What Does Marketing Really Want?

Monday, 14 November 2011 06:30
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What Does Marketing REALLY Want?

R&D executives routinely express frustration that they often must wait for Marketing to provide their new product needs. This information enables R&D to define its technology needs/wants. Why does it seem to take so long for Marketing to offer this direction?

I can recall an incident from several years ago while I was a Merchant (retail's term for Marketing Manager) working at Bath and Body Works' corporate headquarters. I attended a colleague's new product presentation to executive management. He presented what I considered a well-reasoned case for a new personal care product line.

On its merits, it seemed a good bet to be approved. However, I have learned that in retail, sharing executive management's sensibilities can sometimes be at least as important a success determinant as the logic employed in arguing one's case. His concept was deemed by management to not adequately reflect a sophistication that it felt was needed, based on comparative inspiration derived from a recent European retail shopping trip. His proposal was rejected and he had to go back to the drawing board. He also had to share this news with his R&D team members.

I share this anecdote simply because it helps offers perspective on some challenges Marketing can face when seeking to gain executive management approval to its new product plans.

I have found that corporate decision making can at times be far more subjective than one might imagine. I'm not suggesting in the example above that management was "wrong" to reject my colleague's proposal. Just that it can be difficult at times to predict success, and the criteria employed for making decisions.

Of course, I am recalling only a single incident, and it would be wrong to suggest that it is typical.

My point is: it can be tougher than it might seem that it should be for Marketing to earn management's green light for its new initiatives.What is your experience in this area?

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