A Marketing Dream Team

A UK marketing director landed in Tokyo on a mission to boost the performance of her new department and asked how she could best coach and build a winning team in Japan.

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I took her questions to the most successful marketing directors operating in the Asian Pharma market and their answers reveal the secrets of marketing success.

Peter Drucker’s mantra, “What gets measured gets managed” is a good start.

Another marketing director, based in Singapore, praises the management technique of Kaizen (Continuous Improvement), which follows on from Drucker’s idea.

“We deployed a new system that involved monthly reports and meetings to review pro-gress along with KPIs,” he said. “Setting an expectation for improvement; working side-by-side to reinforce progress, and going back to root causes of errors with patience, were the keys.

“The KPIs were tracked publicly and repeatedly in a positive way and this helped to estab-lish a carrot to reward the team on progress.”

Other executives were more focused on solving problems.

It was Henry Ford who said, “Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them.”

Thanks to the advice of Japan’s top marketing minds, I have combined their offerings to present the four “Ps” of building a great marketing team. They include:

  1. Purpose
  2. Problem Identification
  3. Proactive Marketing
  4. Prioritization


What is the goal? What are the Big Hairy Audacious Goals?

The term, “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” (BHAG) was proposed by James Collins and Jerry Porras in their 1996 article, Building Your Company’s Vision, and the core idea was to begin with then end in mind.

Goals must be set an a marketing team must ask, “Where will we be in 5 years, 3 years, 1 year, 6 months, 1 month?”

“If we had the perfect team what would it look like? If everyone was maximising their po-tential what would the team look like?”

We learn by doing and the individual components of the marketing process, and we best learn in teams. The successful team employs each new component in its routine activities and then progress is is recorded. As the results flow in, strategies and business plans are mapped out.

My research indicates that successful teams learn together. Winning teams read marketing books together and apply new strategies to day-to-day business.

These teams understand that learning and education is a lifetime pursuit and there is al-ways a new way to look at a problem.

They also know that they do not have know all the answers. Outside consultants, external courses and offsite meetings can breath new life into their marketing programs. Problem Identification

Questioning the challenge is the key to explaining everything we do, and it is simple as ABC. (A) Solve a problem; (B) Meet an unmet need, and (C) Take advantage of a process in order to ultimately increase sales. All our marketing activities should meet this criteria. Proactive Marketing

“Reactive” and “Proactive” are the key words. The urgent is not always important and the important is seldom urgent. Many get caught in the reactive trap. It is best to explain to people that good marketing is the overlap between reactive and proactive marketing. What this means is that if the customer wants something (reactive) and we can put a so-lution together (proactive) to ensure the benefit falls within the mapped out, and well-designed strategic plan. There are thousands of drill bits sold every year, but who wants a drill bit? People want the holes. So sell them on the value of a hole. Prioritization

Decisions need to be validated. Is the decision being made on anecdotal evidence? What is the worst case scenario? Once we have decided a course of action, plan for the worse and expect the best. It is never too late to start again. Knowing what we know now what would we do differently if we could start all over again?

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