What is marketing all about? How often do we ponder this question and enter into a circular debate abut the analysis part, the tactical bits, the execution or the philosophy and strategy behind it?
But is this all there is to it?
Once you have created the context and back drop to the ‘what marketing is supposed to do’ element, what is is all about in the end?
We’ll briefly lay out an argument supporting the fact that we believe marketing exists within a context of ‘noise’ all around us and that the skilled artisans of the marketing world are the masters of translation. Translating the disparate voices, messages and content into a language the target audience can understand and make sense of.
Of course this is only a small facet of the entire marketing delivery platform, yet, one facet we must not forget. Whether pull or push is the preferred mechanism of creating the desired effect, the critical item to get right is the physical presence of mind and being in order to ensure the recipient had the correct message ‘translated’ in an understandable, action-oriented and galvanising manner to ensure they get up and do something slightly different from what they did a few moments ago.
The following internal marketing “Think Differently” Apple (Steve Jobs) video we believe sums up or rather expands more eloquently on our thoughts:
The problem of getting too distracted by constantly fire-fighting in business settings
We might have heard it referred to as phrases such as “blinkered vision, short-term thinking”, possibly even “tunnel vision” or something similar; however the challenges of Immediacy is (1) the hidden cost and (2) damage it does to our organisations and culture within those organisations.
This is a behavioural consequence of a much more deep rooted problem. It could possibly be insecurity or ‘over’ control, mistrust or some other behavioural issue.
However, we would like to make a bold statement that the problem is one of an over commented emotional connection to what we do. Too much passion and care in other words. This is not a bad thing in itself, but it must be tempered and balanced by its opposite twin, namely logic and deliberation.
With apologies to The Smiths; the original version of the song Panic’s lyrics reads something like this:
“Panic on the streets of London / Panic on the streets of Birmingham / I wonder to myself / Could life ever be sane again?”
Or is this the beginning of what we will call ‘Austerity Anarchy’?
As a case study in behavioural economics goes, the last week in March 2012, in the UK must go down as a classic…
What sparked the ‘run on petrol and filling stations’ is not the aim of our analysis, but rather the deeper underlying cultural psychosis affecting Austerity Britain. However, the austerity is not driven by the current revenue expenditure austerity, but rather the culture of Investment Austerity over many decades that has created a supply chain time bomb in the UK.
There is generally a severe lack of investment in any form of storage capacity. Not as a risk management concept, but rather as a pure short sighted cost management issue.
Yes, land capacity is limited on a small (in places patchily overcrowded; especially down in the South East of England) island and the cost of owning a vast storage network must seem prohibitive; yet having so little risk management or rather ‘buffer’ and shock absorption capacity available must be the vast hidden opportunity cost ‘time bomb’ waiting to derail a sustained or sustainable short run upturn in the economy?
Hidden or in the economists parlance ‘Opportunity Cost’ is generally not an item on any policy maker’s agenda, yet in it lies the ‘unintended consequences’ element that so seldom gets factored into the equation. Yet opportunity cost highlights the risk element we have to factor in. And in this sense we use the word RISK in its proper intended format, namely a quantifiable probabilistic evaluation of the downside of a transaction. Yes, threats are more closely aligned to ‘unintended consequences’ and are the issues we can only subjectively be aware of, but cannot quantify with any degree of accuracy.
Are the European and more specifically the Euro-zone problems purely a matter of cultural differences, engrained in generations of ‘Nation Staters’ or something deeper in each nation-people’s psychology?
It cannot purely be a difference of political ideology between the leaders and individual nations of Europe that has lead us to the brink of the Euro abyss. But, yet maybe the way the debate and challenges facing Europe are being framed, has a great part to play in it.
Europe always seemed to be a halfway house between cultures, trade, ideologies, beliefs and norms. And the fact that the Euro single currency zone was stitched together based on these ‘halfway house’ ideas should therefore not have been a surprise.
How long does it take to build a vision? Or rather, why did Europe take so long to get to the chasm, build a rickety Monetary Union bridge, without firming up the foundations that holds together the infrastructure once the traffic crossing that bridge started increasing in volume?
If there is something Trade theory should have taught us, it must be that once opportunity (to trade and create wealth) is established, the trickle would eventually turn to a steady stream and the steady stream to an eventual throng. Yet not one European leader or institution foresaw this? Takes us full circle to the original question, namely: “How long does it take to build a VISION?”
The truth might lie somewhere in the nature, establishment and deep rooted psyches of the Europeans themselves. Europe might be the collective noun; yet staunch nation state individualism (the communities we all hunker after) is the actual bedrock and foundation of the people who live in Europe. Unlike the USA, with a common language, full monetary and federal fiscal union, Europe is and will always remain a loosely led together community (but not a collective) of nation states and peoples.
