Let’s face it. Marketers are castaways.
Okay maybe not you per se.
But take a good look around you. Chances are, some of your b2b marketing colleagues suffer from what I call The Gilligan Effect.
an impairment in foresight, motivation, discernment or mental acuity that,
when applied to marketing problems, leads you nowhere
The Gilligan effect is aptly described by characteristics of colleagues you know, who resemble traits of the seven shipwrecked TV personae. Let’s examine which characters are foils for b2b marketers; you know – those who give you Cabin Fever.
Thurston Howell, III
Your ticket to ride. Your big media, three martini lunch. Old money. Doesn’t quite understand that on the island, as in The Circle of Trust, cash is not all that useful. Spends it anyway.
One of the smartest people you’ll ever know. Academic wing-nut. Font of technical knowledge. Most of it, completely useless. Like many b2b marketers, lets a fascination with tools and technology overshadow common sense.
Face it. Everyone wants their marketing to look great. Especially marketing headed for a shipwreck. ‘Nuff said.
Part Commander-in-Chief, part Teddy Bear. Strong and noticeably reticent when it comes to originating new ideas. Ever at the ready to flog you with your own PowerPoint deck when you screw up. Seems to forget the buck stops with him.
Ah, the age of innocence. The Gen-Y intern charged with running your Social Media initiatives. Not limited by imagination – but hampered by structure, thinking, mentors and culture. Will eventually leave you for deeper waters when she discovers her capacity for growth is anchored, like the SS Minnow, to a shallow inlet.
Classically educated and pedigreed. Steeped in tradition she struggles to preserve the status quo. Probably gives Mary Ann really helpful guidance on Social Media, proper use of brand iconography, and of course – the dress code. Bristles at the idea that commoners can be more influential than she. Refuses to give +K to make your day.
Affable and off-target, while he is the workhorse on the island – he seems to be doing the wrong things, wrong. In B2B marketing teams, he handles the chum, and grits through the grunt work. We laud him for his pace, and lampoon him on his impact.
You see Gilligan and the others represent a classic management paradox, allowing our marketing to appear more like a line segment than a Circle of Trust: the shortcut in buyer insights, the unremarkable idea, the confusing landing page, the social shiller, the “look how much data we’ve got” reports that are much ado about nothing.
I know these are problems with any function – but as B2B marketers – a profession in transition, we need to find ways to deal with the Gilligan effect. Personal point of view, stewardship of a change agenda, commitment to education (including sharing ideas that matter), empowerment to stop the line, mentorship of individuals – these are just a few ways as leaders we can move from grinding it out like Gilligan, to Market Like a Wonka.
Too much Ginger? Trouble keeping the Professor focused? Tired of Mrs. Howell’s ‘help’? Weigh in.