The PMM Colossus…or feet planted in two worlds

Everyone who works any phase of Marketing, Product or otherwise, has their feet in two worlds.  Just as a martial arts student lives in a dual world.

As students of karate, we enter the dojang, bow to show respect to our teachers, remove our shoes, and don our dobak, our uniform. No longer do we wear our street clothes, we all dress the same. Yet, our ranks are easily identified by our belts and yes, by the respect other students show us, by virtue of our successes. We have become a member of a new world, the world of martial arts. However changed, we have not forsaken our former life, and yet we still are…

As marketing professionals, we too enter the building, say good morning, open our Outlook and determine what the day will bear. Marketing (big M) has changed. We are a member of a new world, yet we shall not forsake the former. We’ll enhance it?

As PMMs, we are the advocates of our products. We focus on the bottom-line, the win. Yet today’s marketer cannot ignore the voice of the customer, without risking abject failure. It is apparent that the previous world of “push marketing” is no longer the path to success going forward.

I say that in Marketing’s dual world that we advocate for both our customers and our products!

I suggest every  PMM, marketing manager, or PM can thrive within these two worlds (company goals, customer focus) to ultimately “be one” with these places by:

  • Clearly defining your vision – that’s the over-arching strategic plan. It doesn’t matter if you are a C-suite professional or manager. You are a leader, this is what a leader does: chooses the path, the process, the plan.
  • Asking what battles your customer needs help in winning; go after these, win these battles.
  • Stating in a clear, uncomplicated fashion what the product/service is, and what it does to solve the key problem with which the customer is wrestling.
  • Go beyond the obvious. Ask is this the REAL benefit? Nothing else matters.
  • Listen. Listen. Ask questions. Listen more. Advocate for your customer. Evangelize.
  • Persevere – the answer may not come immediately, but the goal is always in sight.
  • Accept responsibility for your training – later, accept the reward of a plan well executed and enjoy respect from the community you helped grow.

In short, for success, we must straddle two worlds  – one known, the other, not so much.

Choon Bee (ready position).

Pil Sung!

About prdmkgblackbelt

UConn MBA - GO Lady Huskies! UGA Mom, quasi geek, techno-catalyst, NPDP, PrdMktg, reads Campbell & Covey, black belt from Hoshido. Loves sunrises; believes sunsets are promises.
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6 Responses to The PMM Colossus…or feet planted in two worlds

  1. R. Bush says:

    You could sum all that up in two words for any marketer: customer service
    Or as my grandfather used to say and follow with his store policy, “the customer is always right”. Somehow we have lost that customer service, and the current marketing attempts, such as the numerous phone calls and notes from department stores when I purchase from them, are basically a lost cause on me. I don’t wish to be constantly called and badgered into buying things….I buy when I need something, not just to fill their profits. So if they really want to do something right, it is in the store itself. Find out what I want, what I am interested in, and followup on that. Keep up the good work.

    • Your granddad had it all together – and it showed with the success of his business. It appears you have taken a page from his playbook – didn’t your ballet school win “Best in Atlanta”?

      Great customer service isn’t new, but it sometimes feels like it’s a concept no longer important, doesn’t it?

      You reminded us of the real reason marketers provide great customer service – to learn more about their customers’ needs, which leads to better customer service, and ultimately more (engaged, happy) customers.

      Thank you for your comments. I truly look forward to hearing from you again. Let’s continue the conversation, shall we?

  2. Thomas Huynh says:

    Brava, Karol! As an advocate for the customer and the product, the marketer must understand both, and why he or she can become the connection between both. I also agree with your statement that marketers need to get to the real benefit; for example, if you want to market a car that is safe, don’t simply list out the safety features but show a real-case family that was able to walk away from a crash scene in the car.


    • Ah, the connection between the “both” (customer & product) – I call it the catalyst.

      W/o that “between” there is no real meeting of a need. There is no benefit explained, no connection.

      Apple is good at this. The implied/underlying/unannounced is made transparent, a “need” is surfaced and the product, well, it is right there for the prospect to buy.

      I very much look forward to continuing our conversations, Thomas (who also reads the WSJ). Best to you today!

  3. Adrian says:

    Couldn’t agree more with your comment that you should find out what your customer’s battles are and then help them succeed.
    They’ll remember. They’ll return. They’ll be loyal.
    But only until you fail. So don’t fail a customer.

    Good luck with the blog

    • The secret, for sure, is in the watching/listening/learning of your customers needs.
      We are taught this skill in martial arts – learn about your opponent long before you engage them. Now of course, our customers aren’t opponents ;-), but the concepts are transferable.

      Thank you for your insightful comments. Looking forward to continuing the conversation Adrian from across the pond!

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