One common cause of marketing mistakes

May 15th, 2010

How many times can you drive a car blindfolded at 110 mph before you crash?

How many people do you know who would find that exciting?

Whether you call it 11th Hour Disorder, Last-Minute Syndrome, or just plain old procrastination, those questions and the answers to them describe the mindset that not only accounts for many a marketing mishap but also is more prevalent in our society today than ever.

That is largely because technology, and especially the “add-water” mentality driven by real-time communication modes, has exacerbated the problem.

Exhibit “A” is the client who won a contract when the proposal was developed under the direction of a methodical, deliberate project coordinator, but did not use that project coordinator for the next proposal — and missed the deadline for delivery.

The tendency to wait until the night before the final exam to begin studying, or the day before the presentation is due to start crunching numbers is definitively masculine, and probably at least as old as Cro-Magnon Man, who did not possess time management skills (or refrigeration), and hunted his mammoths whenever he got hungry.

Then there’s the drama factor. As any firefighter can tell you, you get a lot more kudos for saving somebody from a burning building than for preventing a fire in the first place.

In an insightful, classic piece titled “Thirteen great ways to kill your company’s marketing,” John Graham of Graham Communications wrote thusly:

“While an adrenaline rush may come from racing around and upsetting everyone involved, it does not go with good marketing. The last minute tornado technique goes with poor planning, sloppy execution, unnecessary mistakes, and cutting corners to get the job or program out the door. Furthermore, it shouldn’t be tolerated and neither should those who practice this approach.”

So Ben Franklin was right. Haste really does make waste, and an ounce of prevention is worth at least a pound of cure.

C-suite types should heed this wisdom because it will enable them to get the best work and results from their marketing, advertising and PR people. And marketing, advertising and PR people have an ethical duty to educate C-suite types to that truth.

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