The Marketing Bureau

Specialist Marketing & Communications Resourecs



Got Any MMDs?

(First Published in NZ Business Magazine July 2003)

MMD stands for Mini Marketing Director and one sure-fire way to successful business is to fill all your management and staff positions with them.

I was struck recently by how often we hear Managers proudly proclaim that heart-warming mantra “our people are our most important asset”  

And how heart-warming it would actually be if it were, by some special piece of magic, to become something more than a meaningless mantra and take on the almost spiritual characteristics of truth.  

And how do I know that it isn’t true?  

Or, to be more precise, that it isn’t true in many, although not all, organisations?  

First, there is the “lights on, no-one home” syndrome.

You all know it well and you can all can detect it from a thousand paces. This staff member may be there in body but is very definitely AWOL (Absent Without Leave) when it comes to their heart, soul and brain being present and available for work.  

If people are this company’s most important asset, the mind boggles at how they are protecting their other assets.  

Next is the results of a little granny test that I have been running for some years.

When I begin working with groups of managers and/or staff in client organisations I will always ask how many of them get out of bed in the morning with a spring in their looking forward to another great day at work?  

The answers are saddening.  

Only around 5% will say that they do.

Ipso dipso, up to 95% would appear to prefer to stay in bed.  

If people really were the most important asset of the organisations for whom they are working then, once again, it prompts the question of just how they treat their other assets.  

Then there is the question I ask of many groups about their motivation at work or, to be more specific, what is the thing that most motivates them.   The answers to this ongoing question are many & varied but I am also disappointed to note that “doing great work” is never amongst them (not rarely, but never).  

Once again we must surely question the truth of the "people are our most important asset" mantra in those organisations.  

There can surely be no doubt about the fact that people are indeed an organisations most important asset but the doubt emerges when we consider for a moment whether businesses are actually practicing what they and many of the rest of us preach.

And the answer to that would seem to be a resounding “no”.  

Let’s briefly consider the powerful reality that businesses are, before they are anything else, “marketing organisms”. That is what a business, at its core, is engaged in – marketing. An internal combustion engine, once ignited, is ticking over, irrespective of whether anyone is sitting in the driver’s seat. A business, once begun and until it ceases to trade, is marketing (verb), irrespective of whether anyone is sitting in the driver’s seat or not. Once it stops marketing its stops trading and the rest is history.  

The role of an organisation’s people is key to this so a few “dos” and “don’ts” of people management might be of some help to you (and take note that these guiding principles should be applied to every person that works in your organisation, irrespective of their role or seniority): 

Don’t adopt the all too common mushroom principle of people management (“keep them in the dark and feed them bulls**t”). This will breed suspicion and mistrust.  

Don’t ever hire the best of those who applied. (Hire the best for the job and if they didn’t apply, go find them)  

Don’t treat your people as anything other than valuable, contributing human beings (The term “Human Resource” has always worried me a great deal).

Do recruit them carefully & well (after all, whatever job they do, they are about to become walking, talking brand icons)  

Do train them well (New Zealand businesses are poor at developing and resourcing long term measurable training & development programmes – they are the kings of the “sheep dip” approach although perhaps that shouldn’t be a surprise)  

Do equip them with a working knowledge of the business & marketing concepts.  

Do ensure they understand how their role makes a difference (both positively & negatively)  

Do equip them with a comprehensive understanding of what behaviours are required of them in fulfilling their role.  

Do model the behaviours that you expect from your people.  

Do motivate them through constantly reinforcing the way in which they are contributing to the performance of the team, department and company.  

Do reward them based on the behaviours that are required of them  

Do treat them as professionals in their fields (there is no such thing as “unskilled” labour in a marketing oriented business – every single person brings some skill that is valuable and should be valued)  

Do treat them all as brand partners – they are  

Do empower them in their new found roles as “mini marketing directors”

Brian H Meredith

Nicole Williams commented on 31-May-2011 06:54 PM
Hi, You have some interesting articles on here, enjoy the humor added to illustrate your points. However I thought you may like some feedback on my journey to reaching this article: 1. I came to your website after reading the latest NZ Business mag 2.
When on your home page I was intrigued by your banner 3. I was intrigued by the question about Mini Marketing Directors and had to wait for the banners to scroll through to the one on MMDs. Adding the ability to fast forward or select the banner would have
handy (rather than making me wait 15 seconds for the banner to return). 4. Then when the banner returned it was pretty frustrating when only the small sign at the bottom was click-able - why is the whole banner not click-able? 5. Then the banner took me to
a generic page NOT the article on MMDs I was expecting 6. I had to read past the fold to get to "What to do" to the link to "Stories" 6. Even then it was not clear that this would take me to the article advertised on your homepage 7. After clicking on stories
I arrived at the start of your blog... 8. Still no mention of MMD - until I scrolled right down the page and saw it on the right hand column, hidden in the tags list 9. Finally I reached the desired article - 4 clicks after seeing it on your homepage. Although
this maybe a purposeful ploy so I would learn more about your company before getting to the goal - I found it annoying and difficult, and I didn't bother reading any other on the way. I guess the moral of my story is I am pretty stubborn, other visitors may
not jump through that many hoops. Although this seems negative I still stand by my comment that your writing is interesting and worth reading - may I also suggest you allow visitors to subscribe to your "stories" section - it's essentially a blog and I was
further surprised that this wasn't already built in! If you do add this let me know and I will subscribe. Kind Regards, Nicole

Let us know your thoughts
Captcha Image