The Secret Marketer: leave it to the experts

Some of you will have seen the recent news story regarding Cecilia Giménez – the 81-year-old Spanish parishioner who undertook an unauthorised attempt to restore a prized Jesus Christ fresco in her local church in Zaragoza.

Secret Marketer

Reportedly upset at the way the fresco had deteriorated, she took it on herself to “restore” the image but alas her handiwork was – to understate things – not quite as good as that of the original artist, a century earlier.

Which made me think about all the people within the businesses that I have worked for over the years, who have “meddled” in what I consider to be marketing, albeit all with the “best of intentions”.

These include the sharp media salesman, who phones your managing director, gives him the spiel and before you know it, you’ve been signed up to some completely wasteful advertising opportunity.

Or the agency chief who bumps into your chief executive at an industry get-together, and convinces him to invite them in to pitch their wares, and then leaks it to the marketing press, leaving you and your incumbent agency in the middle of a PR crisis.

Reports of an unauthorised restoration of a prized fresco reminds me of the finance director’s comment that he doesn’t like red

Or the star of a previous column of mine, the CEO who told me “the role of market research is to teach my marketing director what I already know”.

The list goes on to include a comment from the finance director that he doesn’t like the colour red – moments after I have shared the new campaign (which had, yes, you guessed it, lots of red) with the board.

Or the speech that your boss gives to an assembled audience that bears no relationship to the brief you had given them just minutes before.

And the top-secret product launch that you have spent months putting together that your boss “helpfully” mentions to a journalist the day before the carefully timed “exclusive” runs with a rival paper.

The challenge we face as a profession is that everyone feels they can “do” marketing. As customers, they feel well placed to proffer their opinions.

While engagement is to be encouraged, the lack of a true appreciation that marketing is a professional discipline like finance, legal or HR, is always going to put us on the back foot when it comes to the “do gooders” in our business.

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