Marketers must accept change

Let there be light! At last somebody who understands the need for radical and drastic change to the way we work.

Hugh Davidson’s “Even more offensive marketing” goes some way to addressing the fact that many marketing departments are passive bureaucracies processing paper and statistics. Often these bureaucracies are deserts, devoid of belief, conviction and vision. However, they are, when you hold up a mirror, only a reflection of a company’s existing corporate culture and it is this culture that needs changing.

Too many companies, including manufacturers, seem intent on maintaining the status quo. They seem oblivious to the need for change – the adapt-or-die analogy. A conservative corporate culture can be highly restrictive and stifle the natural, entrepreneurial spirit of many individuals. A commercial defensive wall can become a prison for offensive marketers. The problem for manufacturers is made doubly worse because of their historical baggage. Tangible assets like factories and the domination of prod- uction issues often undermine brand development and innovation.

When Hugh lists qualities like courage, determination, persistence and risk-taking he must be aware that these qualities are often diametrically opposed to the prevailing culture. Not only that, but you cannot measure them. Something that the navel-gazing “marketeaucrats” insist on doing to virtually anything within reach.

The real challenge lies with the chief executives, board directors, financial directors and senior management to understand, value and embrace the importance of the marketing function and the value of risk-taking. Only then can marketers be truly empowered to innovate and to create ways forward. the question is whether or not management, many of whom have been taught a different creed, can believe in a new one.

If they fail to recognise the need for change then when they next look in the mirror they may well see somebody else standing there.

Matthew O’Connor

Managing director

Robinson Mac

London EC2

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