In our client relationships we typically have two types of business models.
One model is that we become the Marketing Department for the business we serve. We meet weekly with the client—meaning key decision-makers like the CEO, CFO, COO, GM’s and DM’s or sales directors, depending upon their company structure. We work as a team to establish marketing plans for each quarter of the year and have active discussions on how our decisions affect operations, purchasing and sales. In this model everyone has input and helps establish the direction and goals together so there is no question what will be developed and executed. And that saves the client money in the long run through planning and clear direction.
The second model we often encounter is one that involves a Marketing Director or Chief Marketing Officer. We have several clients with CMO’s in place and in this model, our relationships vary.
Many of the CMO’s bring us in early to develop plans in accordance with senior leadership goals. The goals have been established and they ask for our ideas, strategies and experience in the implementation of these goals. Once we understand the “mission,” it is our job to figure out the most efficient use of their marketing dollars to get the most bang. The glue that holds this together is collaboration.
Unfortunately not all Marketing Directors are created equal and we find that some are often more concerned with protecting their turf and even presenting our ideas as their own (to their superiors) to guard their “value.” They keep us separated from operations and sales. And when we are not in the room when the strategies and tactics are conceived, it’s hard to be held accountable. We become more like a vendor than a strategic partner and you’ll never get our best work under those circumstances.
CurrentMarketing works best when it is invited to the “big table” to assist with the strategic planning necessary to achieve corporate goals. We want to get input from the folks actually working in the business and have found their ideas to be as important as the CEO’s vision for the company. I can’t tell you how many accounts we have acquired and discovered that marketing dollars were being spent without the valuable input of operations and purchasing. “Let’s develop X and make them implement it right away!” Never once considering if X will create more challenges—than benefits or “butts in seats”– upon execution.
Teamwork is the best way to come up with the most effective strategies for just about any challenge in your business and we are thankful at Current that our clients get this!
San Francisco-based Goodby, Berlin, & Silverstein (now the 500+ employee-strong Goodby, Silverstein & Partners) launched their agency in 1983, running an ad with the headline: