Reread a few weeks ago the book “History of military incompetence” by Geoffrey Regan (Editorial Critic) and one of its paragraphs made me reflect on its similarity with the universe of Marketing. It says: “Clausewitz (Carl von Clausewitz) called the war a ‘realm of uncertainty’, which is why it is up to all military commanders to reduce it as much as possible before confronting their troops with the enemy.”
Change war for “marketing”. Change military leader to “marketing director”. Change your troops for “your company.” And change enemy for your “objective”. And will continue to have uncertainty. Everywhere. A lot.
And you have to live with it. And with the awareness that no matter how much we investigate, the marketing director (or whoever does it) will continue to ignore much more than he knows.
Geoffrey Regan, in the aforementioned work, makes a review of personal causes (fears, doubts, overconfidence, underestimation of the enemy, …) that lead their protagonists to situations in which the difficulties They proved insurmountable to them. And again I thought about the similarity of this approach with our world of marketing.
Among those causes, one of the ones that caught my attention was that of underestimating the enemy. Regan comments that “a military leader who underestimates his enemy gives himself a triple difficulty. In addition to the real enemy with which he has to deal with, for which he will not have adequate preparation, he will have to face the enemy he has imagined and for which he has prepared himself, as well as the resistance of those members of his staff and inferior officers who do not share their points of view. ”
If categorizing people in terms of stereotypes is usually a common mistake in the daily life of all of us, when we talk about the world of the company, and especially from the prism of marketing, this error can lead to incompetence that causes large losses and / or the sinking of the ship. Hence the importance of research, analysis and surrounding of people who at all times provide us with objective information, and not the information they believe you want to receive. “Nothing can be known about the enemy working with stereotypes,” says Regan.
But we can also find people whose problem is precisely the opposite, that is, analyze all the circumstances that surround them, all the information that comes to them, with the glasses of chronic superprudence, which leads many to consider that “victory it’s about avoiding defeat, “in Regan’s words.
These are hard times, in which marketing professionals (and any professional in general) have to face situations in which the error must be present and it will be precisely the awareness of the possibility of making mistakes that will keep us awake, very attentive. And not only analyzing the external information, but precisely looking towards our interior, trying at all times not to let ourselves be dragged or dominated by the feelings of which we have spoken before, because if we let ourselves be carried by them our perception and therefore our capacity of decision, it will be distorted. And from there to incompetence there is only one step.
Yes, there are hard times, times that force us to live with uncertainty, with error, with failure. Because they are inherent in success and success. In fact, they are the same, and only the perspective of who analyzes the play changes. Think that in each battle we will find a winner and a loser. A success and a failure. On the same play.
That is why, in my opinion, trust now becomes more important than ever. I’m not talking about being deluded. I do not speak of blind confidence that leads very occasionally to disappointment. I speak of that confidence in our possibilities. Trusted in our companies. Trusted by those companies in their workers.
And if there is a key department in this work to restore lost confidence is the Marketing department. Precisely because we investigate and help reduce uncertainty, in addition to placing our objectives at their right point, without underestimating or overestimating. Not anything or anyone. With the exact dose of confidence, which Michael Jordan said, “I never think about the consequences of missing a big shot … when you think about the consequences, you are thinking about a negative result”, and for negative, we already have our environment . Let’s contribute this just bit of confidence to the broth of our respective tasks, and the sweat will do the rest.