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The Kitchen Sink


You have a compelling story to tell, a competitive environment and great pressure to deliver sales volume with comfortable margins. You have to make a case for your brand over parity choices. You want superior strategy, flawless execution, and a cost-effective program that is sustainable over time. To get there you identify a small team of experts to craft a request for proposal (RFP). The team hopes to find a single firm as an outsource resource.

The committee of experts works diligently and with artful give and take. The result is an RFP that accommodates the CEO, who wants to increase market share and profitability, the EVP of Business Development, who hopes for a sophisticated contact management system, and the CFO, who wants to enhance accountability for marketing expenses. Everybody seems to agree that a new web presence and digital strategy is necessary. Manufacturing and operations people want better internal communications to help with recruitment and retention of skilled personnel. Eventually the RFP includes digital, database, video, packaging, research and public relations.

Human Resources assures you that software, job boards and guidance from industry associations will pre-qualify candidates. It’s a buyer’s market, so you can recruit for a super hero with extraordinary skills to manage the program once in place. This process gets you a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) who gets to manage it all.

Are you kidding yourself? It’s a classic case of too many cooks in the corporate kitchen. Companies find themselves under staffed and overwhelmed yet believe they can find super-heroes to provide marketing. The combination of cutbacks and belt tightening along with the rapid emergence of new media and the explosion of digital marketing have, in part, been the reason no-one knows what they really need any more. The RFP becomes a wish list. The company is sitting on cash reserves but is reluctant to invest. The responses to your RFP are impressive and seemingly thorough. Now you have to sort for the best decision. The CMO candidates are impressive too. What to do?

Here are some questions for discussion. Who defines the role of marketing in your company or enterprise? Should it be outsourced, in-house, or a combination? Is it possible to find someone with the skills and expertise to manage it all (CMO)?

Filed under: Business Practices

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