Marketing in a Depression

Marketing in A Depression
(Oops, I mean Recession)
(Oops, I mean Slow Recovery)

The politicians and economists have assured us that we are in a period of economic recovery, albeit a slow one.

Unfortunately, for most businesses, their customers don’t agree. Money is tight (unless you are a hedge fund manager); and businesses and consumers are far more cautious about spending than they were in the past. This, together with increasingly knowledgeable buyers with 24/7 access to information and opinion, present unprecedented challenges to marketers.

Marketing has become an even more explicitly bottom-line function than ever before. The new economy mandates a more direct and intense alignment among marketing, sales, customer service, product development, and technical support. The dotted-line relationship among these functions that existed in the past will no longer sustain margins, revenues, and growth of market share.

Today’s Chief Marketing Officer must be the marketplace’s internal advocate, a communications guru, and a product development visionary. Further, he/she must be an organizational bridge-builder.

For organizations to survive and – dare I say it? – flourish in this economically Darwinian environment, there must be a quiet revolution in the executive suite.

The CMO must actively partner with the CEO, the CFO, the CTO, and chief sales executive to create a seamlessly integrated constellation of products, pricing, and positioning. The success of businesses now, and in the foreseeable future, depends on these three P’s. And it is every executive’s responsibility to ensure that they, and their departments, are in alignment. Now, more than ever, departmental success can not be measured apart from the corporate whole.

Now, more than ever, marketing must assume a bottom-line responsibility for product, pricing, messaging and positioning integration, and the corporate cooperation to achieve them. Marketing, now more than ever, has a central responsibility to ensure that the organization has a unified face to the world, and that the world has a unified voice in the organization.

3 thoughts on “Marketing in a Depression

  1. Dr. Coleman – it would be interesting to see your take on the pros and cons of having an 1) Internal full-time CMO 2) Dedicated Business consultant or 3) Independent 3-rd party company that provides marketing plans?

  2. Your suggestion places a huge responsibility on marketing. So, what are the strategies we may employ to achieve this task? How do we rein in the CEO, CFO, the technical guys, and the others to see that marketing is the key to survival and success in a depression? What do you expect the Sales guy to do? You think he will just nod his head and agree that without marketing he is doomed?

    • Why do you assume that we have to “rein in” the CFO, CEO, etc. The whole point is that marketing is a key member of the team, not a solo player. And no where do I suggest that “without marketing [the sales guy] is doomed.” Marketing supports and enhances sales’ ability to close the deal. If you don’t agree with that, what do you think marketing is for?

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