Monday, February 5, 2007

The Apartheid Of Marketing In Business

Why Do We Continue To Segregate Marketing In Business?

By David Miranda

No, this is not about race, ethnicity, religion, sexual preference or gender. It is about the marketing discipline. The American Heritage Dictionary defines apartheid as "the condition of being separated from others". It is high time that marketing was formally integrated into and across all disciplines within an enterprise.

We have all been exposed to marketing that sets high expectations for a brand, more often than not, disappointed with the actual experience. We see smiling friendly faces in ads, but experience people who have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. We hear promises of friendly, prompt, and courteous service, only to call and hear recordings on how long the wait time is. We find out that brand promises are not promises at all, just marketing speak. Fast food isn't fast at all. Express aisles are not express. Query calls and emails are not responded to promptly. Too often, businesses hide behind too many "I'm sorrys", as in, "I'm sorry for the wait", "I'm sorry I'm not here to take your call", or "I'm sorry for the delay in getting back to you." But they want to remind you the care with "Your business is very important to us". Sure.

One might call this bad management or poor execution. The fact is that these are all examples of poor marketing. Yes, poor marketing. One cannot make a sale if consumers are dissatisfied with how they are treated by the brand. Consumers do not make a distinction that it was operations or accounting or the IT department.

This problem occurs countless times every day and will continue to occur until the enterprise eliminates the apartheid in the corporate structure. Marketing must be integrated throughout the culture of the enterprise.

Here are the arguments:

  • Everything inside a company is a cost. All sales are generated outside the company. In order to get someone to buy something, you first must get someone to want it. That's what marketing does and everyone in the company should understand and embrace this basic tenet from the CEO to those on the front line and everyone in between. A marketing-savvy culture creates a strategic competitive advantage.

  • Everyone in the enterprise is a marketing ambassador for the enterprise each with his or her own social network. Each represents a source of marketing intelligence, sales leads, engagement, suggestions, etc. Positive or negative word-of-mouth.

  • Everyone in the company, not just the marketing department, has a vested interest in being "keepers of the brand". Since everything in marketing communicates, everyone in the company should be disciplined to respect the integrity of the brand - in their demeanor, daily communications, and interactions with each other and with third parties.
In summary, stamp out marketing apartheid and make a committment to integrate marketing to everyone in the company.

It has top and bottom line benefits.