It’s time to call an end to something that there are entirely too many of in A/E/P and environmental firms everywhere— lazy marketing directors. I am talking about those marketing directors who do very little work themselves and accept absolutely no responsibility for results.Certainly there are a lot of good marketing people in our business. And with the way we, as a group of companies, treat them, we are lucky to have them. But then there is this other group— the lazy, non-performers— who are able to sell themselves into jobs where they can get by and coast along until they are discovered for what they really are.I realize this may sound cruel to many of you, and at least unfair to many more. But the facts are the facts. I have been working with A/E/P and environmental firms for more than 25 years. And I have not just met, but been forced to try to work with, many of these lazy marketing directors. Here are some of the tell-tale signs:Lazy marketing directors don’t work the hours everyone else does. They come late and leave early. There are big gaps during the day when they aren’t around, and there’s no explaining where they have been during that time. They aren’t there on the weekends. And they always seem to be going to another conference or playing another mid-week golf game with someone who may at some point turn into a client or work-referral source. Lazy marketing directors cannot ever seem to get the plan together. There’s always an excuse— more information is needed and someone won’t give it to them; there were too many proposals and qualification documents to get out; there were too many presentations to prepare for; the open house took all of their time, etc., etc. You get the idea. The plan— the thing that drives all marketing activities on a schedule— never gets done. Therefore, the activities that are supposed to follow the plan don’t get done either.Lazy marketing directors cannot implement their plans. Even if the lazy marketing director is motivated enough to do the plan in the first place, the next place they fall down is implementing it. See all the excuses on #2 above and add to them complaints such as everyone in the company wants to review the newsletter before it can go out; the Christmas card went through 17 iterations before it could go out; they need more help; everyone who works for them is bad, and more.Lazy marketing directors accept no responsibility for results. It’s all out of their control. They may be in charge of marketing but if the work is not coming in, don’t look to them. It’s not their fault. The company doesn’t support marketing. The principals won’t sell. The project managers aren’t selling. The quality of the work is bad, and the clients are not coming back for more work. I could go on and on, but if you have a lazy marketing director, you’ve already heard all the excuses.I honestly don’t think that you can turn around a lazy marketing director. They probably just need to be replaced. I guess the best you can hope for is that your worst competitor hires them and they inherit your personnel problem. On the other hand, it just doesn’t seem right to let them go on. I wish there were some way you could warn the other firms. Let’s face it— being a successful marketing director in our industry takes a lot of courage, energy, and talent. There’s no room for anyone lazy in our business!Originally published 9/05/2005
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Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.
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