26 January 2005


David Burdon

Peter, Mike alerted me to his response and views last night. I've taken a quick scan of each of your 3 websites. My view is that marketing is not so much misunderstood by the key organisational functions (Finance, HR, IT etc) as the fact that the organisation misunderstands and distrusts marketing practitioners. In my experience, marketing, as a critical pillar of the business, is well understood and regarded by most of the enlightened finance directors (and HR, IT directors as well) I've worked with. Accountants can play around with tax reduction, depreciation rates and cost cutting schemes for so long before the truth hits them that what they really require to feed and grow the business is market share driven cash flow. Any newly qualified accountant can deliver tax reductions, massaged accounts and cost cutting programmes - it takes a finance director of rare genius to drive an expansionist and market aggressive organisation. What FDs struggle with are the amateurish antics of the personnel that staff the marketing department - including the marketing directors themselves. Too much upfront resource spent on blue sky tomorrow based around soft notions such as "image building" and not enough grasp of the real dynamics of account gains and genuine initiatives to shift customer preferences. CRM is an example whereby £millions (or $s) have been wasted on a false quest for the marketing holy grail. Along with Mike, I agree that as marketers we already have most of the vocabulary we need. To me it seems if a marketer really knew his (or her) internal customers he'd learn the language that they respond to positively. That might mean not just understanding the basics of the P&L, Balance sheet and cashflow statements but for example how FDs and CEOs make decisions on competing projects or compromise short term liquidity reporting with long term capital growth ambitions etc, etc. But I'm sure the odd new expression won't do any harm. After all, marketing is looking a little stale.

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