Let’s Blame Marketing For Lack of Sales … That’s Novel

gaplogoGap Stores reported lower sales in Q1 year over year. They blame it on a lack of “Marketing.” By this they actually mean marketing communications. That is lack of TV, promotions, etc. Lack of a Chief Marketing Communications Officer (well they refer to the person as a CMO, but that is not really their job) is the culprit.

I doubt it.

McDonald’s didn’t improve sales because of the I’m Lovin’ It campaign, though their then CMO did take credit for those increased sales. McDonald’s got their act together operationally and consistency improved, and sales went up.

What’s wrong with Gap Stores? How about their offerings are not what their customers want. They are slow to respond to trends and are having their lunch handed to them by H&M, Zara and other more nimble, fashion focused retailers. But hey, it’s easier to blame it on “Marketing” than admit you have an execution problem.

Now, having said that, I will suggest that Gap Stores does have a Marketing problem; as we define Marketing. Marketing is responsible for aligning the capabilities of the company with the current and future needs of customers. Gap has not done that well in some time now. They are not going to fix it with better marketing communications. They may be able to increase revenues with promotions and off price offers. Same store sales may not slide, but profits will. That is the real Marketing problem that they have; not the lack of effective Marketing Communications.


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