Are we there yet?


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You can’t succeed without a clear objective, but success also requires a plan for enacting the necessary actions required to achieve the objective.

Not so long ago Companies flaunted their mission statements as being the purpose of their business, while the current fashion is for many businesses to exhibit their “green credentials” and “inclusive and diversity” agendas. Despite what many might think, the only purpose of a commercial business is to make money. The act of making money should not be confused with how the business makes money. Commercial businesses make money by satisfying customer demand in a manner for which customers are prepared to pay, thus providing the business income.

The responsibility of every commercial manager is to produce a sustainable flow of profitable income for the long term future of the business. They have the responsibility for getting and retaining the custom which produces the necessary income. Thus the subject of investment has a particular importance for commercial managers as they are assessed on their ability to maximise profitable income while minimising costs, investment and the use of assets.

When businesses lose sight of their objective, they are inclined to be side tracked into actions and investment which provide little in overall contribution. So how should commercial managers go about managing their assets and investments to produce profitable income? Peter Drucker said that “if you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” While this statement may perhaps be simplistic; for those whose responsibility is producing income, then the demonstration of effective management will require quantifiable measurements of “inputs” and “outputs”. In other words, effective marketing requires the measurement of those activities which directly or indirectly produce income, together with the amount of income produced

A management consultant of international standing said recently that he had a number of
conversations with clients that have caused him to ask, “How will you know if your meeting, plan, presentation or whatever will be successful?” Having asked that question countless times in the past to various people, he said “it seems that lately, the answers seem weak or unknowing, as if managers have suddenly lost any semblance of knowing why are doing what they are doing.”

When managers lose sight of their objective and purpose, they can start to “go through the motions and potentially game the system.” Necessary indicators of progress should be part of every business or action plan to ensure that the objective is obtained, and remedial action enacted if required. Using a military principle, to be successful with any action or activity it is important that the commercial manager should “maintain the aim”, to achieve the objective.

Before starting anything the commercial manager should ask
• Why should we undertake this task
• What would this task contribute
• How will we know that the task objective has been reached
• Is this task necessary

When planning any event or marketing related activity, there are a number of actions that the commercial manager needs to consider.
• What type of action or activity is proposed? – E.g. a sales promotion, exhibition, advertising campaign, management meeting etc.
• What is the aim or purpose of the activity, – How does it benefit or contribute directly or indirectly to profitable income? Meetings for the sake of meetings are time wasting.
• What actions are required to enact the activity?
• Which staff members need to be involved?
• Are outside specialists required?
• Which actions are critical for progress, – What is the sequence?
• What time is allocated, is it time critical?
• Is a progress schedule required?
• What resources are necessary?
• What outcomes are expected?
• What measurements can identify success?

The commercial manager who will be assessed on results, should at all times know what progress has been made on each project, when it is completed, what the results were, and whether the completed task fulfilled its objective.

© N.C.Watkis, Contract marketing Service 22 Jun 23

Nicholas Watkis, AE MA DipM CMC FCIM
Nicholas Watkis set up Contract Marketing Service in 1981, providing professional interim marketing management for a wide variety of businesses. Over 30 years practical experience in organizations, large and small, national and international, led to the development of Business Performance Maximized specialist in marketing performance measurement.


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