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Say no to “marketing popcorn” June 16, 2011

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Operations.
Tags: , , , ,

I have a pet peeve, and it’s marketing popcorn.  No, not the marketing of popcorn. “Marketing popcorn.”

Marketing popcorn = marketing tactics that are planned and executed independently of each other and with no interaction or cross-functional coordination.  To the prospect, they appear random and unconnected.

Oh, here’s a press release.  Pop!

The next day, we’re at a tradeshow. Pop!

A direct mail drops that afternoon. Pop!

Let’s blog. Pop!

A big challenge for any marketer in a team is to coordinate our efforts. Traditionally, marketing organizations create silos. This isn’t necessarily intentional; it just happens. A case in point: early in my career I ran the PR team at HP’s Test & Measurement business. I sat next to the advertising manager. Unfortunately, we rarely knew what each other was working on. We were heads-down, pedal to the metal, focused on executing specific tactics that had been assigned to us. I received a personal kick to the kidneys when I was working on a prime editorial review for a new product that was soon to launch. We conducted the interviews and were promised a wonderful spread in a leading tech journal. When the day of the planned editorial arrived, there was no mention of our new product. I was horrified and on edge because I had promised great coverage for the product team. I called the magazine to find out why the article wasn’t in the issue.  They told me that since our ads for the new product started appearing the prior week, the announcement was no longer news. They were angry with me and felt that HP had cheated them and wasted their time. So, because the ad hit the week before the editorial, our marketing activities were out of order and unsynchronized. This hurt our company’s reputation with the magazine, and the ad manager and I received a stern talking-to from our boss. Ouch!

The lesson here: all marketers need to break out of silo’d behavior and silo’d thinking!

The only way to do this is to leave our personal egos at the door and embrace a unified planning process that encourages everyone to work toward a shared objective. This is where the best practices found in Marketing Campaign Development, and The Marketing High Ground come into play.

Sometimes we all need to be reminded that PR, advertising, demand gen, events, social media people are really all on the same team.  Let’s leave the popcorn to the movie theaters.


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