Sunday, March 29, 2009

Strategic Efficiency

Over the last years accountability has been a dominant topic in most marketing discussions. But over the last 12 months of ever deteriorating economical situation the discussion around “Efficiency” has gotten more attention. The pressure to cut costs is as strong as rarely before. Therefore more and more marketing organizations, on the client as well as on the agency side, are discussing of how to reconfigure their marketing processes with one goal in mind: reducing costs. 

Most of these cost cutting activities are hastily designed and miss the bigger picture of redefining the business. In today’s NY Times Steve Lohr writes about the changes in management thinking and strategies in the lens of today’s crises:

“The sharp downturn will force companies to go beyond simple cost-cutting to take a hard look at the economics of their business. Most companies are actually bundles of three different businesses: Infrastructure management, product and service development and commercialization, and customer relations.” 

Translating these three areas of activities into the marketing field, we could conclude that we have the following three core domains of value generation in most communications centric marketing organizations:

  • Production: Creating of all executional elements of marketing programs
  • Idea and Strategy: Generating the right data driven and consumer-centric ideas
  • Client Management: Managing all the relationships with clients and 3rd parties.

It would be a good exercise for any marketer to dissect their organizations, processes, and value generation into these three components. It would enable them to find out how they can truly redefine of where they generate the real value of their organizations and where they are wasting time, money, and resources. It is not all about non-strategic cost cutting but about reconfiguring the business model of marketing around production, ideas and strategies, and client management. It is amazing of how many old bad behaviors und unnecessary tasks have survived over the last 20 good years within marketing. And most marketing organizations, both on the client and on the agency side, react by just reducing headcount without analyzing deeply of how they work. It’s time to redefine where and how a marketing organization can truly generate value.

Our business will continue to focus on accountability and how to build the most impactful marketing programs. But the need for efficient marketing will rather increase over the next years. And the so called good old times will not come back. This recession will continue to change dramatically our field. It’s a time of opportunity for marketers who are willing to be brutally honest with how and what they do.

2 Comments:

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