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09/16/2008 Who is this for, anyway?

We marketing professionals like to be in control. We like making decisions and hope that someone (our bosses, our clients) thinks we’re making smart decisions. We tend to make it about us, not about you.

But it’s not about us anymore (if it ever was). Those who ignore this run the risk of making some bad decisions.

A while ago, we rebuilt a simple e-commerce site, one that was working pretty well, to make it work even better. Then we ran into a traditional AD who, with support of the ECD, refused to make a “crappy” Web site. It wasn’t about conversions or customers or business goals, it was about making it look “beautiful.” It was really about putting it in the AD’s portfolio.

The beautiful site is up, and it’s doing less business than its predecessor. Guess if the client is pleased.

I’ve seen marketing directors pull the plug on campaigns because they couldn’t see the banner ad or Google paid search. Never mind that we geo-targeted the ads to a different area or that we targeted a different target demographic.

If we can’t accept the fact that it’s not about us, it’s about the customer; if we can’t give up our control fixation and give more control to the customer, we’re going to continue to waste marketing dollars.

And with Lehman Bros, AIG and the rest of the economy starting to tank, that doesn’t seem like a very smart move.


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