Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wayne Gretzky Is Your Inspiration

I was fortunate enough today to participate in a meeting with my company's president. The theme of the meeting was marketing, and the CEOs that are a part of this group were asked to invite their Head Marketing Nerd. Thus, the invite.

I probably don't attend enough non-industry related seminars and training, and I must say it was a nice change of pace. The presenter for the day was Mitch Gooze'. Mitch was an engaging speaker and allowed great participation from the group. The main theme for the presentation was comparing marketing and sales to design and production. He asks the question, "While production would not be expected (in most cases) to redesign a widget due to a design flaw, why do we expect sales to fix what is essentially a marketing flaw?"

Let me further explain. What he is trying to say is that there is a disconnect between marketing and sales. The sales team is trying to sell something that the marketing team has not clearly defined. He explained, on the marketing side we must connect the "Who Buys?" and "What are they buying?" to the sales side or "How are they going to buy it?" The message the sales team is receiving in many cases is conflicting or is inspired by them and not by marketing. Marketing should be the team clarifying the Who? and What? while sales is concerned with the How? Too often marketing has not made the message clear and sales is then responsible to fix it themselves.

So, how is this accomplished. Talk to your customers. Find out why they buy your product or service. It's our job to understand what our customers needs are, and if you've been in a business for a number of years you might think you know but in reality you don't. After you find out more about your customers you can give your marketing the direction it needs, and communicate that properly with your sales team.

Part of learning more about your customers should help you to innovate, improve, and stay ahead of the curve. Mitch shared a story about Wayne Gretzky that I just loved. Wayne was once asked, "Why are you such a great hockey player?" He responded, "I skate where the puck will be." Wayne made a choice, and just like Wayne we have a choice in business. We can educate ourselves and anticipate where the puck will be, or we can follow everyone else and chase after the puck. I'd rather play like the great one.

Enjoy your day!


picture courtesy of bobdylan_8 at Flickr.com
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