putting the advertising cart before the business strategy horse

Why can’t some marketeers grasp that they need a business strategy in place before they start worrying about a marketing plan, or a comms plan, or an ad campaign?

I keep coming across marketeers who will quite happily let you present insight driven concepts for creative work (as per their brief), before suddenly admitting that they don’t actually know which market sector they’re aiming at, or what their NPD strategy is, or in one memorable case, what the blumin company is going to be called next month.

I appreciate that in an ideal world some of this could or even should be led by the brand positioning itself, but I’m increasingly frustrated by senior client-types who put the advertising cart before the business strategy horse.

Perhaps its something to do with the relative ease of briefing an agency compared with the complexity of putting your own house in order.  In some cases, in the absence of an immediate role for communications, I’ve ended up becoming more of a business consultant and coach to my clients stuck in Multinational Bureaucracy Hell than their Planner. 

I suspect that sometimes there’s some kind of desperate hope from clients that the agency will wheel out their hitherto unmentioned top-level management consultants and offer their services as part of the fee…

So I suppose I’d better add Coach, Consultant and Strategic Guru to my list of alternative job titles for a Planner


that’ll be me then…

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