Marketing StrategyLet’s Learn Marketing from the Snow!

January 5, 2011

Have you ever noticed the way it snows? Whenever it snows fast and with large flakes, we should never look forward to snow playing. However, every time it snows with small flakes and of course, slowly, everyone looks forward to snow playing and taking photos the following day. It snows flake by flake. A flake is nothing by itself. But when there are millions and billions of them falling continuously, the snow covers everywhere. With the snowfall, the earth, cars, trees, curbsides all turn into pure white. Marketing should also be something like this! Slow and steady but with practical results!

You must give your marketing managers an opportunity to think and act. When, for getting better feedback, you look upon the effectiveness of marketing activities from a financial perspective and leave monitoring on them to your financial managers, your company’s marketing department will inevitably have to take specific measures for achieving quick results. Although they may bring about desired results for you and of course, for your financial managers in the short run, they will face you with severe challenges in the long term, the most important of which is the decline of the sales and consequently loss of the previous market share.

Because of having the presence of hasty financial investors in their companies who confuse the investment in business with a poker table, most company directors’ attitudes are unfortunately too shortsighted to be appreciated: shortsighted attitudes, which are precisely contrary to the basic principles of marketing. The most fundamental problem with declining companies or those that have been removed from the market is that, with regard to the outcome of marketing activities, they have short-term financial perspectives. Honestly speaking, the challenges some companies are facing do not originate from their shortsighted attitudes toward the marketing itself. Instead, they are entirely because of their short-term financial thinking and perspectives.

Marketing whose subsequent impacts will not manifest themselves within a few months or even a year or two is a long-term process and cycle. In the long run, however, investors expecting the marketing to yield feedback short-termly will definitely make the results and activities of this area face problems. The main impacts of the marketing are not immediately noticeable: the good or bad results of what you do today probably appear over the coming years.

In the opening lines of his most celebrated work “The blind Owl”, Sadegh Hedayat (1903 – 1951), the renowned Iranian intellectual, had pointed out to something I can witness in the marketing:

There are specific sores in life that, like a canker, gnaw at the soul in solitude and diminish it. Since generally, it is the custom to attribute these incredible sufferings to the realm of rare and singular accidents and happenings, it is not possible to speak about them to others. If one does talk or write about them, people pretend to accept them with sarcastic remarks and dubious smiles. In reality, however, they follow prevalent beliefs and their own ideas about them. The reason is that these pains do not have a remedy. The only remedy is forgetfulness induced by wine or artificial sleep induced by opium and other narcotics. Unfortunately, the effect of these drugs is transitory. After a while, instead of soothing, they add to the pain. 

In marketing, instead of solving the problems permanently or starting to fix them, many managers, unfortunately, resort to tactical actions that can be likened to the impacts alcohol or narcotic drugs have on the human body. Drug abusers experience a feeling of pleasure, excitement, and relief as soon as they take some drug, and at first glance, it appears that the drug effect has been positive and exciting. After several hours, however, the ultimate impact of the drug will appear with such negative symptoms as depression, insomnia, or excessive sleep.

Nevertheless, we can every day see the addiction of many companies around us due to addictive tactical behaviors. In your opinion, what is the influence of drugs? Exciting or depressing? Your answer to this question shows that you have adopted a tactical way of thinking for your behavior or that you believe in stability and strategies.

What is your goal in implementing and deploying marketing at your company? What are you looking for? What impacts of marketing are you looking for? The immediate implications of marketing, or its long-term effects?

Experience has proven that those companies which look upon marketing tactically rather than strategically are omitted from the market faster than their competitors. Marketing is like a very sharp knife in your kitchen. It depends on what you are going to do with it. Marketing may seem easy at first, but the game is not for novices. You might stab the knife in your stomach!

“Most companies live on the basis of quarterly reports,” Al Ries has said. Accordingly, I believe that companies that are alive with the numbers, they will die with them, too. If you just strengthen your accounting department and in return do not pay attention to your marketing, soon there will be nothing left for your accounting department employees except the number of your debts.

Following such a short-term financial attitude, managers and investors oblige their marketing managers to review the conditions for a company to enter quick impact markets and even pave the way for them. With such an attitude, the company puts its brand on sales. Being inclined to linear expansion, the company tries to enter other new and lucrative markets, and although this is inconsistent with the status of the original brand customers’ minds, it has highly desirable financial results for investors short-termly. But what a pity it would be later!

Until the time Daewoo managers had not decided to adopt some quick impact activities, it was a very influential company in the conventional cars market. After it entered other industries like oil and electronics with the name Daewoo and raised its liquidity in a short time by selling other products, Daewoo has been totally forgotten and even does not exist in memories. Although other issues contributed to the bankruptcy of this great company, as soon as Daewoo Motors bankruptcy broke out, people around the world regarded Daewoo as an insolvent company either in the automotive industry or in the home appliance industry. This is a sad ending for one of the most eminent industrial activities in South Korea.

When urgency and insisting on being faster enters the marketing cycle, the marketing department of a company looks for solutions to attain the indented income for the investors in the short run. This is while the feedback of such measures in the long-run has never been scrutinized. Moreover, one of the most fundamental preoccupations for company directors is that they think being ambitious in the current economic situation will not be positive. Most company directors believe that there is still time for a significant and normative move forward, and whenever their companies turned into a big one, they will make that move. What a pity that strategic mistakes mainly contribute to stifling many things which could enjoy an influential and solid status in the future if they were conducted properly. If you are a company’s chief executive officer or investor, you must acknowledge this: your sales and marketing managers are afraid of being punished or fired!

We’ve always said that predicting the career prospects is impossible! But by looking back into the past, one can guess the state of affairs in the future. Once some companies were famous in the arena of international trade, but nowadays they have either been removed from the market or after some significant successes they had made short-termly, they have already crept to a corner sickly and disappointedly. Rolls-Royce Ltd, General Motors, Aloha Airlines, or NetBank are among the long list of companies and products which were once influential and enjoyed their own high positions; they are now suffering from their past shortsighted attitudes and imprecise marketing planning, though. Those once appeared fast in large flakes and even managed to cover a vast area, melted away much earlier than expected, and vanished into thin air. How far is your company name to be inserted in this list?

Although marketing requires something with which to become popular and clamorous, too much hue and cry can indicate a severe failure in the near or distant future. Do not forget that all companies’ honeymoons eventually come to an end someday. The real winners, however, are those who do not exchange these sweet moments with the bitter taste of failure through intentional or unintentionally silly actions.

Do you remember the last heavy snowfall where you live? Whenever it snows heavily, it begins with the first flakes and continues to snow so that it results in traffic problems. Your marketing strategy should be such that although it may start little by little and step by step, it must make progress for your competitors difficult and complicated.

Snow slowly but steadily! Storm precisely!
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