Saturday, December 03, 2005

Old School Marketing & Business vs. Today's "Buzz" Word Management

First, before my post, I have to back up a bit and say, I have been working very hard in order to finish a Business Plan (sounds easy huh? well, it is currently 136 pages long including source documents), so pardon my absence. I just could not justify spending time on articles on here (along with my other web commentaries) without feeling tons of guilt. I love all aspects of business and I tend to be an information hound, so I lost enough time getting side tracked on research or in making brief comments on other websites. Having said that, this is my first blog installment in a long time, so my apologies that it has taken me this long to put something relavent on this site.

Something I have been thinking about for a long time and just can no longer keep my mouth shut about is:

Old School Marketing & Business versus Today's Choc-o-block "Buzz" Word Managment

I am constantly amazed and appauled by today's Marketing & Management Industry.

For the last year, I have seen so many articles and write-ups about Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Customer Data Mining and Customer Loyalty Retention. All Great "Buzz" words, right? Well, in my humble oppinion, the concept is full of sh*insert a very bad word*. How can I write that when I myself have written an article for CRMGuru regarding CRM Solution Vendors?

Well, the answer is very easy, in the article I wrote I was speaking from a Customer's perspective, in their attempt to purchase a product, and all of the following issues they faced. It's not that I do not believe in CRM software, Customer Data Mining, Customer Loyalty Retention, what it is that gets my blood boiling, is the fact that the Business Mangement & Marketing Industries even have to be reminded that the Customer is first and foremost, and I mean both the external buying Customer and the internal operational Customer within an Organization.

It is something missing in the Management and Marketing "World" today, it seems to be making a come back over the last two years, but I am just amazed that it actually needs to do that at all. What I mean by that is, that focusing on the Customer needs to come back at all. I say this because, it has always been my belief and business understanding a it was one of the fundamental laws of business operations and marketing and the very possibility of that concept moving into obsurity, as it apparently had, would have been ridiculous. Honestly, I have no good excuse as to where I was when this happened, because I have always strived to focus on the Customer, so maybe it is just the information boom and Internet, which has brought the poor practices of others to light, as it seems so prolific in Industry Trade Magazines ranging from I.T., CRM, Marketing, Facilities, etc., media over the last 12-24 months. I receive far too many trade magazines to list them all, however, trust me, there are more than any sane person should be attempting to keep up with (or trying to figure out how to dispose of) while also trying dig through the dirt to find the diamonds that allow one to remain well informed.

How can a Company miss focusing on the Customer? Everything from asking the Customer directly what he/she wants, to what he/she thinks, to putting into place processes that strive to make your Customer's life easier (from automatic bill paying options, to account checking online, to just basic Customer Service techniques within Call Centers. I can understand a Company failing miserably at any or all of those things, but the basic premise and intentions remain easily the same, to provide the best service and products to your Customer, period.

I want to know how and when, the various business Management & Marketing Industries lost sight of the fact that Customers drive your business. Without Customers, a Company can have millions of dollars, but that is all they will have and with that they will only be in business for as long as their money lasts. In the end, no one will buy their products and with no one to sell products or services to, the Company will have to go out of business. For me, it's a fairly obvious and simple formula, and considering my love of math, that is saying volumes (Happy Customers = Success; No Customers = No Future).

So, I suppose a question I can pose to my visitors, to other business people, entreprenuers, marketing managers, etc....

QUESTION: How and Why do you think Companies lost sight of the fact that their Customers are important to their businesses?

I think it was possibly a case of Companies getting so big so fast, Customers failed to remain Customers, but instead, they became numbers, in Organizations that were being run by egotistical, overcompensated, self absorbed CEOs, that were some how convinced they walked on water, CFOs that were so busy bean counting they forgot where they got the beans in the first place, Managers that accepted the status quo and instead of implementing changes, let or stood back and watched, which is just as bad, the Company train chugging along down the tracks, without lifting a finger to do anything about it ecxept stand and tell the Engineers how to shovel more wood into the fire. And the worst part?, the Customers were so programmed into being lemmings they just kept doing what they always had done or maybe they did complain and it fell on deaf ears until they got so fed up, they just slowly one-by-one slipped away. The scariest thing of all, is that there are major Companies out there that still have majority market share in their industry, they treat their customers like rubbage and their customers keep coming back (I think in most cases the Customer has decided the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know, since in several industries, the Customer Service was just as poor across the board).

QUESTION: What is the #1 thing, marketing campaign, service process, internal review, etc. do you feel a Company can not do without otherwise, that Company is doing their Customers an injustice in that Company's service to them?

The second question above, I'm not going to answer or give my oppinon on, and yes, I do have one, as I'm sure you can guess. However, I am at this time, more interested in seeing what your answers are regarding this question. I also realize I do not have a huge following for this "sleeper" webpage, at this time, so I'm not expecting a huge response on that one.

As the saying goes, "If You Build It They Will Come", well, that's what I'm hoping for, since I intend to do my best to actually write some blog posts for this site more frequently.

"I might not be right, but that doesn't mean you are either"




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