Why Marketing Programs Fail – Reason # 5

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

As marketers, we all have a specialized skill set that allows organizations to attract and retain customers.  This is what we do.  Yet how often does someone in finance think they can write copy, lawyers crush the intent of the copy, or sales tries to take the lead on creative?  We’ll all experienced this.  Today’s blog tells you how to diplomatically keep these individuals at bay – so you can do your job well 

  • Thank them for their input and interest.  Once you thank them you have their attention.  Then you can explain why things are the way they are.  Much of the time this will be sufficient to get them out of your hair. 
  • Ask them why the change to copy/input is important.  You’ll likely get an excuse of some type – to which you restate the goals and strategy of the program and how although their idea is “interesting”, it does not fit the particular project you are working on.
  • Address the impact of their suggestion on the budget of the program.  One client we had wanted us to mail a block of wood etched with a marketing message in it.  Besides the obvious difficulty in mass etching a block of wood, the post office was less than thrilled.   This program died a quiet death once the costs were considered
  • Go over their head.  This is a last resort, but if thanking them and discussing the project with them (to make them feel included) does not work, you may need to go to a senior ally in the organization and work top down.  If you do this, be sure to have a solid case for your POV.
  • If all else fails, document everything.  If it turns out you have to do it their way, document everything.  (Especially the impact you think the changes will have on costs/response/customer reaction).  Provide alternative plans along the way.  When the program fails, do not rub it in their face.  Instead show how the program results were as you expected (and shared), talk about what was learned from the program, and propose one of your (original) ideas as a next step.

Too many cooks in the kitchen can be delicate as far as client relations and internal politics go, but with a little foresight you can come out on top – or at least not tarnished as you could be.

Happy Marketing



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