Marketing Mindshare

by Chris Kenton on July 19, 2005

I’m at an event in Boston this week for senior marketers–a week long summit of targeted sessions on everything from Competitive Intelligence to CRM optimization. It’s an interesting crowd–maybe 200 or so marketing executives and 30 vendors. The event is hosted by Frost & Sullivan, and I’m actually here to support the marketing and sales team of one of my clients, Leverage Software.

The event is pretty well produced as far as conferences go–the venue is right on the harbor, the networking is well facillitated, the crowd is highly qualified and strategic–nicely done. My only complaint is at a much higher level. When you get a few hundred marketers in the room together and start threading the crowd to network, you get a really good sense of the current position of marketing evolution. There’s certainly a lot of activity out there–busyness–but the signal-to-noise ratio isn’t what I would have hoped by this point.

Here’s the problem: While the activity of marketing is changing, the mentality is too much the same. The activity of marketing today is focused on accountability, metrics, ROI. It’s all about efficiency. If marketing can line 100 ducks up on the fence, sales can shoot 1.5 of them. And the big objective of today’s marketer is to improve that ratio to 1.7.

What few marketers seem to appreciate is that you can be remarkably efficient at serving your market poorly. The mentality needs to change from shooting a fraction of your ducks and calling that success, to gathering those 100 ducks off the fence and cultivating them into a channel that can consistently offer up 1.5 new customers, without making the other 98.5 gun shy. You do that by engaging with your market, cultivating peer connections, collaboration and dialog–not by spouting positioning messages and applying your cookie cutter qualifiers. That, by the way, is why we’re here with Leverage, because they provide software that enables such an approach.

As a blog entry this is oversimplified to the point of being parody. But I just want you to know that I’m milling around this show with a highly concentrated crowd of high-level marketers–and as events go, it’s a decent one–but it feels like there’s not enough octance in the fuel.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Thom Singer July 21, 2005 at 2:04 pm

Great post, entertaining and yet so true.

Isn’t one of the problems that many people in marketing roles have never been in sales? I find that sales and marketing often forget that they are on the same team with the same goals. I have been in both roles in my career, and have seen sales complain about the ability of the marketing professionals ….and marketing complain about abilitiy of the sales people.

Success for both is in new business. If that is not the goal of sales and marketing they should just spend the day at the arcade shooting tin ducks of a fence.

Thanks for your blog. I like it.

Dale Wolf July 23, 2005 at 7:42 am

I did a post on my blog on just about the same subject. Moving to the new future of marketing is tough when we don’t want to let go of the past. Safety nets and old paradigms bog us down in the old Two Percent Model. Incremental improvements are not the answer. Going from 2% to 4% is a 100% improvement, but it’s still just 4%.

Business and Real Estate July 30, 2005 at 11:30 am

What Is a Brand? Name, Sign, Symbol that Differentiates

By Christopher Kenton What, Exactly, Is a Brand? – “What is a Brand?” Your brand is your name, your logo, your trade dress. Your Name, Sign or Design and there are clear written laws to protect it….

Ralph Barsi August 2, 2005 at 10:20 am

So what came first? The chicken or the egg? Is Sales the lifeblood or is it Marketing?

I don’t want to witness the waning of your blog, Chris. Your record proves you have a lot to say, argue, teach, and challenge your colleagues with – so keep ‘em comin’.

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