Marketing is about more than just marketing communications. So is brand-building. Ask any first year marketing student. So why do I keep seeing headlines like:
I read this in the Globe & Mail and had my usual reaction—what a lot of nonsense.
But why do I say that? The problem is right there in the headline. Does anyone really believe that RIM’s problems with Blackberry can be resolved by getting the message out? I seriously hope that RIM’s mandate for Frank Boulben, the new CMO, is a lot more than that.
If this was just a reporter’s bad headline then it wouldn’t be an issue. But it’s not. This kind of thinking is pervasive. We’ll just change the message, throw more money at it, and advertise our way out of trouble. Unfortunately this is a road to almost certain failure.
The day this article was published I received messages from two friends, both senior marketing executives, each of whom declared that the new CMO is already in the cross-hairs and his failure is inevitable. It’s just a matter of time.
But maybe not. Hopefully it was just a bad headline and that Mr. Boulben will address what most pundits would agree is RIM’s bigger problem—its marketing strategy. That is why the Blackberry brand is in so much trouble—it’s not simply a problem with its marketing communications.
It’s probably safe to say that RIM has been vanquished from most of the mass consumer market by the relentless focus of competitors such as Apple and Samsung. So RIM will need to figure out which customers it can serve better than the competition given its competencies.
With clarity about the value being sought by it’s current and intended markets, RIM will need to ratchet up its R & D to ensure a continuous stream of value-enhancing innovations both with respect to its products and services, and also its business model. It needs to move fast so that potential competitors will find themselves at a growing disadvantage.
Mr. Boulden, as the new CMO, should be deeply involved in this whole process. Only then will he be in a position to communicate the compelling value that RIM is creating and able to deliver to its customers.
RIM’s business success will be driven by their ability to create and deliver compelling value to its customers. Without figuring out what that is first they won’t have a word to get out. Maybe the headline should have read:
RIM hires new marketing chief to refocus its marketing strategy
Because, in the end it’s all about building strong brands and businesses. And that’s about a marketing strategy that creates, delivers and communicates compelling value for your customers. The customers you choose to serve. And that is what this Blog is going to be about.