It started off as a scrambled, agitated client conference call: wind-noise coming in from a hands-free set, the usual telecom status requests (“Joe in the Faroe Islands, are you there?”) and the shushed, preparatory coffee sips before the long discussion. We were to discuss the Marketing Plan.
Things settle down. In the Mezz boardroom, we run through the list of tactics, elaborating point-by-point on the rationale for allotting Y hours to tactic X and the procedures involved. Over the phone, the client sounds satisfied; their questions addressed as we walk them through the marketing process. They know where their money is going.
The calmness suddenly dissipates, with the client’s Sales Team Leader hammering away about a Great Big Opportunity for lead generation at an upcoming tradeshow. “This is a significant milestone for us! We are going to be there and things need to get done! Let’s make it happen!”
A Mezzanine Marketing Director asks, “Okay, I understand your concern. What are your goals for this event? What are you hoping to achieve?”
And then a long pause, as if an invisible light-bulb’s clicked-on in the heads of those on the other end of client’s call-in lines. The conversation has really, only now, just started. We hang back for a few minutes and let them talk about the language for one of their press releases, their marketing materials for the show and about the story they want to tell. They are now focused on the marketing conversation—a strategic conversation about how best to communicate their company’s products, their branding, their position in the marketplace. They are now trying to articulate just how to lift into salience the essence of their world.
The back-and-forth internal dialogue is interrupted again by the Sales Team Leader, this time in a cooler, thoughtful tone. He says, “You know, we’re glad to have you on board. Thanks for getting us started on this conversation.”
The above conversation, although fictional, is representative of the author’s experience and is common practice at The Mezzanine Group. If you’re looking to improve your marketing strategy, start with a meaningful marketing conversation.