‘Some of the best marketing is done by the delivery driver ’ – author Colin Gordon

Cantillon: A distillation of lessons learned from more than 35 years in Irish business

Colin Gordon: author of Marketing is in Trouble, published by Orpen Press.

Colin Gordon: author of Marketing is in Trouble, published by Orpen Press.

 

“Quick, look busy” is an instinct many people regularly succumb to during their careers. But a new book by Colin Gordon, a veteran marketer and former chief executive of Glanbia Consumer Foods, argues that the temptation is counterproductive.

Published by Orpen Press, Marketing is in Trouble: How We Got Here and 10 Steps to Get Us Out is Gordon’s distillation of the lessons he learned from more than 35 years’ experience in Irish business.

It expands on his conviction that marketing is a much-misunderstood discipline where “good marketers” are too often seen as synonymous with “busy marketers” – those people who “come in and throw everything around”, switching the advertising agencies they work with and rearranging the furniture, without adding any real value.

“Quite often being busy is a strategy,” says Gordon. The premise of Gordon’s book is that, in an era of cost-cutting and short-term targets, something has fundamentally gone wrong with the practice of marketing.

Lifespan

And because there is a touch of the Premiership football managers in the average lifespan of a top marketing executive, the person has often moved on before the long-term value of their contribution can be assessed.

When the Covid-19 dust eventually settles, companies in the most affected sectors will need strong marketing to stand a fighting chance of connecting – or reconnecting – with consumers. It will help if they remember that marketing isn’t merely about advertising or brand awareness or communications, but about making the sales process as simple as possible.

“It’s about how you connect the inside world of the business with the outside world of the customers,” Gordon says. “You don’t have to be part of the marketing team to do that. Some of the best marketing is done by the delivery driver and the call centre worker.”

Still, it always helps when the chief executive is “the best marketer in the company”.

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