April 18, 2016

But They Are My Friends

Who is the best friend of a credible marketer?

The answer should be "your merchandising team".

Who does a marketer tend to spend more time with? The merchandising team, or the vendor community?

It's a trend that has been twenty years or more in the making. As the internet overwhelmed what used to be called "direct marketing", aspects of internet marketing were outsourced. Paid search. Retargeting. Affiliates. Facebook. Social (notice I didn't lump Facebook in with social). Email.

What used to be a twelve person marketing team became a six person marketing team with two dozen vendors supporting the endeavor. What used to be a forty hour workweek filled with co-worker companionship became a sixty hour workweek with the hope of a vendor-paid dinner at a steakhouse.

Attend a half-dozen of these vendor-paid dinners (remember, you paid the vendor to pay for your dinner, so ultimately, it's you that is using company funds for steak dinners), you get to know your vendor reps. You get to know them better than you get to know somebody who works in the merchandising department, that's for sure. You craft a relationship with your rep. When you are fired or "retired" or you get fed up and quit, you land somewhere else. What do you do? You call on your friends ... your vendor reps, and you bring them in and give them business.

Turns out those vendor reps are pretty good at Customer Acquisition, aren't they?

You are successful when you have a good Customer Acquisition program. In order to find a new customer, you have to sell merchandise to that customer, right?

In other words, your focus should be on your merchandising partners.

Want to try something unique?

How about you identify a key employee in each of the following departments.
  • Finance.
  • Website Ops.
  • Merchandising.
  • Creative.
  • Information Technology.
  • Human Resources.
  • Any Other Department Important To You Within Your Corporate Structure.
Take these employees out to dinner at your favorite steakhouse, seafood emporium, or pizza joint. Get to know your co-workers. Learn what motivates them. Learn what causes them fear.

Then, work with your new friends to grow new customer counts. Show them that when you succeed, they sell more. And when they sell more, they earn promotions and salary increases and better bonuses. Demonstrate that you are there to help them be successful.

Build your own brand response marketing team.