

A consultant’s only asset with any long-term value is reputation.

Technologies fall out of favour. Business Processes evolve. Companies are bought and sold. Ultimately, the only asset that a consultant has is their reputation and ethics. Many consultants (and consulting organizations) forget this and focus on the short-term value of inflated billing, placing inexperienced consultants, under-bidding and then running over budget, working on poorly considered client projects, etc. While this short-term approach may be financially profitable, it results in unhappy clients, a bad “street cred” and can ultimately lead to the ruin of the consulting organization or even the client companies.

Communication is at the heart of every successful project

A team that doesn’t communicate well internally, with the customer and with the vendors will fail. The project may be completed, but the results will be less than optimal, the project will be more expensive than required and the ongoing support costs will ultimately be higher. Clients, Management, Vendors and the direct project team need to function as a unified whole to ensure success.

Technology has no inherent value

The only value that technology has is in how it can bring value to the business. Implementing technology for the sake of technology is not only a waste of time and money, but can ultimately be detrimental to the business. Some companies don’t need a web site. Many organizations don’t need to engage in eCommerce. Implementing a multi-million dollar ERP system for a company with $500K worth of revenues isn’t going to magically drop them into the Fortune-50. Regardless of what the “other guys” are doing, your projected ROI (return on investment) should be the main driver behind any new technology initiative.

ROI (Return on Investment) doesn’t always mean direct revenue or cost savings

Your “return” on a project is nothing more or less than “business value”. Laying the groundwork to be able to exploit future opportunities, increasing your organizational agility, improving employee or customer satisfaction are all incredibly valuable to sustaining and growing your business. Many companies destroy their agility and their own futures by not quantifying these “soft benefits” or considering them as important as the hard dollars.

Nobody ever knowingly makes a wrong decision

This statement replaces the traditional “The Customer is Always Right”. If there are two diametrically opposed approaches, chances are that somebody is working with incomplete assumptions or data. By acknowledging that nobody knowingly makes a wrong decision, open communication of the relevant information can uncover where the disconnect has occurred.

If it’s not measured, it’s not managed

Project Management is a science and not an art. Deliverables should be objective, quantified (or at least enumerated in some way) and tracked. If an objective is not measurable, it can’t be tracked or monitored. If it can’t be monitored, it certainly can’t be managed. In many cases, Project Managers encounter deliverables that they feel can’t be objectively measured. If that’s the case, then the deliverable needs to be broken down or redefined to provide a clear set of exit or acceptance criteria. Committments need to be either time-based or event driven. “Whenever” often becomes “Never” or results in a last minute rush with predictably poor results.

Costs should not exceed the expected benefits

A client should clearly understand the benefits of the project, the projected value of these benefits to the organization and the costs of implementation, training and long-term support. If the costs exceed the potential benefits (direct and indirect), the project needs to be restructured or abandoned. Implementing a solution simply for prestige, empire building or billing purposes is irresponsible and unethical and can lead to disastrous long-term results.

Excessive analysis/planning/requirements definition, etc. are as crippling as no analysis/planning/requirements definition.

Most people and organizations are familiar with “Analysis Paralysis”, the inability to make a decision without analyzing every tiny detail, facet, risk, etc. to the exclusion of any real work. The new trend is a form of “Methodology Fundamentalism”, the tendency of an organization to adopt a methodology word-for-word rather than applying it appropriately for the tasks/project at hand. It’s important for everyone to understand the steps and the processes required to manage a project, but it’s equally important to know when the effort required to carry out a task outweighs the benefits. When a team can communicate effectively, there is a natural tendency to want to work using a cascaded development approach. A linear approach is appropriate for some projects, but where a cascade approach is applicable, accepting and embracing it up-front will make for a much more efficient and predictable project.

People shouldn’t be “shoe-horned” into roles as a client “make work” effort or in an attempt to increase billing.

Everyone has their own expertise, knowledge-base, interests and abilities. It is the responsibility of the Project Manager to understand where the strengths and interests of each team member lie. Furthermore, it is the PMs responsibility to ensure that everyone is engaged to the best of their abilities and with the best long-term outlook possible. Using resources inappropriately wastes everyone’s time and effort.

Ongoing Documentation is essential

Everyone should be working with the ultimate goal of becoming redundant. It takes very little effort to document throughout the project and revise the documentation as necessary. However, it can be an overwhelming or impossible task to document retroactively.