Fact: When it comes to marketing spending, analog still outstrips digital by a factor of three to one. How could this be?, you ask. Digital marketing provides targeted reach and measurable impact. Innovative digital marketing approaches in social media, CRM, and other areas dominate the discussion. Nevertheless, analog spending still rules, as confirmed by Gartner’s 2013 digital marketing spending report. Shouldn’t CMOs and all marketers be shocked by this? Sure, an ample pile of dollars can be attributed to big spending on a few analog media channels, like Super Bowl ads, for example. But I would suggest that there is something more fundamental happening behind the numbers; something lurking in the very nature of digital marketing and what it asks of leadership and what it means for accountability. Continue reading
Contrary to popular opinion, strategy is not about turning uncertainty into certainty. Lots of bureaucratically inclined board members and corporate executives want and expect this to be the case. When reviewing strategies, you can hear them asking for proof that the strategy will be successful.
This kind of exchange is a terrible mistake on all sides. Advocates are promising something they can’t control and are setting themselves up for harsh punishment if things don’t turn out the way they hope. At the same time, making a guarantee in advance simply reinforces the mistaken belief that it is possible to be certain about any future outcome. Continue reading
Rational managers for the past thirty years have tightly focused on efficiency, cost cutting, and day-to-day execution — perhaps to a fault. With increasing industry disruption, efficiency is fast becoming of secondary importance to innovation and agility. Many large organizations have too little capacity for external sensing, strategic reflection, and business transformation. Continue reading
I was driving past a Volkswagen dealer during a 15-hour drive from Miami to New Orleans when my 9- and 10-year-old kids excitedly pointed out the old Beetle that was parked alongside a row of brand-new models. Ah, yes, I said, a clear case of brand reinforcement through product differentiation: The odd thing stands out. At another point in the trip, their $8 headsets broke at the plug. We analyzed this as a case of defective design, probably the result of poor cost analysis. Continue reading