919 538 0751 (voice + text) andrew@andrewhayden.com

On more than one occasion I have sat through “marketing” meetings where the word “customer” was not uttered once. Not once! Are you kidding me? You spend hours sitting in meetings with the group of people who are, by definition, responsible for positioning and promoting products and services to customers and the entire meeting is spent reviewing operational details, processes and annual planning.

And you cannot mention the customer once, even as part of the annual planning process? No mention of new products, programs or campaigns. No discussions of how you are going to compete for the hearts and minds of customers in a very competitive segment during the upcoming year. Actually, there was often no discussion of how we were going to market …anything.

Marketing organizations that are more focused on the operational details of how they do their jobs and not how their job relates to the customer are kind of amazing to watch. It is the epitome of inside-out thinking in action. And in some cases I’ve seen, there is no “out” in the inside out. It’s amazingly myopic…..and frustrating.

When your marketing folks meet, do they focus on how to better serve customers, or on operational details of their jobs. If the latter, you have a problem.