It’s been an interesting few years as I’ve stepped away from selling products and moved into selling my expertise (consulting).
I thought my professional marketing accreditation, 20+ years of marketing and product management experience, 10+ years working in trenches of my own business, and loads of marketing successes (particularly in the digital field) would have given me the credibility and trust needed to guide clients through the process and take them a direction they needed go.
With the help of Andrew Neitlich, I learnt the
art science of coaching. The process of listening, using active enquiry to extract pain points, and letting the client do most of the talking. And using this process, I have been successful in starting engagements through mutual agreement on a problem to solve.
Yet remarkably, an interesting pattern has emerged. When underlying issues are uncovered and solutions are presented, business leaders seem to consistently dismiss the issues, rule against recommendations, and continue doing what they’ve been doing. Believing they’ll get better results
I’m not sure of the causes. But I am surprised with the amount of money being left on the table due to lack of trust in the recommendations of a professional marketer.
Perhaps it’s a marketing industry problem. It’s un-regulated profession. Despite the ability to gain accreditation (as I have), no-one enforces usage of the term ‘marketing’ in job titles, unlike other industries such as accounting and legal.
Or perhaps it’s the very nature of marketing - because it deals with needs and motivations of the individual, individuals themselves can perhaps feel they are the expert.
Or perhaps it’s fear. A good marketer will look at problems differently and choose not to follow the crowd. This is the very definition of ‘differentiation’, but can be frightening for those who lack confidence to stand-out and go it alone.
I take strange comfort in the fact that I’m not alone. As noted by dozens of recent articles on the topic such as this one: CMOs Are Facing The Shortest Lifespan In The C-Suite
But whatever the reason, the reality is, marketing consultation is a tough gig. When everyone believes they're the marketing expert, who’s advice are you going to follow?
I believe it’s time therefore to move to Evidence Based Marketing. Rather than engage in a battle of opinions, we use instead a scientific method to guide the marketing process. Measure customer behaviour, statistically analyse data, use behavioural theory to design choice nudges, and implement measurable experiments to see if the campaigns are working.
This is where my focus has shifted to, and why I’ve started a new marketing analytics and optimisation agency called Nuhdge.com. I'm hoping the process is not only engaging for all involved, but will help unlock the value in organisations that are currently being held back by poor marketing decisions.
See you on the other side?