Fairness, freedom, equality and openness, some of the most fundamental tenets of a market and community to function properly, are not necessarily on the agendas when ideological political, rather than economic (for the greater good), issues are considered by both politicians, technocrats and bureaucrats in the institutions and fabric at the heart of a (dis)United Europe.
Therefore, until and unless we can prize Europeans from there deeply held ‘national interest’ debates and frames of reference, in terms of establishing a common and united front; we feel that there is no hope of sustainably solving the Euro-zone sovereign debt and monetary union problems.
A possible mechanism might have to be the establishment of a ‘fourth branch’ of governance, outside the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, being an outside force or rather an Adjudicator comprised of non dominant European member countries and quite possibly with an Advisory Board consisting of non Europeans themselves, to allow for the establishment of a fair, free and an open implementation of the Legislature’s policy decisions, hence and overseer of the Executive, but an equal to the Judiciary, with a final veto by the citizenry of Europe themselves, as a balancing mechanism, should a stalemate ever arise.
The enabling driver of such an European Adjudicator must surely be the Digital Economy with its various platforms and reach extending now and in the future across the ‘Net’ that is European integration.
The team at theMarketSoul have not been busy enough putting blog article out during January 2012; however, it has given us the opportunity to reflect on the goings on in the various regions around the globe.
The only great point of interest was the State of the Union address by President Barack Obama. Again as a liberal statist the theme of taxation and MORE taxation to come down the road for the ‘more’ well-off in society raised its ugly [spectre] head again.
Oh dear! Let us think very hard about something positive to reflect on this month during the kick-off to 2012…
Enough said. Unfortunately the Eurozone crises (yes, several on different fronts) are still dragging on.
We see yet again how difficult it is to undo a few decades worth of the nation state experiments in Europe and bring everyone together under the guide of collaboration, but with no formal overall governance framework in place. The Eurozone crisis, as well as being one of sovereign over indulgence, is also one of a twisted underground power struggle between the European traditional heavy weights.
But, alas, it is all politics in the end and with Standard and Poor and Fitch getting on the downgrade bandwagon during the month, angering politically challenged politicians like Monsieur Sarkozy (French presidential elections coming up in April and May 2012 [two rounds scheduled, if necessary]).
One matter of interest raised during a panel discussion on the BBC programme DateLine London on 28/01/2012 regarding the tension in the Straits of Hormuz, by Adbel Bari Atwan, is the fact that the entire Iranian issue around nuclear armament is a ‘manufactured’ threat by the USA and Europe. True, with Pakistan, India, Israel, China and Russia being nuclear enabled nations in the region, what difference will one more nation make to this perilous equation? Perception seems to be everything, both in the discourse and actions taken in reshaping the Geo-political order of the post ‘Arabian spring’ Middle East.
Please, just keep collaborating in OPEC; pumping the Black Gold and thus keeping prices lower and stable, for the sake of a stable Global Economy!
As we wind down 2011 we have entered the ‘reflective season’, where due to the structure of the Gregorian calendar and the very long(est) night of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere), we naturally enter a more introspective mood.
Therefore, as we become more contemplative during this time, let’s reflect on our Core Values, both personal and organisational, and identify the gaps or misalignment between these two key areas of our daily existence.
Then start listing or rather prioritise these gaps and only focus on the one of two of the most feasibly achievable misaligned Core Values and develop a plan or incorporate it into your New Year’s resolutions.
If the gap requires coaching or input from people or personal development providers, do something as soon as possible to diarise or follow-up.
Look at utilising some common reminder tools we have available; pen and paper, notes or your mobile device, calendar reminders, or even new Cloud services and Apps, etc. in order to assist your “Oh Yes!” reminder moments later, should now not be the right or appropriate time or place to do something about the Core Value alignment activities you need to take.
Fantastic we say, this is exactly where innovation can begin; not building crooked structures on the existing legacy of half baked institutional solutions, however, starting with fresh new ideas. Something European leaders will find an unfamiliar exercise.
Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (a great big FUDge).
It is amazing to observe some of the conversations by pundits, stakeholders and other interested parties on the supposed damage this veto has done to Britains standing in Europe. And our brief analysis on this is that the commentators are mostly all adding to the FUDge factor of sowing fear, uncertainty and doubt in the minds of the general public, in order to NOT address the fundamental issues, but rather play the old politically and ideologically motivated games of CONFUSING the argument.
Caveat (beware) the public, the answers are more complex and interwoven than the fuzzy analysis and explanations offered to us at the moment…
It is worth remembering that the crisis or rather series of crises over the Euro is not over yet. The work has merely begun to try to save the common currency. The fall out and potential consequences is discussed in an article by Bruce Crumley in “As the Crisis Refuses to Calm, Scenarios of Euro Collapse Appear”