Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Brand Value

It doesn’t matter what you do in marketing. If you are a product manager, a research director, a vice president of sales and marketing or an account executive, it’s inevitable that you’ll have to face the blank page. Your company and your clients expect you to convince them in writing that your ideas have merit. Unless you put it in writing the thinking may be lost forever. And if you don’t put it in writing it’s also pretty likely that your argument will lack the logical flow and persuasiveness it will have when you take the time to write it down. Writing can be very difficult. It’s a lonely discipline. Your job as a marketing person is to be articulate about the needs of your customer prospects. Remember that you are the one that is responsible for understanding your consumers. Your company might have a sales group, a manufacturing division, accountants and financial personnel and maybe a human resources office. All of them need marketing communications in some form or another to be effective in what they do. It all starts with you. If you don’t believe me, consider the following:

A sales guy in his office picks up the phone to call a prospect.
“Hello, I’m Tom Terrific from the ACME Widgit company. I’m calling you to tell you about how great our widgets are. And we have a giant factory we’re building. Our guys in purchasing are the best in the world. And we’ve been in business since 1904.”


The prospect hung up. Why? Because the salesman didn’t say anything relevant.

An assembly line worker convinces his foreman that the company can produce 25% more widgets if we just skip a routine inspection step. The trouble is this step is directly related to the quality assurance of 99% defect-free claim in the company’s advertising campaign. Is a 25% increase in productivity worth a 50% reduction in customer confidence in your brand of widgets? (Needless to say, the profit margin will fall with customer confidence too.)

ACME Widgets is privately held but is considering an Initial Public Offering (IPO) so the founding family can retire to Florida. The Chief Financial Officer calls the lawyers and brokers who can help him take the company public. In the first meeting the broker says “How do you expect to sell stock in a company hardly anyone has ever heard of? And those who have heard of ACME consider our Widgets a parity product.” Suddenly the accountants and financial people wish they approved the brand building campaign the Marketing Department proposed 5 years ago.

Finally, human resources is trying to recruit top graduates from Harvard’s new masters of widget engineering program. It’s the best in the country. Unfortunately your chief competitor, ABC Widgets ran spots on the Super Bowl. They’re offering less money but graduates assume ABC is a more fun place to work and has a better idea about their career path.

What are you gonna do? Write it down. Start the marketing ball rolling. It’s up to you.

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