I’m still shocked...how can an accountant be in charge of marketing?
I am yet to meet up with the former CEO and frankly I am losing interest in meeting him at all.
Just last week, I called him twice and asked him when he wanted us to meet. He told me he was in a meeting and would call me back, but he has not done so since. So I am letting him be and focusing on my duties in the office.
Just yesterday, I had a meeting with my team to find out what the plans are for the remaining part of the year. It hit me just the other day that we are now approaching the last quarter of the year which is usually make or break for us.
The team is doing quite well though the marketing team is not doing well.
Even with my layman eyes, I have noticed that we do not advertise enough and even when we do, our ads are so unimaginative and do not have anything that makes me feel good.
I realised I was not the only one who was feeling that way because during one meeting most of the managers kept complaining that 'we are not getting the necessary marketing support.”
The marketing manager kept throwing lines about 'how we must adhere to brand and budgets.” I decided to stop the public conversation and said, “Can we have this conversation offline.” We continued with our meeting with a resolve to be ‘more aggressive and focus on debt collection and other deliverables.”
After our meeting, I called in the marketing manager whose name is Tony in my office so that I could get some understanding of what is going on.
My first question, I asked him was, 'so, tell me where did you study marketing?” I was rather taken aback when I heard his answer. He told me, "my degree is in accounting and after working in a number of roles within the company I was moved into marketing.”
I could not help asking him, “So how do you decided how and where we advertise.” He looked at me as he told me, “Marketing is not rocket science, I just look for an ad that has colour and that contains words that explain what we want to do.”
I could not believe my ears and I told him, "do you use an agency to do this work?” He said,” no! Agencies are a waste of money, so I usually contract freelance students to do the work.”
I tried to remain calm as I said, "And for how long has this been going on.” He told me that he had been doing this for one year where he had saved the company, "at least Sh3 million.”
I was not impressed and I told him so. I told him that the whole marketing work needs a rethink and I would going forward take ‘personal responsibility for it.”
He tried to explain but I told him, "no we shall discuss later.” As soon as he walked out, I called the Group Head of Marketing to discuss the state of affairs. I asked her if she knew about the ‘sub-standard marketing we had been getting.”
I was rather miffed by her response as she appeared quite clueless on what was going on. So instead I told her, “I need you to fly down here as soon as possible and tell me how you intend to help us out.”
She started telling, “But we have a competent guy there, he has been doing wonders.” I lost my cool and asked her,” Says who, When did you last look at our ads?”
She could not respond and I told her, “I do not want to make this a big issue and inform the board that we are not reaching our targets because of lack of marketing support. So, I suggest you come here quite soon."
She changed her tack and started giggling and saying, "Josphat! Why are you being so rough, we are friends?” I did not see her humour and so the new tougher Josephat said, “we are not friends when you are not delivering. Please be in our offices by latest Wednesday next week.”