Marketing Challenge: Risky Business

Two days into his new job Jasper Trudeau hosted his first meeting with his staff. The CMO of regional hardware chain Hammer It Home asked the head of each marketing team—brand, email, product marketing, etc.—to give a status update on their current and pending campaigns and projects. As they went around the room, team leaders provided project highlights and team members added relevant tactical details. He was pleasantly surprised when members of other functional teams added commentary as to how others’ campaigns integrated with their own projects.

Trudeau also was excited to see so much great work from the team he’d adopted. Then Miranda Sarney, head of out-of-home marketing, displayed an upcoming summer renovation campaign for the company’s fleet of delivery trucks, as well as for billboards and other outdoor signage in key traffic areas. Trudeau hated it. The campaign lacked the brand personality and verve of all of Hammer It Home’s other marketing collateral. There was too much verbiage for the space and not enough kitsch. The campaign was the brainchild of the former (and recently fired) CMO; Sarney had already committed about $200,000 to running it over the next three months.

Trudeau smiled politely during her presentation, but left the meeting in a quandary: Does he kill the campaign—taking the financial hit—and risk missing a seasonal marketing opportunity if his team couldn’t get a new campaign ready in time; or does he run with it and risk taking the heat of what he thinks will be a poor performing campaign? Being so new to the company, Trudeau couldn’t be certain of his team’s—or the CEO’s—reaction to either decision. But he had no time to waste making it.

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