In the duck house: Parliament's lessons for marketersby
As the MP expenses row still rumbles on in government and the media, Nicholas Watkis looks at the consequences and what marketers can learn from the debacle.
For several weeks, the newspapers have been full of revelations about over-blown MP allowances and expenses. As a result, several politicians have been forced to resign, some will be deselected by their constituencies, and some may even be subject to criminal investigation. The standing of MPs in the eyes of the British public has never been particularly high but their image has now sunk to rock bottom so that many are regarded with contempt.
It is a serious matter because while the public believe in parliament, they have lost faith in the integrity and judgement of MPs to legislate on their behalf. It is quite obvious that some MPs were more interested in what they could get out of the system than what they could contribute. The comparison of the high claims of MPs with their voting attendance also makes interesting reading.
- Lost sight of their purpose and developed self-interest
- Concentrated on short term objectives
- Failed to see consequences of their actions
- Had an inability to see how their actions are perceived, regardless of legality or intentions
- Failed to understand the perceptions of the electorate
But what has this got to do with marketing and marketing management in particular? In fact, there are quite a lot of lessons to be learned from this sorry saga, which apply to business in general, especially during a recession. At such times, there is a danger that with falling demand and revenues, marketers and other executives are inclined to develop short-term thinking, which manifests itself in:
- Losing sight of purpose of the business
- The development of self-interest for self-preservation
- Concentration on short-term objectives
- Failure to see long-term consequences of action
- Inability to see how actions are perceived, regardless of legality or intentions
- Failure to understand the demands of the customer
- How are customers affected by the recession?
- Is their demand deferred – if so for how long?
- Have their priorities changed?
- What are their current problems?
- What are their fears?
- What assistance do they require?
- Is the current marketing communications message suitable for the current market situation?
- How can the sales message counter the deferment of buying decision making?
- What are the customer’s fears that influence the purchase?
- Without playing on customers fears (which would be counter-productive), what benefits can be stressed that the customer might fear to lose by delayed decision making?
Recent articles by Nicholas Watkis:
- How much marketing do we really need?
- Under threat of cost cutting, what do marketers do now?
- When the going gets tough, marketers need to get going
- Warning indicators for marketers
- Missing in action: Where is the marketing contingency plan in the downturn?
- Making marketing count in a recession
- If you know all the marketing answers, why are you asking the question?
- The marketing personality crisis: Marketing theory and business reality
- Managing marketing during the credit squeeze
- Benchmarking, balanced scorecards and marketing performance
Nicholas Watkis is the founder of Contract Marketing Service, established in 1981. He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a certified management consultant of the Institute of Business Consultancy. His new publication How Good is Your Marketing? will be published in autumn 2009
Nicholas Watkis is the founder of Contract Marketing Service, established in 1981. He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a certified management consultant of the Institute of Business Consultancy.