What has hiring a marketer got in common with ‘the emperor’s new clothes’?

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Marketers are?

What has Marketers and the emperor’s new clothes got in common?

In my growing experience … a lot!

Let’s step back a bit… when did you last read this short novel by HC Andersen (second best thing to come out of Denmark … losing only to the Beer).


Skip this paragraph if you know the story… The gist of it is that two swindlers pretending to be weavers promise an emperor a new suit of clothes that is invisible to those who are unfit for their positions, stupid or incompetent. When the emperor parades before his subjects in his new garb, no one dares to say anything until a child points out that he’s not wearing anything at all.


The moral of the story can be three fold (if not more) … speak up if you know the truth no matter what people will think… Don’t believe in all you hear without proof… Sometimes it takes a child to educate an adult


Coming back to marketing now. In my experience you have ‘marketers’ that fits the role of the child, the swindlers, the crowd and the emperor out there. You could see it like this:


The Swindler marketer – Suave, confident, bully with fantastic skills in manipulating… sometimes even the customers to a degree. Don’t care what marketing is or about the business, has their own personally focused agenda for power and success. The ‘results’ appears very impressive due to the sales pitch, but in the end is false.


The crowd marketer – Listens to what they’re told about what marketing is by someone else and are too ignorant, incompetent or stupid to know better and blindly does pretty PowerPoints and shiny designs for a living. As with the swindler they are not focused on business outcomes, but in their case they just want to keep their job so they go with the flow. Either way the business suffers and no one can see any value in the outcome


The emperor marketer – Ended up a marketer because they can take any role they want as they’re there not by merit but by connections or family. Likely to make tall claims about business goals that are unfounded, but people around them fear their ‘pedigree’ and bow to their wishes. They don’t have to worry about delivering value as their position is already at the top. Marketing again is wasted and customers sees the organization as walking naked in the street marketing wise.


The Child marketer – Listens to what others say but will form their own view and speaks up without fearing the loss of face by doing so. Creative and will focus on satisfying the goals of the business in new ways in a growingly complex marketplace. The outcome is a business where real value is added and new channels that are effective are considered based on their merit.


Relevance??? I put it to you that the existence of so many SCE’s (Swindlers, Crowd and Emperor… another TLA for you) in the profession is the main cause of why so much really bad marketing is done and why management in organisations gives up on marketing and relegates it to an administrative function and promote number crunchers and sales reps to management. The focus becomes about dollars and revenue, not process to achieve a successful long terms exchange relationship based on customer satisfaction!


The solution? For marketing as with everything else we need to be open to the changing world, dare to speak up and forge ahead… Explore new channels but be critical as to their use before you blindly follow the next fad.


Do you agree with the analogy above?


Let out the child marketer within and speak up :J

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