For many executives, a whopping 90% of their time devoted to marketing is spent in meetings, yet little time is used to actually work on marketing.
There is an old adage that states, “For marketing leaders on the client side, 90 percent of the time is spent meeting discussing what to do and 10 percent of the time doing it.” And for the vendors, like marketing agencies, “10 percent of their time is thinking about what to do, and 90 percent doing it.” While you reflect upon how this statement applies to your own organization, it is worth noting that I often wonder if the clients who are discussing next action versus doing it is truly “heads-up” marketing? Rationally, one would think, give the workload split of 90/10; in my experience, however, clients tend to have a culture of meetings rather than a culture of thinking and innovation. Then, when the deadlines loom, the hot potato is passed to the vendor, who must discern the most effective way to achieve the objective—quickly, and with nearly all the accountability.
Which End is Up?
Let’s step back and discuss heads-up marketing. Heads-up marketing is a culture in which all of the C-Suite is thinking about the future, not the current state. They care about potential macro- and micro-economic shifts that would have an effect on their business, customers and competition. They plan ahead about what new and innovative offering will fill the desire of their consumer set. They organize and rally cross-functional groups in order to meet common objectives. They actually build plans, do consumer research, identify ideal growth segments and support forecasts with analytics, to name a few areas of focus. But even in a heads-up marketing culture, there tends to be gap on head-ups business-level reporting about marketing. This is a top-down view of the business, no different than you may already do for sales, research and development, manufacturing or finance. Because marketers usually view things from the bottom up using campaign-level reporting, it is natural for senior-level colleagues to start to provide ill-informed opinions on how marketing should be doing. It’s time marketers, finance and C-level leaders keep their heads up to meet the bottom line.
Jeff Winsper is President of Winsper and its business unit Black Ink, which develops innovative technology solutions and provides deep analytical services for today’s marketing leaders. Winsper is a charter member of the Marketing Accountability Standards Board. Connect with Winsper on Twitter @winsperthinks.