Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Marketing Theory Sounds Easy but Too Many Fail the Practical

Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Marketing Theory Sounds Easy but Too Many Fail the Practical

Article excerpt

I was once hired by a multi-national to spend two days training their senior managers in marketing. The client had a reputation for having outstanding employees and the biographies of the course participants were very impressive. While none of the group had any direct experience in marketing, their seniority and qualifications were excellent.

By the end of the first day I was struggling. We had reviewed examples of good and bad marketing practice and looked at a whole raft of case studies and concluded with what I hoped would be a triumphant revelation: marketing is all about finding out who your customers are, discovering what they want and then making sure they get it.

The problem for the group was that this sounded extremely obvious. Worse still, it appeared a relatively simple goal to achieve. Over dinner on that first evening one participant even wondered aloud how it was possible to spend four years studying for a PhD in Marketing if the subject was so simple.

I failed. I failed so badly that as I flew home at the end of the course I even wondered to myself whether marketing really was that difficult after all. The following week, however, I took a consulting job with a client that, like the majority of British businesses, had no idea about marketing. It had a tremendous advertising campaign (and budget to boot) and a swanky new logo, but failed all my revelatory tests of marketing competence. The client had very little idea who its customers were, certainly no clue as to what these mysterious individuals wanted and consequently, despite healthy sales figures, no real idea what value it was providing. …

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