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Today's Marketing Cookie - A Single Vision
"Too many cooks spoil the broth."
Today's fortune came from Jacquelyn Shannonhouse in Oklahoma City. Jacquelyn is a Marketing Director at VI Marketing and Branding and the President of the Oklahoma City Chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA). She is a master in her craft, a marketing leader in her community, and you should follow her on Twitter:@Just_Jacq
Today's Marketing Cookie is very truthy and correctish. Too many chefs is one thing, but I would like to talk for a moment about the wrong chef. When I was a kid, my younger sister and I woke up really early on a Saturday morning and decided to surprise my parents with breakfast in bed. We decided to make pancakes - from scratch. We found a recipe, and I was in charge.
One by one, I read the items in the recipe, and we added all the ingredients together. Everything was working out great until it came time for the salt. I misread the instructions and rather than three-quarters teaspoon of salt, I thought it said, three-quarters cup of salt. We emptied the box of salt from the pantry as well as all of the salt shakers we could find in the house and we still didn't have enough salt to fill three-quarters of a cup. I made the executive decision that we would go forward with what we had and hope for the best!
While I cooked the pancakes, my sister prepared the most beautiful dinner trays, complete with juice, silverware, and mom's finest china. As the pancakes were nearly a perfect golden brown, she had drawn a lovely card for them with crayons, saying, "We love you mom and dad!" We were ready.
We each carried one of the dinner trays down the hall toward our parents room and knocked lightly on the door. My mother's voice said, "come in". We entered the room, and the expression of joy on their faces from seeing such a beautiful breakfast being presented by their children, was truly a Hallmark moment.
My sister and I were so proud! We stood together in eager anticipation waiting to see them taste our wonderful pancakes. Our parents complimented us on how terrific they looked, as they sipped their orange juice. Then the moment of truth came, when our parents both took up their knife and fork to cut off a bite-size piece of the pancakes. They lifted it to their mouths and within moments of tasting pure salt, they made horrid noises of utter disgust and began spitting and spewing the pancakes into a napkin. It can be like this with the wrong chef, just as much as it can be with the wrong marketer.
Now let's talk about how it is having too many cooks. As president of a chapter for the AMA, Jacquelyn and I can tell you how difficult it is to run an organization that is based on committees. If you've never worked with a committee before, I can tell you that it is an exercise in consensus and analysis that moves very slowly, unless there is a trusted leader who will drive things forward. The greatest mistakes I've made as the president of the AMA in Boston, were the times when I didn't lead and I allowed the committee try to sort out a problem. I'm sure you've heard the old joke... that a camel is a horse designed by committee. Well, it can be like that in the kitchen too and without a master chef to have a vision, uphold the standards, and lead the team, the meal will surely be ruined.
Finally, I would like to take a moment to talk about the broth itself. In some cases, the broth can take a day or more and careful attention to achieve the desired richness. The broth is a masterpiece and there can only be one artist who creates it. You see, the broth is the very foundation upon which a soup is built. The perfect broth also serves as the stock for many other meals as well. The broth we make in marketing is called the strategy. Although, I may not know a lot about making the perfect broth (or pancakes), I do know that developing a marketing strategy must follow a singular vision. Once the strategy is set, your team can build many campaigns upon that same foundation.