Who is really in charge?
Sales or marketing? Not sure how it is within your organization but more and more I am seeing clients in one of two camps: 1) Committed brand marketers who only give 2nd thoughts to the impact of their decisions on sales and customers or more likely 2) Brand managers who are developing plans and programs to satisfy what the sales people are saying they can sell-in. From my viewpoint, both can work for a time but are neither will get your marketing organization to “World Class” status and more importantly, could leave room for a competitor to claim share of your business.
Sales and Marketing have always had a symbiotic relationship in my view, much akin to the creative/account relationship in the agency world. And like that relationship, we rely on each other’s knowledge and skills to push our strategies and approaches in new directions. To hold a marketing planning meeting and not have a sales represented is risking that your support and new product plans may not be accepted by key customers. On the other hand, to let your sales team decide what marketing should do is putting your entire brand at risk. After all, will what appeals to the 45y.o male buyer at a large Midwestern retailer really make sense to your brand target of women 25-54? You might sell it in for some short-term volume but at what cost to your brand’s equity over the long haul.
In today’s economy, with the street’s demand for showing increased growth and profits, the growing strength of the retailer and your marketers buzzing from the latest “Shopper Marketing” conference that they attended, it is more important than ever to give your marketing planning process the gut check for holistic integration. Is this plan designed to build sales, brands or both? How can you be sure? What checks and balances have you built into your process to insure that you have the right inputs insure marketplace success next year as well as into the future.