One of our clients, came to us and admitted that "Marketing doesn't work anymore".
It's quite an admission if you think about it. Not only are you saying that all the education and everything you have done so far in life is (sort of) invalidated, a classic case of "what got you here, won't get you there". But having the bravery of telling your senior team that Marketing isn't working again takes guts.
Anyway, we know have a number of clients that have admitted this and are going down a route of marketing that embraces the internet, social and mobile and does not rely on the interruption and broadcast techniques of the past.
It's strange, because every time we tell somebody "marketing isn't working" people nod and agree. But they haven't or wont do something about it.
So how do we help?
First of all, we run a strategy session for the C-Level executives / Board of Directors. This is not about teaching the C-Suite to use Twitter, what we do is take the Board through a workshop where they get to understand the business benefits of social for the organisation and the competitive advantage. From this we write a report on the "as is" current social status and the "to be" program they can follow, should they want to.
The output of that session maybe recommendations like following our social marketing, or social selling, or social human resources or social procurement, or social supply chain or employee advocacy programs. It is often social selling as this is a quick win which always shows a return that then can be revisited in the business.
This allows the board to understand how brave the people are and builds in the new program that meets the needs of today's buyer and seller.
Now there maybe people reading this that agree, yes, marketing isn't working as well as it might be. But it's clear of it's direction of travel, so at what point do you jump? At what point do you admit to the senior team that it isn't working any more. And at what point do you know you have the programs and Governance in place to replace what isn't working right now?
That state of affairs is all too common at large, successful enterprises. In the 1995 HBR article that laid the foundation for The Innovator’s Dilemma, Clayton Christensen and Joseph Bower noted that in confronting disruptive change, the heart of the challenge is a human one. Leaders understand that they must allocate human and financial resources to new-growth efforts or face a future in which start-ups and other rivals overtake them. Yet they are often paralyzed by the status quo and disagreement about the future.