Wednesday, March 29, 2006

marketing and the cursed business

Ever wonder how to market a cursed business? One that's failing because of CEO stupidity? What other kinds of business failure are there? Not many, I'm afraid.

From my many years in the corporate world, including working for Madison Avenue, Broadway, and Wall Street firms in NYC, I can tell you that business failure is nearly always the fault of a stupid CEO. I have met with many clients, from General Motors and Caterpillar, to little podunk schmuck ass local business chumps.

Business trouble, failure, and collapse is nearly always because the one at the top always was, or suddenly becomes, a loser, a fraud, a jerk. A disaster on wheels. Vaporware Walking.

Without balls or clues, they plod along okay for a while. Then the ship begins to sink. Fast. Panic. Talk about "new marketing ideas", but do nothing.

Buy silly superficial decorations, plasma TVs, a big new sign, new carpet, new furniture...

...anything but new behavior, new attitudes.

Revolutionless, cowardly, ineffectual, they plod along, but in a panic now. The panic causes them to make lousy decisions, be influenced by traitors, and actually believe that intentions and talk are all it takes to survive.

When you step in, authorized, to handle the situation in a professional, expert manner, a few feathers get ruffled, and suddenly your job description morphs on a daily basis. "Don't do that, it's bothering the ___________ staff! They need you to do things that will please them. So focus on satisfying the _________ staff."

This is the death rattle of the dying business leader.

The one at the top has delegated real reins of control to usurping, conspiratorial underlings who seek only their own comfort, routine, familiarities. The CEO likes to hear himself say he favors innovation, seeks radical solutions, and wishes to be totally customer oriented. But when the necessary changes are begun, he quickly bows down to the selfish whims and territorial paranoia of incompetent sandbaggers.

CEO cave-in is a tragic spectacle. It may sicken you to watch a grown man grovel at the whip of those who are snacking on the last remnants of cheese on his sinking ship. "His" necessarily, because it is generally the old White Male Patriarchal Domination System that is freaking out of control.

Tendency is to push slaves harder, and "slaves" includes the marketing consultant. They try to get you to do new, non-negotiated work, a seat of the pants twist on your original agreement.

* "Can you remove spyware from my computer?"

* "Can you fix my database so the labels print out correctly?"

* "Can you bus that table over there?"

* "Can you kiss my harem's skanky asses?"

What we see now is a mind-blasting fear of mediocre employees quitting, because of changes you, the consultant, suggest.

The reactions of certain insecure, inept managers or salesmen or waitresses carry infinitely more weight than the voice of the consultant or the customer. You notice how this staff abuses other employees, and threatens to quit, to instill fear in the CEO.

It then builds into the scenario of consultant and customer against the company. I don't have to spell out where all this is leading, do I?

The business is cursed.

You see what is really going on. You remember your Freud and Derrida. The sexual deconstruction of the scene and seen is remarkable in manic marvels and doomed fruit.

Even when you offer great advice, low cost services, discount rates, special reduced price work, the self-destructive fool just focuses on how to exploit you, squeeze newly demanded, unexpected work out of you.

Your best response: "I can no longer do any work for you. I quit."

He: "But why...?"

You: "No reason. Goodbye."

I just fired yet another client, for wasting my time.

I did a whole full blown blog, with many photos and such.

Less than 24 hours later, poof!


Flush The Magic Toilet.

Entire project, advertising channels, promotion strategies, blog, direct mail program, GONE.

Never to be raised back to life. There's nothing vindictive or vengeful about my response. I'll only be mildly annoyed with myself for wasting any more than 10 minutes on such tripe.

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