Daily Archives: March 27, 2015

Organizational Damnation 54: Marketing

So far we’ve tackled the organizational damnations of Logistics and Legal, but these are just the beginning. Today we’re going to tackle one of the biggest organizational damnations of all: Marketing. Like Legal, Marketing is one of those evils that the organization can’t live without, but Supply Management often can’t live with.

While it’s true that marketing is usually necessary to create demand for the products and services the organization produces, which in turn necessitates the demand for the raw materials, components, and services that Supply Management exists to source, it’s also true that sometimes when marketing creates that demand they use advertisements that are misleading as to the capabilities of what is being sold or promises that are unrealistic and, sometimes, those advertisements are outright lies and those promises are impossible to keep.

For example, let’s say the organization is selling a new phone. Marketing might claim it runs on a faster network (when, in reality, none of the carriers that support your phone support the faster network protocols), has a processor that is 30% faster (even though every independent benchmark only has it 10% faster and the design specifications indicated that the expected performance improvement was only 20%), and uses next generation RAM because it supports a faster MHz (even though it’s current generation RAM).

In this example, marketing is being almost realistic by stretching the truth with only a few small lies. If the organization is not as lucky, marketing might have the gall to say that your organization’s product is an effective cure for the common cold (because no one in the study caught a cold during the one year preventative trial), even though there is no evidence to that effect. (If the control group happened to be in an isolated community and were selected because they were the fittest of the group, it’s a biased study.) This is an example where marketing did not even attempt to be realistic in their claims.

But it might not stop there. Marketing might promise functions that are full of bugs, features that are still in development, and delivery schedules that would be unrealistic even if the design was complete, all the R&D was done, the team was fully staffed, and all of the resources that are required are available. As a result, Engineering will be freaking out and demanding that Supply Management find it better materials, new suppliers that can complete the work that is required in the time-frame that is available, and more talent to fill its ranks. This could be a very tall order on a very short notice.

Moreover, it’s an order Supply Management will have to fulfill for the organization to meet its obligations, maintain its brand integrity, and stay profitable. As if Supply Management’s job wasn’t hard enough to begin with.