How Hard Can It Be?
Monty Python had, in their one-off ‘How To’ series, a piece on how to play the flute. A flute, said the Pythons, is a metal tube with holes in it. Blow in it at one end, and move your fingers up and down over the holes, and that is how you play the flute. Presumably then, in order to win a Grand Prix, sit in the car, press the pedal and steer it quicker than anyone else, and that’s how you win. Easy. Marketing too: Isolate your target audience, address them with the most compelling marketing messages and reach for the paying-in book. How hard can anything be?
Oh, to be a marketer, eh? First up against the wall at the slightest hint of an economic downturn. Lip biting is part of the training, particularly when pitching to the CJ’s of this world: “I didn't get where I am today by using external marketing people” and desperately wanting to say "well, think how much more successful you could've been if you’d done top-notch marketing". Then there are the double standards…
Whilst CJ dismisses the marketer with a derisory wave of the hand, the very suggestion that anyone else, particularly one with little or no experience, could do his job would lead to apoplectic, vein-bulging, speechless fury. Some less scrupled marketing folks may use underhand tactics in developing new business that invariably leads to acrimonious fall-out if discovered by the client, yet said client would expect said marketer to use the same tactics on their behalf and without turning a hair; you've only to look at toothpaste advertising as a whole to see the evidence of this.
There are some clients who are natural marketers, and because of their own, intimate knowledge of the company genuinely don’t need any external help, and the honest, savvy marketer should be able to spot this. They are, however, very few and far between. If you put up a sign that reads "Free Money", they’d be queuing round the block. Put up a sign that reads "Savvy marketing will make you more profitable" and most companies won’t believe it. Marketing: how hard can it be?