Marketing Can Be Amusing

Marketing is a serious subject at most companies. After all, the marketing department is only one step removed from the sales department and revenue generation—the lifeblood of all businesses. As one of my favorite CEO’s was fond of saying, “Revenue covers a lot of other sins, but a lack of revenue causes all sins to be exposed.”  I’ve noticed that you see a lot more people laughing and smiling when revenue numbers are good and frowns when revenue results are mediocre. While this is not amusing, there is some comedy in our daily marketing lives and the various misconceptions about the practice. Here are a few examples:

• During a meeting a CEO once asked us: “Why do we need any more than a home page on our web site?”  Prospects can just call or email us if they want to learn more about what we do.”  We had to chuckle at this instance of “dinosaur thinking.”

• We’ve received inbound leads from Luke Skywalker (from the Jedi Nation, of course), Mickey Mouse (several of these; he must be a very ripe prospect), Snow White, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Clint Eastwood and many other athletes, celebrities and cartoon characters. It’s comforting to know that so many luminaries are interested in our clients’ offerings.

• One executive claimed that the new website design was the greatest he had ever seen while another from the same company described it as “god awful.”  Although we were frustrated, we still had to laugh.

• Another CEO once stated: “Let’s just stop all of our marketing activities and hire some more salespeople.” This would have been terribly ineffective. And while the outcome wouldn’t have been amusing, the thought certainly was.

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• A CMO told me that social media marketing never works and stated that it is a total waste of time and money. This despite two inconvenient facts: First, several of our clients found us strictly through social media, and second, we have used social media to drive large amounts of revenue for our clients. The CMO was entitled to his opinion, but this did not negate the truth: Social media marketing works if you do it right.  Maybe this belongs in the “not amusing” category.

This item from the blog is related to the previous anecdote: Q:What’s a personality trait of a bad marketer?  A: Anti-social. Now that’s amusing.

When you’re on the spot and forging marketing strategy with real consequences, it’s harder to appreciate the humor in situations like these. But as they shrink in the rear-view mirror, you have the luxury of laughing.  Like Will Rogers said, “Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else.” But sometimes it takes a little time to realize that “somebody else” was you!

Christopher Ryan
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