The Secret Marketer

Our ‘man on the inside’ provides a view from the top of the marketing tree

I expect many of you, like me, are busy finalising your 2010 budgets. The joy of working for a large organisation is that there is a department for just about everything, which is mighty handy when you need help on human resources, company cars, IT, some nice stationery, a new coffee machine and other such value-adding corporate services.

Sadly, there is also a department for budgeting which generates rather more work than it solves. Just when you think that you have survived each painful process, your homework is then sent to group budgeting for further inspection. This department will, of course, insist upon at least some minor changes (for change’s sake). These will then cascade their way back down the line, keeping everybody very busy and feeling very important while achieving very little for shareholders. By the time you have navigated your way through this lot, you may have secured a sensible budget, but you won’t have much time or energy left to spend it.

After my latest submission, version 20.2.8, draft 2B, word has reached me that our numbers are finally getting “near where they need to be”. However, they still need to be formally signed off by the group treasury budgeting and forecasting committee chairman.

“My old mentor used to say: ‘Seek forgiveness, not approval’. Without his rebellious guidance, I would be a civil servant not a marketer”

I have heard a lot about this chap but never actually met him. I wonder: does he really exist or has he been created for others to hide behind? I am convinced that he used to be the boss of a local car showroom, hiding in his office awaiting visits from his sales reps in that well rehearsed negotiation routine. You know the type.

After months of this charade, I am out of patience. Despite detailed procedural advice to the contrary, I have decided to take the company’s various coded messages as formal approval of my plans. I am going to begin to spend (actually, don’t tell anyone but I already did so, several weeks ago).

My old mentor used to say: “Seek forgiveness, not approval, young man”. He was right about a lot of things and without his rebelliousguidance, I would long since have become a civil servant rather a marketing director. But more on that after I’ve spent a bit of this cash…


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