Even in the biggest corporations, with the “best” talent, three years is the average.
It’s such a persistent problem that the Harvard Business Review dedicated an entire section to getting to the root of the problem. The result was inconclusive.
Being an endlessly curious kind of Pixie, I wanted to start unravelling this problem. After all, the publishing work that I advise others on, and the publishing work that YOU do, is affected. Any kind of business publishing is considered ‘marketing’. It’s blogging, social media, the awfully named (and usually badly approached) “brand positioning” (which actually means nothing in terms of business growth or improvement).
The conclusion I reached was that HBR was looking at marketing using the wrong definition.
When I wrote about this recently, I suggested that the problem is that “marketing” isn’t a role, it’s a function. I also suggested that the function consistently fails because it’s most often viewed as being a role, and neglects to be coherent across everything from product design to sales to service.
Instead, marketers and copywriters sit in their little ivory towers, and talk about what to do.
Some, who are brilliant, try to shift the goal posts.
But then you know what happens? The CEO — who drives the entire strategy for the entire business — gets miffed at someone trying to do his or her job. The person who is accountable for the strategic direction is the CEO, not the CMO. The CMO’s job is to make sure that the CEO has visibility over everything that falls under its gigantic umbrella, so that he or she can avoid the proverbial icebergs.
The reason why most CMOs fail to deliver is because marketers often see their roles as being a driver of organisation-wide transformation, instead of being the conduit for information to the CEO about the how all of the ‘marketing’ components are functioning.
Where does this, then, leave your publishing activity?
Way back at the start of this year, I wrote about how publishing is a business. It’s a business-within-a-business, and must be viewed the same way. The challenge is that the publishing “business” must not only be coherent with itself, but with the rest of the entire business.
This is why ‘brand positioning’ is like painting the toenails of an ogre and expecting it to turn into Prince Charming.
It’s why ‘just doing some content’ is like planting little pebbles and expecting them to turn into oak trees.
And it’s why writing material just on the fly is about as good for your goals achievement as taking acid and jumping off a roof believing that you can fly.
You can stop yourself doing loads of stupid things just by putting a Production Calendar in place.
It, um, won’t stop you taking acid, though. That one’s all on you, baby.