Part II Bob Prosen - Kiss Theory Good Bye

11/29/2006

Kiss_theory_good_bye_1 In Part II of Diva Marketing's interview with Bob Prosen author of Kiss Theory Good Bye Bob offers marketers two keys on How To Rub Shoulders With the CXO’s, Five Positive Habits That Get Companies Places Fast and more. (Part I of Diva Marketing's interview with Bob Prosen)

2 Free Kiss Theory Good Bye books to Diva's readers.

Before you get into part II, Bob has generously offered 2 Free Kiss Theory Good Bye books to Diva's readers. The first 2 people to drop a comment on this post and request the book will find themselves with quite an interesting read.

Toby/Diva Marketing - I believe it was President Truman who said, “The buck stops here.” However, how involved should employees be in developing processes and in decision marking?

Bob Prosen - Yes, the buck stops with the leader. But every decision shouldn’t end up on the leaders desk. It’s important to remember that the higher up you go in an organization the fewer decisions you should be make.However, the magnitude of those decisions is far greater. For this to work others within the organization must take responsibility for day-to-day decisions or the organization will become stymied, slow to act and less competitive.

When it comes to developing processes, I use the following rule of thumb: Managers work on the process and employees work in the process. Meaning, managers are responsible for approving processes that employees help design. Because process changes generally require reallocation of resources, its management’s responsibility to approve such changes since they control the budget.

Marketing
Toby/Diva Marketing - I found Kiss Theory Good Bye to be very insightful. The book addresses leadership, sales, finance and operations and customer loyalty. However, strategic marketing seems to be relegated to a step-child role. In fact, one example even placed the responsibility of developing the product mix in the hands of the financial team.

“The products with the smaller margins were being sold to make quota. The solution recommended by finance was to change the sales incentive plan to encourage the sale of the higher-margin products.” Page 88

The decision to sell higher-margin items did not appear to take into account, the market or customer dynamics. Perhaps the lower-margin products were loss leaders that led to the sale of higher margin items. Perhaps the lower-margin products were a strategy to enter a new market. Perhaps the lower-margin products were the glue of a customer loyalty strategy.

That is not to say, that sales and marketing should not be ROI-based or accountable. However, it appears that this was a short-term fix to what might be a more complex situation.  It also seemed that the organization was comprised of tightly held silos if the marketing team wasn’t brought into the discussion. Perhaps the conversations should have begun with marketing and included finance.

That said, where do you see strategic marketing in the c-level suite?

Bob Prosen - Toby, I agree with you that today most companies do relegate marketing to a step-child role which is very unfortunate. Often times marketing is like a diamond in the rough and will only show its brilliance when the CEO respects the ROI it delivers. So for any marketer who wants to rub shoulders with the CXO’s here are the two keys:

First - Marketing must understand and communicate in the language of business leaders, this includes knowing how their programs impact earnings, cash flow, ROI and NVP. If not, marketing will be underutilized and viewed strictly as a discretionary expense that is continuously targeted for budget cuts.

Second, make sure your best friend in the company is the head of Sales, because he or she is always seated at the planning table. Here’s how it should work. When sales is asked to commit to the top line they should agree only if the required marketing plans are approved. A tight relationship with sales makes marketing invaluable.

Smaller companies rarely have to deal with this because they don’t have a dedicated marketing department. Instead, the CEO and head of sales take on the responsibility with accounting in the background keeping score.

Toby, your question is spot on! I recently delivered a keynote presentation at a Business Marketing Association conference on this very subject – What Top CEO’s Expect From marketing. It’s a hard-hitting presentation packed with specific actions that, when employed, will dramatically enhance the power of marketing.


Getting Places Fast

Toby/Diva Marketing - To wrap up our interview, you describe five crippling habits that get companies no where fast:
1.    Absence of clear direction
2.    Lack of accountability
3.    Rationalizing inferior performance
4.    Planning in lieu of action
5.    Aversion to risk and change

Can you give Diva Marketing readers Five Positive Habits That Get Companies Places Fast?

Bob Prosen -
1.    Hire people smarter than yourself
2.    Deliver on commitments
3.    Develop an accountability based culture
4.    Under promise and over deliver 
5.    Reward results not activities

Toby/Diva Marketing - Looking in your crystal ball, would you share your thoughts with Diva’s readers about the challenges and opportunities you see in store for the next generation of businesses and business leaders?

Bob Prosen - We’re entering that next generation as we speak. One of the biggest challenges is information overload and how do you stand out given the unbridled accessibility to the customer and all of the social and Web 2.0 bombardment they are subject to.

What will separate the winners from the losers is the ability to use this technology in such a way that future clients want to hear from you.

The other challenge is the changing work ethic of the Generation Y employee who demands a balanced life. Winners will have created an environment where employees are encouraged to “kiss theory good bye and kiss their life hello” thereby attracting and retaining top talent.

The answer is creating the right work environment combined with state of the art technology that enables this life balance.

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Comments

I'm an insatiable reader and would love to have a copy of Kiss Theory Good Bye. If Toby recommends it as an interesting read, then that's a book that ought to be on my reading list!

Great interview, Toby - and thanks for sharing, Bob. I especially liked the 5 positive habits.

Posted by: Connie on Nov 29, 2006 10:02:35 PM

Hi,

Interesting...

I have a question for Bob and for you Toby.

The organisation I used to work for earlier use to deploy the 'Balanced Scorecard'. I found that a very useful tool to give a strategic direction to the team and also the team had a clear participation in the company's larger objective and milestone goals.

What has been your experience with that or other such tools?

Of course, I would love to have the book :).

R

Posted by: Rajesh on Nov 30, 2006 6:22:56 AM

Rajesh-

Thank you for your comment. Balanced Scorcard is one of several tools, that used effectively, will help align and focus an organization on metrics.

But be careful, any tool is only as good as the people using it. One of the pitfalls is having far too many measurements which often leads to losing focus on the few things that matter most. What I call the significant few rather than the important many.

Metrics are important but they only report the news. What we really want are results!

For me, one of the best ways to create alignment is through effective and consistent communication.

I hope this helps. And yes, I will gladly send you an inscribed copy of Kiss Theory Good Bye.

Best.

Bob

Posted by: Bob Prosen on Nov 30, 2006 8:57:36 PM

Connie-

Thank you for your wonderful confidence in Toby!

It's my pleasure to send you an inscribed copy of Kiss Theory Good Bye. Please feel free to send me your thoughts once you've had the chance to review it. I love getting feedback.

Best.

Bob

Posted by: Bob Prosen on Nov 30, 2006 9:04:11 PM

Hi Bob,

Thanks for your reply. I know what you mean.

Do share examples of the Significant Few or do are the variable from business to business?

Also, whilst I want a copy of the book, I could easily pick a copy from a bookstore here - I am continents away from where you are :).

Enjoying talking to you.

Rajesh

Posted by: Rajesh on Nov 30, 2006 9:46:28 PM

Bob,

I look forward to reading the book - and I will definitely provide feedback. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with the blogosphere via Diva Marketing. I'll "pay it forward."

Best,

Connie

Posted by: Connie on Nov 30, 2006 10:16:38 PM

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