Marketing experts: Never forget that we are at war

Blockbuster is often cited as the poster kid of companies that got blindsided by a new rival. In just 6 years, Blockbuster went from $6 billion of revenue to personal bankruptcy, while Netflix went from a couple of hundred million to $2. two billion.

Blockbuster certainly made a lot of mistakes on the way for their bankruptcy, and I’ m sure many a business case study has protected these in great detail. The summary of Blockbuster’ s folly is that they forgot one simple rule associated with business: Businesses operate in a condition of perpetual warfare.

The more successful a business, the more likely it really is that hungry competitors are working non-stop to take away its clients. This is often accomplished by selling the same item for less, providing better service, benefiting from economies of scale, making a much better product, hiring a better sales team and so forth.

Businesses that don’ t act like they are constantly below attack from the competition won’ big t be prepared to defend their business once the attack comes. And it will come!

In this article, I’ ll discuss two frustrating examples where marketing and advertising teams underestimate the seriousness from the threat. First, I’ ll display how this manifests itself along with in-house marketing teams, and 2nd, within agencies themselves.

In-house marketing teams: No, thanks a lot, we can fight alone

About the most frustrating experience to have an agency is to do amazing work with a client, exceed every goal possible, provide great strategy, and then possess the client announce that they have decided to fireplace the agency and bring almost everything in-house.

In most instances, whenever pressed for the reason for this choice, it usually comes down to a “ feeling” or “ belief” that will “ we just need to run this particular piece of marketing in-house. ”

Imagine if Winston Churchill had told Roosevelt in 1943 that American help with World War II had been no longer needed because he just a new feeling that the Brits were likely to be able to handle everything on their own. We would be speaking German in London these days!

Churchill, like all of great leaders, sought every benefit he could, understanding that the battle towards Nazi Germany was literally an existential fight.

I’ mirielle not suggesting that in-house groups should never replace agencies with in-house teams; my point is that in the war, leaders shouldn’ t create cavalier decisions based on gut, neither should leaders replace a power with an unknown — at least not really without a lot of data and evaluation.

Again, imagine that a company is achieving 3x the anticipated performance for a marketing campaign. Replacing that will agency with the in-house team with no “ bake-off, ” or tests of the in-house team’ s functionality vis-à -vis the agency, will be a major risk for the company. If the 3x performance disappears, the company’ t competitors may get the boost they have to win.

There is no space for “ feeling” or “ politics” or “ empire-building” within war. Companies that allow these types of qualitative factors to cloud their particular decision-making will not lead their soldires to victory.

Companies: I’ m too busy to consider better weapons

Period management is a major struggle intended for agency employees. Most employees work together with numerous clients — all of who deservedly expect to be treated such as the most important client — in addition to inner management, cross-functional teams and suppliers. As a result, there’ s a strong desire to say no to any new idea/software/partner that gets introduced to the company, simply because the agency teams simply don’ t want to deal with something totally new when they already feel overwhelmed.

Imagine an air fight where one side is using single-prop fighters a la World War II as well as the other has F16s. Which part do you think will prevail? If the common with the prop planes is called before his country’ s leader plus remarks, “ We just didn’ t have time to consider options to the single-prop planes, ” what’ s the likelihood that he or she still includes a job after that meeting?

Agencies (or agency staff) that will say no to new tips because they just want to push things away their plate — or are usually followers of the “ Not Developed Here” philosophy — don’ capital t understand that other agencies will accept innovation and overtake them.

Exponential consequences

Companies that embrace constant combat don’ t just make decisions depending on data and maximum leverage; in addition they seek out agencies that continually drive them to improve. This creates a multiplier effect  because the company is taking advantage of both internal smart decision-making as well as a cutting-edge agency.

Hence, there are four potential combinations associated with companies and agencies. “ In Peace” in this instance is an euphemism just for “ Lazy or Undisciplined. ”

  • “ At Peace” Company + “ At Peace” Agency: Neither party is particularly motivated to enhance performance. In some cases, the company fires the particular agency and brings the business in-house based on “ gut”; in other people, the company keeps the agency in spite of lackluster performance. The company and the company eventually get crushed by the competitors and die.
  • “ At Peace” Company + “ At War” Agency: The agency pushes the organization to change and innovate, but the gatekeepers at the company just see the company as a nuisance and either fireplace or marginalize the agency. The business eventually gets crushed by the competitors and dies; the agency discovers better clients and flourishes.
  • “ At War” Company + “ At Peace” Agency: The company requires the agency to constantly warrant its fees by showing quantitative evidence that the agency is traveling maximum performance. The agency views this as annoying and excessive work and either resigns the particular account or gets fired. The business finds a better agency and does properly, and the agency eventually gets smashed by the competition and dies.
  • “ At War” Company + “ At War” Agency: The company as well as the agency push each other to get better plus better. Decisions are made based on information and careful analysis, which means that with time, the company and agency find the right stability of in-house and agency assistance. The company and the agency crush their own competition.

This particular all seems so obvious, doesn’ t it? And yet, companies plus agencies that relentlessly seek considerable improvement without gatekeepers, politics plus gut are the exceptions to the guideline, even in Silicon Valley.

Just 50 years ago, companies can easily defend a geographic territory  or use branding to sell product products. Those days are over. Friendster gave way to MySpace and Myspace . com gave way to Facebook — within about five years. The cemeteries are filled with indispensable men, businesses and agencies. We are always from war!


Opinions expressed in this article are those from the guest author and not necessarily Advertising Land. Staff authors are shown here .


About The Writer

David Rodnitzky is TOP DOG and co-founder of 3Q Electronic, a marketing firm with workplaces in the San Francisco Bay Area plus downtown Chicago. David is the creator of the LinkedIn Online Lead Generation Team, an advisor for Marin Software program, and a regular contributor to the 3Q Digital weblog . He can be found at several speaking engagements across the SEM neighborhood.

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