Marketing is supposed to promote the products and services offered by companies, which is also supposed to generate sales. Unfortunately, despite their good intentions, marketing people can sometimes do more harm then good to the company they work for. Here’s how:
– by setting unrealistic expectations as to the quality of the products and services delivered by the company, usually accompanied by a lack of transparency when it comes to pricing
– by promoting a brand that simply does not exist (e.g.: leader in their field, exceptional user satisfaction, etc.)
– by broadcasting irrelevant content over and over again, which may get recycled once in a while but the main strategy is to bombard people with the same ideas (e.g.: why you need us, how smart people choose us, etc.)
Another way that is more difficult to catch by most people is to misuse data and statistics. There are many ways to misuse data but the main idea is that we tend to trust statistics and usually don’t even think about questioning the data or its visual representation. One way to understand how this works is to read How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff
“How to Lie with Statistics”. Via Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:How_to_Lie_with_Statistics.jpg#/media/File:How_to_Lie_with_Statistics.jpg
So who can “undo” the harm that marketing may (consciously or not) cause to the company? Here are several possibilities:
1. sales managers who realize that they cannot deliver on what marketing promises, which will impact their relationship with prospects or existing customers
2. CEO who needs to grow the company in a realistic and sustainable manner, which means that its brand also needs to be as close to reality as possible
3. managers involved in actually delivering the products and services promised by marketing and sold by sales, who should not exactly what can be done, what can be improvised and at what cost
4. shareholders who may worry that the success of the company may be jeopardized by under-delivering on the promises made, which may eventually drive customers away
5. PR and communication managers who may need to fight a bad reputation of the company
6. institutions which are supposed to protect consumers and companies against actions which may be misleading and cause not only financial loss but also physical damage to properties and people
In you opinion, who would be the best category of people to handle this issue? Maybe the marketing managers themselves should be the first to tackle it. Should it a team effort? Does it need to be enforced through policies and internal rules?
As usual, I welcome your feedback.