What maketh the manager?

My theme in this blog is the phrase: ‘An awful lot of noise but no clear signal’.

While I am a co-founder of ‘mint’, which concentrates on marketing for dental professionals, I also run Meredith Marketing – which has a wider portfolio of clients.

Recently, I undertook one-day marketing consultancy exercises at three different businesses in one week – only one of which was a dental practice. All were successful operations run by ambitious, positive-thinking people.

In these sorts of sessions, I invariably have to ask a number of questions before we can start to discuss marketing aims and objectives.

In each of these particular sessions the same thing happened – the people at the top didn’t have key information at their fingertips.

In the case of the dental practice, the principal did know how many patients were on the book, how many were active, what was the NHS/private split and so on.

The directors of the non-dentistry businesses couldn’t give me their sales figures, their turnover or their profit margin.

All three appeared to have sophisticated management reporting systems but comments such as: ‘There is a report we can get, but I don’t know how’ and ‘I wouldn’t trust those figures, I’m sure they’re not accurate’ were typical.

There was even some frustration spilling over into anger that a system they’d spent a lot of money proved beyond their comprehension (they had not followed up with training or given a team member the responsibility to do so).

This brings me back to my theme: ‘An awful lot of noise but no clear signal.’

Unless you know very clearly how your business, enterprise or practice is performing you cannot know how you want it to be operating in the future and you then cannot determining what marketing strategy to employ.

Oh, to never hear the words again, ‘We tried marketing and it didn’t work’. How do you know? What were your marketing objectives? What did you use as measures of performance? Where your staff fully aligned with the marketing message or did you not even consult them?

If this blog makes it sound as though employing me for a marketing audit would mean facing a lot of pertinent questions, I’ve conveyed the correct message.

If I remember correctly, Naguib Mahfouz, the first Arabic writer to win a Nobel Prize for Literature, is quoted as saying: ‘You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.’

If you’d like me to ask you some questions, email me at kate@mint-tastic.co.uk.

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