The Marketing crisis for small business and startups
Beware of the trap of choosing efficiency over effectiveness
Episode 113 (Gee is based in Strasbourg, France)
In this conversation with Gee Ranasinha, we explore:
- Why marketing is broken and the resulting marketing crisis
- Appreciating the value of differentiation and danger of not
- How to recognize "the people who call themselves marketers"
- Why it starts and ends with how people feel
- Why you want to consider the amygdala in your marketing plans
- The real purpose of branding when connecting with your decisions
About Gee Ranasinha:
Founder and CEO of KEXINO, an award-winning start-up and small business marketing agency.
Gee's background is in B2B marketing, small business marketing, branding, differentiation, and customer behavior.
Gee's been in marketing since the days of dial-up modems. For seven years Gee was Worldwide Director of Marketing for a software company, working with clients such as IKEA, Marvel, Nestlé, Airbus, and Time Magazine. For the past 14 years he has been CEO of KEXINO, an award-winning marketing agency specializing in helping startups and small businesses around the world deploy next-generation marketing within - and across - their organizations.
A Fellow of the Chartered Institute Of Marketing, Gee is also Visiting Professor at European business school IEF, teaching final-year MBA students on Marketing and Behavioral Economics.
Connect with Gee and learn more at Kexino.com
Excerpts from this conversation with Gee Ranasinha:
It's quite simple, really, it goes to my history, way back when, for seven years, I was worldwide director of marketing for a software company, fairly large software company in Europe serving blue chip clients such as timing can IKEA, Nestle, Airbus Marvel people like that.
And whenever I was invited, to have marketing agencies come in to pitch for our business, I was always amazed at how little notice they took towards any fiduciary responsibility for the marketing plans that they proposed.
And at the same time, this is back in 2007 or so the thing called the internet was beginning to affect our daily lives. I don't know George, maybe you've heard of it, this thing called the internet.
It was, it was the big brands who were the ones taking advantage of the potential of the internet because they had greater technical experience. And obviously, deeper pockets.
And small businesses and startups are getting left behind. And so I figured that there was an opportunity for a marketing agency resource, specifically aimed at helping small businesses and startups that could help them leverage the power of online engagement and the evolution of customer buying processes.
And so that's why in January 2008, I resigned my comfortable corporate position, with all its trappings and international travel and company cars and expense accounts, and all that sort of stuff. And we launched our marketing agency.
So firstly, I think marketing is in crisis, because it is ideologically disliked, in the higher tiers of business. Okay. And secondly, I mean, I'll expand upon this in a minute. Secondly, I think marketing is in crisis, because much of the work conducted by people who call themselves marketers, notice I didn't call the marketers I said people who call themselves marketers is only a tiny bit of what marketing is actually about.
And what the people who call themselves marketers are actually doing is communications is promotion.
Which if we go back to the four P's of marketing is you know, only 25% of what marketing is.
And so, as a result of just focusing on comms and communications and messaging, marketing has been relegated to a sales support function. Right. And within so many organizations, the marketing function is seen as, producing brochures, updating the website, getting some tote bags made, getting some stress balls printed, and at the other end, marketing is being used as an automation tool to automate lead generation and advertising.
But it's delivering substandard and increasingly ineffectual results. So what do I mean that CEOs have a dislike to marketing?
I think they have an inherent distrust in marketing because it goes against the way they think, CEOs and CFOs, accountants, numbers-people, that they look at other areas of the business. And those areas are very pragmatic and they're very, they're based on rationality. They're based on sequential thought.
Businesses are looking to create a, a data driven repeatable process, but one that's devoid of creativity, salience, or resonance, and then they wonder why their marketing doesn't work.
It needs to have in in my opinion, it needs to have somebody who understands a customer. There are far too many conversations that I have with business owners with people who call themselves marketers who haven't spoken to a customer in the past six weeks. Now to me that tantamount to a dereliction of duty,
The book he mentioned, Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.