Tuesday, May 22, 2007

"Hark, I Hear The Cannon Roar!"

On Today's Marketing "Stage", Surprises Can Happen - And Will!

By David Miranda

Marketing today is full of surprises and the great marketers will adapt and succeed.

It reminds me of a joke I heard recently.

"Five-year-old Johnny came home from school one day with a note pinned to his shirt. His mother removed the note, which was from his teacher, informing her that Johnny had been chosen to be in the school's upcoming holiday play just one month away. The note said that Johnny would have one spoken line in the play and encouraged his mother to have him memorize the line. Johnny's line was 'Hark, I hear the cannon roar'. Johnny's mom was, of course, delighted and began immediately to rehearse the line with her son. Each day after school, Johnny's mom would have him repeat the line over and over again until it became second nature to him. She was confident Johnny would do brilliantly. On the night of the play, Johnny's parents and family were in the filled auditorium. Finally the moment came and the cannon on stage fired with a huge bang. Johnny shouted, 'What the hell was that?' "

There are a lot of marketing "Johnnies" (and "JoAnnes") out there. They prepare and plan for performances on the marketing "stage", confident that their preparation and planning will lead to success - and then the "cannon roars" - and it's dramatically different than they expected, i.e. "what the hell was that?" The "that" is the unexpected - the market shifted this way; competitors did this instead of that; the budget was cut; etc. etc.

Marketers today must be agile and resourceful to succeed in a marketplace with rapid shifts and turns. Surprises happen and the distinction between strategy and tactics has blurred. We live in a new world of "stratactical marketing". This is a world where strategy and tactics must be developed and executed simultaneously.

Don't be surprised - be prepared.