July 26, 2007

Knowing A Secret At A Big Company

Reading Mack's article, you sense the frustration of a person who "knows a secret". In this case, he knows that a certain style of corporate writing will "work", based on his experiences. The folks at the corporation he talks about, however, don't see the world the way he sees it.

I worked at three big companies. There aren't many businesses bigger than Nordstrom ($8 billion+ in annual sales in 2006). Everybody knew something that would help grow sales, something that wasn't popular with the masses.

Big Companies = Big Frustration.

Maybe you're the Director of Online Marketing at a retailer. You know your portal advertising drives sales to stores. But the folks in the stores hate your stupid "banner ads". You know a secret.

Maybe you're the Director of Circulation at a cataloger. You know that your catalogs drive 60% of all the online sales. Yet, the Online Marketing Director was promoted to Vice President, while you remain trapped in the same job for the past seven years. You know a secret.

Maybe you're the Web Analytics guru. You know that the changes made to the look and feel of the website hurt conversion rate by eight percent. Yet, your CMO received an award from an interactive marketing agency for branding strategy. You know a secret.

The painful part of a corporate secret is that there may be very little upside to sharing it.

It may not be worth the effort to convince the traditional CMO to have a viable corporate blog.

It may not be worth convincing the organization that your catalog drives the majority of web sales, now that you're considered a "multichannel" organization.

It may be worth the effort to convince the organization to improve conversion rate by eight percent, as eight percent can mean the difference between profit and loss.

Keep corporate secrets that don't move the sales and profit needle.

Keep corporate secrets that move the needle, but can be implemented without ticking off non-believers. In Database Marketing, this accounts for eighty percent of your secrets. You can implement a new statistical model for determining who receives versions of an e-mail campaign without inflaming your entire merchandising team ... so long as you increase overall sales.

Then there's all the battles that are worth fighting. These are the ones that keep life interesting, the ones you choose to change jobs over if you fail.

Every one of us knows a 'secret' that will improve the performance of our business. The bigger the company gets, the more people that need to be convinced that the secret is reality, resulting in a lower probability of implementation.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:01 AM

    Excellent post, extremely insightful.


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