Thursday, January 29, 2015

Match-Up vs Mismatch

High ideals, the Vision Statement, our Mission... perhaps a company aims for the stars, but the reality just fails to match up. There's a mismatch between what marketing says and what the company does. It's all too common.

Making fine statements raises fine expectations and when there is no correspondence, the result is great disappointment. Disappointment is only the initial reaction. Once the bad feeling sets, that company will PERMANENTLY lose trust.
Trust is precious. Trust is the difference between winning and losing.
Trust has to be won, and never lost. Especially in this day and age of instant information sharing, when you lose trust:

  • Your channels will shun you or even shut you out
  • Your customers complaints will just ooze through the social net or perhaps even spread virally
  • Your products and services will lose value
  • Your market share will shrink

Trust is won through integrity, consistency, and honesty.

Push cannot withstand long without a corresponding pull. Marketing can only initiate, it's your match-up from your integrity and quality that has to carry the load. More importantly, if both (push and pull) do not grow together, the company will not be able to grow at all. Pull can be initiated by effective branding and sustained marketing, but alone it will not sustain if your products/services fail:

  • To meet needs to do what you have claimed
  • To provide value for spend
  • To be available/reach your customers cleanly on demand
  • To provide decent margins in distribution
  • To be reliable

 Identify the problem areas and deal with them. Be open and responsive to your  clients/customers/channels. Just maybe, you aren't getting the right feedback from your market, or your marketers are fudging things so you think it's all minor, all handleable. Keep cross checking.

Open loops have to be closed! Rather than promptly sorting the issue out, marketing too often task themselves with papering over the cracks. When there's a mismatch between the projection and the reality, it doesn't take long for the reality to win out, and you have become a creator of new pain, when what you had set out to do was to be a solution provider!

On a larger front too, Marketing is often misused to mask the reality by creating a finely crafted image. The public perception is strongest in fields like politics, but we can even observe this phenomenon in large industry groups like Big Pharma (+insurance+medical practice), where incredible amounts are spent to maintain the status quo through the projection of an image of solid science and trust BUT now the public has become (justifiably) sceptical.

Another startling recent example is the interaction of industry with environmental concerns and the high volume promotion of the concept of sustainability. A sub topic here is the denial of industry related phenomena like Global Warming/Climate Change. Relying on a big spend on marketing to stave off the inevitable can only produce a small delaying rear-end action. When such large groupings (de facto institutions) lay their foundations on myths, the consequences can be disastrous to nations and even to the world.

The older word for 'mismatch' is cheating.

Why then do we dupe people? Oftentimes it's the easy way out and perhaps there is a pressure to get started with what you've got, and iron out the kinks as one goes along. With industry groupings, they have invested 'too much' to consider backing out now. Unfortunately, there's a generic impression floating around out there (a marketing myth) that marketing alone can keep the issues at bay. We let ourselves dupe ourselves. We can be easily convinced that our pretty pictures, fine words, cute/emotive vids, fine packaging, etc. are enough. But, I assure you, if that's all you've got, it is NOT.
Instead let what you project coincide with the reality that you create AND make what you create match-up.

Be brave, be ethical, walk your talk

Originally posted on LinkedIn #Pulse as Match-Up vs Mismatch

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