Connecting the dots

Here in the U.S. the news over the last few days has been dominated by the attempted bombing of the Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. That got me thinking about how this might correlate to marketing or sales issues within your company. (Yes I am twisted, or focused, or something.)

Much of the media has been all over discussing the need for full-body scans to prevent this type of problem. While some have focused more on why the dots weren’t connected given all the clues that were available:

  1. Paid cash for the flight
  2. No luggage
  3. His dad calls the U.S. Embassy and says he is worried his son may be a terrorist

So what is the lesson here for us in running our businesses more effectively? Simple, it is much cheaper to get it right in advance than to try to make up for it afterward. The cost of full body scans, in terms of equipment deployment, additional passenger delays and frustration is much greater than simply connecting the dots and targeting this person.

To the best of my knowledge this is the only person who has traveled to the U.S. in the last several years with the intent and potential ability to blow up the plane. Screening everyone to have caught him seems foolishly expensive when he could easily have been caught prior to boarding the flight from the information available.

The correlation? It is much less expensive to get the front-end of marketing right than to try to make up for it on the back-end. This year, most retailers did a stellar job of having the “Goldilocks amount” of merchandise on the shelf for the holidays. (Not too much, not too little.) This will likely translate into much higher profits for them on a slight increase in sales.

The U.S. car makers (most of whom went bankrupt) focus their marketing on moving the cars they build (special pricing and promotions, discounts, etc.) rather than on the front-end of marketing where getting the right cars to market would mitigate the need for discounts.

A reminder once again of what Philip Kotler said a while ago, “…most of the impact of marketing is felt before the product is produced, not after.”

Happy New Year,


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1 Response to Connecting the dots

  1. Taylor Graham says:

    When I asked an attorney friend what he thought was the biggest issue that had to be fixed with regard to the pending health care legislation, health care in this country in general, and our total judicial system, he replied in two words, “Tort reform.”

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