The 11 Most-Deadly Sins in Sales & Marketing -- and How to Avoid Them

Shortcuts to the Marketing process began back in the late 80s when it became voguish to decree that management was a specialty unto itself -- and an effective manager is an effective manager is an effective manager -- irrespective of the business function.

About the same time, corporate management fell into the trap of managing from quarter to quarter instead of decade to decade. That was the second bad mistake. This ultimately denuded the company and the profession of well-trained, skilled Marketers.

That, and the lost emphasis on in-depth planning -- plus the deep thought it takes to develop sound, effective strategies -- has crippled the function and turned much of the craft into a lost art.

Short-term profits are everything. Whatever it takes to look good in the second half is OK. As the not-so-old saying goes, "If it feels good, do it."

Third, the computer morphed from a tool that was great for running payrolls. to a tool that was also great for Design & Development, to a tool that was great for everything. Many of today's Marketing people no longer take the time to learn and analyze situations. They think the computer can do the thinking for them -- the attitude is: "Don't bother me with details." That's why the Elevator Pitch and Value Proposition have become so essential, and that's why the lost art of Positioning has become so essential, and this will be discussed in detail later.

Today's three gods:

* Multitasking increases efficiency

* Management is a specialty that can cut across all disciplines

* Short-term planning, short-term management

have been proven false -- conclusively.

Starting with the most-recent fallacy and working back:

a) a recent study on multitasking shows:

1. Tasks are almost always performed less effectively and efficiently.

2. Inveterate multitaskers have a diminished ability to focus on any one task -- even when working on just one task.

3. Since multitaskers aren't able to focus as well, they don't think situations through as well.

b) Management is a specialty that can cut across all lines:

Truly effective managers MUST also possess skills and professional know-how in the functions being managed for several reasons. An effective manager must be: 1. a good teacher, 2. a good critic who knows good work from bad -- and knows how to help the team member fix it, 3. a good coach who creates an atmosphere that encourages others in the organization to come with ideas, and share them with others, 4. an able defender of good work, 5. a defender of his team who's able to defend it when they're right.

That's not all, a good manager must also be: a) respected and trusted by senior management for skills and effectiveness, b) a visionary thinker and planner, c) a good judge of what's best for the company, d) a good salesperson for the department.

To be an effective and respected teacher or critic, the manager has to have mastered his craft. There's no substitute for this.

In the next installment, I'll cite some real-world examples of what I call "Miscast Management."


Neil Mahoney has over 30 years experience in all areas of Sales & Marketing: * Corporate Communications: GENERAL ELECTRIC * National Sales Mgr, VP Marketing: BAUSCH & LOMB * VP Group Publisher: ABC Broadcasting * VP Sales & Marketing: GELTECH CORP * Director Consumer Marketing: LS STARRETT CO. * Owner: MAHONEYMARKETING

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