Dear CMO:

A colleague and I got onto the state of marketing and what characterises how things typically go wrong. And when you need to categorize what’s wrong with the human condition, I usually default to the 7┬áDeadly Sins.

To anyone who says they’re unfamiliar with them, here’s a reminder: sloth, envy, lust, greed, pride, anger and gluttony. I have my favorites, of course, as do you. But back to the world of marketing. If you’ve spent time around marketers, marketing and budgets in general, you’ve seen these in all their glorious finery.

Sloth: who cares what consumers think? We haven’t told them what to think. Research is for people who don’t know what they’re doing.

Envy: of course you’ll get that rebate going! Sales wants it! And if sales wants it, you’ll do it. Fast. Because you’re scared of sales.

Lust: the sales of rocks and trees are up 30% – cars, on the other hand, are flat. You think it’s about the ad campaign, don’t you?

Greed: you can’t imagine a marketing plan that doesn’t spend money. Lots of money. You define yourself based on your budget.

Pride: It’s always worked in the past. There’s no reason to re-work it all. We had all those off-sites, remember? Why waste time. We know what we’re doing. Hubris.

Anger: you’re busy, terribly important, stressed, and you don’t have time to do it right. Can’t you get it through your head? Of course we did extensive consumer research – we did that focus group in Fresno, remember? Just check the box and move on!

Gluttony: you’ve got more data than you know what to do with. You’ve got a marketing five year plan, an 18 month promotional calendar, and a roadmap that stretches from here to infinity. You don’t come to many exciting conclusions, but you’ve got your bureaucracy down to an artform.

They’re called sins for a reason. And they’re deadly as can be. Any of these look familiar to you?

 

Regards.