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January 2006
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March 2006

Bell Choirs & Marketing

Many people like to think of inbound vs. outbound marketing.   Initially I've only thought as marketing as a full duplex event.   But in many larger organizations, different marketing people have different responsibilities.  For instance trade events.   The problem with these organizations is many times the lines of communications are thin between the different parts of marketing.   Which is pretty ironic when you think about it.

Years ago I played in a bell choir.   The way it works is each choir member is assigned two to fourBells bells to play.   But in order to produce a musical number which sounds great, everyone listens to each other and adjusts their playing together.   So it is with great marketing groups.   Each group listens to each other and works together.   Both on the inbound and outbound marketing.  The results are far superior to those who work independently in their silos of marketing responsibility.   And that depends in large part upon the skills and culture of the conductor.

Are you a good conductor or player?

Monopoly Marketing

No, I'm not talking about the boardgame.   Instead I'm talking about how difficult it must be for the marketing department of a monopoly when the executives use their position to squash competition.   Then your job becomes one of damage control.   Especially when we're talking about the Internet.

While the Internet embodies the best practices of a free market, access to the Internet brings out the worst excesses of monopolies.

Let me explain.   The big Internet providers are working on ways to throttle back bandwidth for access to create an Internet society of haves and have nots.   Sad but true.   Doc also wrote about it here.   Here in Utah we have a project coming online which delivers 15mb upstream and downstream for about $40/month.  Soon those speeds will be available in 50 and 100mbps.   Qwest is our monopoly here.  So rather than compete with the new system, they spent tons of money fighting it in the legislature.  When that didn't work, they filed lawsuits.

If you believe markets are conversations, just what kind of value do you think they place on their customers?   And this after several Qwest former executives have been charged for financial fraud by the SEC.

So Qwest has been running a ton of ads on TV talking about what great people they are and their pride in service.   Damage control is not marketing.


Building a long term relationship requires transparency in that relationship.   We don't expect this in our politicians, but we certainly should have that expectation in business.  As marketing professionals, we need to be clear about what have to offer to whom and why it will help them.   If we miss the mark, we need to listen and improve.   You cannot be all things to all people and should not try.   But this is a process, and you will never be spot on.  Or if you are, it will be fleeting, because needs and wants evolve and change over time.   

But transparency ensures that you and your market will continue to work with each other.   I believe playing with your cards face up is always the best policy.  Unless you're running for office.