Aligning Marketing Vision and Management

Why do so many companies market one thing and provide something else? I know it might be easier to sell something different than what you offer your customer today. But if you decide to market one vision, why don’t you change your organization to actually offer that?

I suspect this is substantially due to the outsourced nature of large marketing efforts. It makes sense to me that when you outsource your marketing message creation it isn’t tied to your management system and the two silos can pursue their own visions.

I would imagine marketers would claim they “partner” yada yada yada (and sometimes it actual seems to happen, but not often). As a consumer it sure looks to me like companies outsource marketing to ad agencies that come up with marketing plans that are not in harmony with the real company at all. I can understand putting a positive spin on things, but so much marketing is just completely at odds with how the company operates.

Treating a marketing message as something separate from management is a serious problem. When your marketing message says one thing and your customers get something else that is a problem. I think the message is often based on what the executives wish the company was (and the outsourced marketers think it should be), but it isn’t the customer experience the management system provides.

If you believe the vision of your marketing then make sure your organization has embraced those principles. I think, often, companies would be wise to follow the vision their marketers came up with. But instead they tell customers to expect one thing and manage the organization to provide something else. I just don’t see how that is sensible.

Related: Marketing in a Lean CompanyPackaging ImprovementCustomer Service is ImportantConfusing Customer FocusIncredibly Bad Customer Service from Discover Card

If you are an airline selling cheap seats (pretty much all of them in the USA, from what I can tell) don’t pretend to be focused on providing customer service. If you sell cheap stuff in your retail store and cut staff costs to the bone, don’t pretend to value customer service in your ads. If you sell personalized financial advice then provide that.

If you are not interested in designing systems to provide good customer service just don’t market that you provide that. You obviously have an organization that is functioning with other priorities. Many customer do want low prices above all else – based on revealed preference, no matter what they say, just market what you actually offer.

Respect for people is a lean manufacturing principle focused on employees. With marketing messages that are not congruent with your management systems you disrespect your customers and your employees (they have to deal with customers that are not provided what they were told to expect).

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6 Responses to Aligning Marketing Vision and Management

  1. Kathy Clark says:

    I absolutely agree! One of the biggest challenges with outsourcing of any kind is to ensure the continuity of the vision and the culture of an organization. When this kind of disconnect happens it can greatly affect the customer expectations and experience. A way to manage this is to keep key senior management in the loop and part of the decision making process of the outsourced responsibilities.

  2. Anonymous says:

    We often see that companies market one thing and provide something else. It is very much prevalent and common practice. This is because of the outsourced nature of the large marketing effort. The most serious problem is treating a marketing message as something separate from management. The whole article is very much informative and knowledgeable.

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