Marketing Idea No. 235 – The revised role of HR in business

Human Resources has often been one of the most misused and underutilized departments in an organization. Traditionally seen as nothing more than the guys who recruit and train people, HR executives are often subject to envy and ridicule. Envy, because they dont usually have the same revenue and profitability targets that sales, marketing, finance and operations guys have which keeps them up at night. Ridicule, because of pretty much the same reason. They dont have much of a role in company’s profitability. Hence they are often treated as second class citizen.

To change all of this, globally there has been a realignment and repositioning of HR roles. All top organizations have redefined the roles of HR from a support function to a business partnership function. The redefining is to ensure greater involvement and accountability of HR managers with business targets. Some of the traditional functions of HR has been outsourced to make HR managers focus on creating a culture that fosters delivery of brand promise and superior customer experience through superior organizational practices. Titles of HR Directors have become Chief People Officer and HR managers have become Business Partners.

In short, HR has been repositioned inside organizations as another growth gene in the corporate DNA. We just have to wait and see how this repositioning benefits organizations.

Marketing Idea No. 234 – Why monetizing your blog, social network and site makes a lot of sense

Most companies are misunderstanding the massive opportunity that social media marketing represents. Last month the IBM Institute of Business Value published a report entitled ‘From Social to Social CRM’. The report surveyed 1000 consumers about the reasons they interact with companies via social sites and then compared this with the results from surveying 350 business executives on why they thought consumers followed them on on social media. The results highlighted a perception gap that can only mean companies are missing out on direct revenue opportunities.

The reality is social media followers WANT to be monetized – they are after deals, promotions and discounts. Unfortunately most business executives are barking up the wrong tree by thinking that conversation with the brand is what drives people to follow them. In reality it is quite the opposite. Of course this represents a massive opportunity. If brands build up large social followings they can distribute social offers into this community and the research suggests that commercial results will be healthy. You can’t get more focused social ROI than campaigns focused on revenue. Marketing executives need to meet consumers expectations when they follow companies on social sites through providing regular deals, coupons and social offers.

Marketing Idea No. 233 – He loves the product. He loves it not

Unlike almost all relationships in the world, marketers should preferrably have a love hate relationship with their product / service.

If its all love, then it clouds marketer’s judgement. As marketers, we are obsessed with out product and as a bi-product of that obsession, we feel our consumers care about our product so much (just like us marketers do) that they literally sleep with our brand, dream about our brand and cant wait to think about our brand again when they wake up. But the truth is, consumers couldnt care less. To them, they are a solution to one of his problems ( and he has many many other problems which none solves for him) and he couldnt care less. As marketers we love our product so much, that at times we dont find any fault with it, even when its as clear as daylight (Ask Kodak, IBM!). We are more in love with the past glory of the product and our personal association with that glory attached with the product’s past. And our love sometimes for our product is so devoted and blind that we cannot let go, even when common sense tells us the demise of this particular product is probably makes more sense than anything.

Thats why blind love between marketers and product is a dangerous proposition.

But in the same way, marketers shouldnt dislike their product. If the marketer has no confidence in the product and if he personally doesnt feel that this is a game changing, fantastic product / service, no amount of creative advertising, media budget and cash discount can make that product a winner. If you are not convinced, none else will.

Thats why there should be a verty delicate and complex relationship between the product/service and marketer. He should have enough faith in the product to continue the loving and nurturing relationship of building that product. Also, that devotion should never turn into blind love that clouds judgement and makes him think about the product and product only, not about how its solving customers problems.