Marketing happens with or without proper attention. Markets respond to well targeted offers made by well-positioned sellers who properly and consistently present their value proposition in well planned media and sales campaigns. That mouthful means It’s up to you to determine whether or not they respond to your marketing, or your competition’s.
If you’re one of the good ones, you’ve taken control of the marketing function to reduce costs for lead generation, customer retention efforts, customer support & market communications – even as your marketing program effectiveness and ROI skyrocket. You and your now accountable colleagues are hailed as heroes bathed in sweetness and light in a garden of marketing roses. Truly, it happens!
More often then not, though, marketing is treated as a necessary evil, and an unprofitable byproduct of the business core. It may not even be a budget entity. In this case marketing becomes a catch-all for everything that is not sales or production. This is Zombie marketing that may be known from its dilution of responsibilities and its nonexistent accountability for all manner of will-nilly marketing projects rehashed from earlier efforts, or developed unplanned and as-needed (or late to never!).
Anecdotal evidence of what happens with Zombie marketing over time includes: brand confusion, sales/profit stagnation or loss, and erosion of market share.
Frustrations mount over time along such Zombi highways paved with adequate, if not the best of intentions. Piddling 1,2 & 3 star customer experiences become the norm. Fewer and fewer prospects turn into fewer and fewer new customers. Existing customer orders fall off and nobody knows why. Zombies rarely get burned for going with the flow. This is especially true in the business-to-business selling world with extended sales cycles involving lots of influencers, decision makers, and procedures where death can be from a 1,000 hard-to-track cuts.
You know who you are. Perhaps your company has grown, along with the number of hats everyone wears. Marketing – what is that? We’ve made it this far, haven’t we?
Even so, the “things” of marketing that need doing somehow manage to get done sooner or later in some way, shape or form. Piece meal marketing projects may be shared or divided among Sales, Operations, IT, Division Management, or even Secretary hat wearers. He or she gets today’s marketing hat who drew the short straw to shepherd a much needed website, PR, ad program, or any one of a number of sales support productions, i.e. videos, brochures, presentations, or events.
There’s hope. You acknowledge such random Zombie acts of marketing aren’t ideal. You realize management by reaction; this is marketing in pieces is unsustainable. Competition is nipping at your heels. You’re hearing more and more customer suggestions, if not complaints (and on social media, no less!). Department heads are screaming. Morale is sinking into fatalism. You want to turn this grayness into sweetness & light in your very own garden of marketing roses.
You get a glimpse of a bigger marketing picture. You start asking pointed questions. How do each of these Zombie marketing things you’ve just been throwing into the mix: Work for a common corporate goal? Get prioritized? Account for effectiveness? Promote a consistent brand? Work together to gain new customers? Keep existing customers coming back?
You’ve reached the end of my attention span for this exciting episode of Zombies encounter sweetness & light in the garden of marketing roses, Part I.
Look for Zombies cured by sweetness & light in the garden of marketing roses, Part II in the near future.
Those anxious for a more personal solution to a Zombie Marketing issue may contact the author, Emil Walcek, at: