Monday, 7 September 2015

The Tale of the Marketing Dinosaur

I first wrote this blog below in 2010. I stumbled on it again recently and wondered has any of this changed in the last five years. Your comments would be appreciated !!
This is a true story-the identity of the organisation is revealed near the end.
I used to be a member of a large professional trade organisation who used to send me no end of printed and electronic communication. One of these items was a quarterly guide for the courses they offered. It gave me details of courses that were available nationally and some that were only available regionally. It was a generic guide covering courses from Aberdeen to Plymouth. It was an A4 48 page document that weighed a ton. With over 20,000 members receiving it 4 times a year it was costing them a fortune to print and post it. 
Spotting an opportunity, I contacted the organisation and eventually got through to the Marketing Director and discussed with him a number of money-saving ideas. Reducing the size to A5 would have saved them thousands of pound in postage alone, but my main suggestion was to do a number different versions. I explained that i wasn’t interested in their courses in Scotland or the South of the country, just the ones in the North and had they considered doing a number of different versions. I had costed out that doing four versions in A5 with fewer pages, would again, save them many thousands. 
This wasn’t rocket science. It wasn’t making a great deal of new technology. I was just a common sense approach that would have saved the organisation over five figures a year. Guess what the dinosaur said?
“Yes it all sounds like a good idea, we had considered something similar but the course guide in its current format works well for us” 
Despite my subtle persistence, they were not prepared to experiment with a new format to see if they could improve their attendance at courses even greater. They told me their courses were not always full. It would have required a bit of work on their part but the dinosaur was insistent they weren’t for changing. I eventually I gave up and walked away.
You are probably thinking “what is all the fuss?, there are lots of lazy marketing departments out there”. That’s very true, except this was the Head of Marketing at the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)!! Yes the leading Marketing trade body in the UK who are there to advise on best practice and inform their members of new trends and technologies. 
The CIM must be full of Marketing dinosaurs. They are living on the vast fees they charge their members and put little thought into reporting on new trends and technologies. Visiting their so called “Learning Zone” and searching for terms like “cross media” or “QR codes” produce no results. I haven’t a clue what they do. 
Needless to say I resigned my membership as soon as I could as I didn’t think they were a relevant organisation for the 21st century. I hope they change, but I doubt it. The marketing dinosaur lives on but for how long?

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