Archive for November, 2010

Marketing isn’t easy. If you want results.

Posted on November 26, 2010. Filed under: Advertising, Communications, Marketing | Tags: , , , , , , |

To make the realities in this post easier to swallow, listen to Sinatra’s swingy version of “Nice ‘n Easy.”

I just had dinner with my friend Mary Kay who’s a research consultant. We were talking about how difficult it seems in these dollar-tight days for marketing companies and consultants to be valued for the expertise they bring to the table. Everybody’s afraid to commit budget these days, and many companies are adopting a DIY or make-do approach. How to make the case to prospects and clients that failing to get the marketing help they need is counterproductive? Especially in a rapidly evolving marketing environment.

Then, like a flash, I remembered a piece of sublime wisdom that I learned from Al the Drain Man, my highly competent plumber – who is a big Frank Sinatra fan and also inspired the musical post today.

Al once shared his mantra with me: Nothing is easy.

He developed this belief over time after countless responses to calls where customers (including me the day he told me this) implored him, “Al can you get over here for fifteen minutes. I just have a simple and easy thing. It’ll take you no time. The sink’s dripping and driving us crazy (or whatever) and I’m sure it just has to be tightened up.”

Al would show up, take one studied look and realize that — counter to the customer’s amateur assessment — he was dealing not with a simple loose fitting, but years of neglect, or the incompetence of the original installer, or an unpredictable shifting of the soil under the house or a thousand other unforeseen problems.

Al would then use his experience to diagnose the real problem and spend the time required to resolve it. Even though it might have taken hours – not minutes – undoubtedly his expertise and skill would make it a faster and better job than were he a less accomplished craftsman.

Because it feels safer, we humans tend to minimize what’s required to resolve a problem or reach a goal. Often a prospective client will say to us, “We don’t have a budget. We’re just a start-up.” This, of course, doesn’t bode well for future success. Or we’ll hear, “We just need a press release (or a web page). Could you do that for us?” Sorry. Not if you really want to accomplish something.

Successful marketing just isn’t that easy. There are more and more moving parts and it can take a skilled marketing or PR practitioner to provide the thinking, strategy and implementation required to get those parts moving in synch. Companies need to plan for marketing and commit realistic budgets in order to compete in a more and more diverse, complex and competitive marketing arena.

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