This is where twelve years of consulting work come into play.
I spent eight or nine years trying to solve problems from a marketing standpoint. What a fruitless endeavor that was, my friends.
I wrote more than a million lines of code trying to figure out a marketing solution to merchandising problems. I probably wasted six years trying to find marketing solutions to merchandising problems.
It was a disaster.
I had a client that went bankrupt while I was working with them. I structure my projects so that the client pays half up-front, half upon project completion. This client didn't pay the final portion of the project because they went bankrupt during the project. That project showed that the brand (out of business halfway through the project) had a serious new merchandise issue.
- Comps on existing merchandise were positive.
- Comps on new merchandise were seriously negative.
That project cost me a lot of $$$.
That project still pays me to this day. Why?
Because that project caused me to shift the focus of my work from marketing to merchandising.
If a company went bankrupt because their merchandising team committed the capitalistic version of malpractice, was it possible that other companies could be saved before hitting the wall?
In response to losing a lot of money due to bankruptcy, I wrote this (click here). One of the reviewers hated the booklet, so please don't buy it.
From that point forward, half of my work has been merchandise-centric. Not centric-enough for merchandising folks and pundits. More than "centric-enough" to identify if new merchandise is a problem.
New merchandise is a huge problem. In 80% of my projects, there is a serious merchandising issue holding the company back. It's almost always a new merchandise issue that eventually becomes an existing merchandise issue. From there, the marketing team is blamed, and the blame leads to all sorts of reckless behavior ... from overspending on Google/Facebook to 40% off plus free shipping to surveillance via retargeting to just about any marketing mistake you can possibly think of.
This keeps the blame game away from those who've earned blame ... merchants ... and more importantly, Leadership.
In more than three decades of work, there isn't a more seminal moment than the moment when a bankrupt client did not pay me. The moment was life changing ... career altering.
The moment became an integral part of my Marketing Management System ... the Great Eight.
My Influences, To Date
- Audience = CMO Nordstrom.
- Awareness = Duluth Trading Company.
- Acquisition = Jim Fulton and Eddie Bauer Home.
- Welcome Program = Eddie Bauer Home, B2B Brand With A Great Program.
- Anniversary Program = Nordstrom Anniversary.
- Optimization Program = IBM/Lands' End, Client With Brilliant Website Personalization.
- New Merchandise = Bankrupt Client.