The room is dingy and poorly lit. A single light-bulb hangs from a wire in the ceiling. There are no windows and the paint on the walls is peeling. The interrogator is clearly a “professional."  It’s not a matter of if the man in the chair will give up his secrets, it’s a matter of when. The man being interrogated, a marketing executive, looks nervous. His mind is working fast to see if there is some plausible response that might make the questioning stop – but doesn’t reveal too much.

The questions come again:  What are your greatest fears?  What keeps you up at night?

After a little bit of thought, the marketing executive finally decides to spill his guts and confess his greatest fears.............

I know I am wasting 50% of my marketing budget, but I’m not sure which 50% . I brought industry best practices from my last company to my current job, but I have no idea which marketing programs are working and which ones aren't. When it comes to plan next quarter's marketing initiatives, I am dreading the guess work that comes with the prioritization exercise.

I get a pit in my stomach every Sunday night in anticipation of the Monday morning staff meeting . The VP of sales shows up with great reports automatically spun of his CRM system and is getting relatively good at predicting the outcome of this quarter and even next quarter "despite" complaining of a lack of qualified leads every week.  I stay up late Sunday night putting together PowerPoint slides about my lead generation activities, but there is a flimsy feeling in the air when I present these slides every week.

Every now and then, I want to punch the VP of Sales in the face . Every time I get together with the VP of Sales and my boss, the VP of Sales says that all of deals that are closing originated with a "relationship" that one of his sales reps had or a cold call they made. I am pretty sure that he's full of shiitake, but I can’t prove it. My bonus is starting to reflect my bosses perception of these little meetings.

The playbook from my last marketing job is no longer working . At my last job, I filled the top of my funnel using email marketing, telemarketing, seminars, and trade shows. I am getting the nagging feeling that the effectiveness of marketing methods I built my career around are getting less and less effective every day. There were tumbleweeds blowing through my booth at the last trade show and I had to hire a full-time person to help me put "butts in seats" for the seminar series we held.

The fact that I spend a third of my marketing budget on telemarketing is disconcerting when I do not answer my own phone for fear its a telemarketing call .  I have a similar fear around my email marketing campaigns – but at least they don’t cost as much. I’ve heard of the Internet and even read blogs, but I am a web immigrant, not a web native. I’m not exactly sure what to do about it.  My boss keeps chirping about starting a blog, but I am having a hard time figuring out the value (ROI). My younger employees are forever forwarding interesting blog articles to me and seem to always be a step ahead of me in terms of industry knowledge.

If some of this sounds familiar, the good news is that you are not alone. This is a summary of the feelings of most marketing executives I talk to.

From those of you carrying around pits in your stomach, am I missing anything interesting or humorous?

-- Brian Halligan

 

internet marketing kit


Originally published Feb 26, 2007 11:52:00 AM, updated October 20 2016