“Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.” – David Packard
A company’s marketing success and duration is in direct ratio to the CEO’s tone and interest towards the marketing of his or her company. Companies who struggle with their viability and performance will not advance any further than the CEO’s acumen, enthusiasm and participation in marketing. Business and sales success firmly begins at the top. Having been a CEO myself for 18 years of a 100 person non-profit organization, the marketing of our organization advanced or slowed in direct ratio to my involvement and insistence.
Not Just Theory, But Is Too Often A Sad Tale
A recent interview I conducted with an insurance company in the Los Angeles area illustrated this point clearly and with poignancy. Upon my requested visit to their office, I met with two senior executives of the firm. Their sales had dropped a whopping 80 percent ever since their website had been penalized by Google, now going on for three years of suffered performance. Bad SEO direction and unsavory links lead Google to do what Google does in this matter – push your site down their rankings.
Years later and semi-frantic attempts with a hit-and-miss approaches with their marketing, to somehow rectify their epic loss in sales, found myself in front of two senior executives. But the CEO was not present. (Clue No. 1) I asked for their marketing plan. They had none. (Clue No. 2) More to the point on why I write today, the CEO never insisted that one be developed. (Clue No. 3) Apparently, the CEO owned other, more important companies and the lackluster sales of this one had not garnered enough of his attention or care. During the interview, my initial ideas where shot down and I could tell that I was dealing with executives who had all but given up. The CEO was not even caring for the morale of his own staff. (Clue No. 4)
The CEO was absent and these two executives had become inured with low performance. “Quiet desperation” was setting in and like a wounded animal, one is attacked and bitten when one lends out a helping hand. Even though the interview consistently challenged how I could possibly help their dire circumstances, I offered to send in an inexpensive proposal to begin at the beginning of the marketing process: To collaborate with them to build a plan for their desired marketing success. Hopefully, an insightful plan with tactical steps would effectively address their quagmire and set into motion some proactive processes to build back up their sales.
What Was Missing?
Even when I sent in the proposal, the executive I met with sent me an email indicating that the CEO found my proposal a waste of money and effort. The CEO never inquired with me directly, even though my LinkedIn profile and the 2-hour interview with his executives would have indicated that I may possibly offer some insight and value.
What was missing was the CEO himself – his keen interest and personal involvement. I then emailed my retort indicating such omissions on the CEO’s part. This was not appreciated as it had the sting of truth. Of course, this was not something the CEO wanted to hear nor what his junior executives could apparently change.
Change Begins With Humility
How can one change a bad habit or a down trending business? A prime marketing tool is a mirror. CEO’s: grab it and ask that person what needs to be done.