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Never enough people…

By Dave Stevens

Judging by the number of pieces of research on marketing that have been crossing my desk of late, it’s report season.

One such document that has been asking for my attention is a report from Frost & Sullivan on 2012 marketing priorities entitled “Assessing the Value Proposition”.  This report is based upon feedback from 539 managers and executives from companies around the globe.  And what did these luminaries say was the key root cause of marketing challenges in 2012?  ‘Insufficient personnel.’

Limited resources, it is said, get in the way of developing a compelling value proposition.  Limited resources prevent marketers from understanding changing customer preferences and needs and incorporating the voice of the customer.  Limited resources stop us from prioritising markets and market segments.  There are limited resources in B2B and B2C.

And this isn’t in a climate where marketing teams are shrinking.  Quite the contrary.  More than half of  respondents to the survey thought their teams would stay the same year on year and more than a third that they’d see a moderate increase.

I find this view that marketers cannot deal with their key challenges due to lack of people quite perplexing.

For years, this profession has been a rapidly growing one – in the size of marketing teams and budgets, the degree to which marketing is given a seat at the top table, and so on.  It has needed to grow rapidly because the profession is so young.  The word “marketing” didn’t exist before 1884.    B2C companies didn’t have marketing departments before 1970.  Marketing departments only appeared in B2B companies in the 1980s.

But enough of that.  The profession has grown up.  No business today seriously thinks it can get by without marketing.  And in a world of economic turmoil where businesses lack confidence in year-on-year takings, we can’t keep bleating about lack of resources.  Marketers have to grow up with their profession.

You can only have so many priorities to be successful.  If you have a key marketing challenge like value proposition development or segmentation, do what any manager in any profession would do – reallocate some of your best people to deal with it.  If you can’t do that, you don’t have a lack of resources but a lack of prioritisation skills.  It’s time for marketers to stop moaning.

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Dave is an experienced global B2B Chief Marketing Officer / Marketing Director with an established reputation for delivering commercial results in start-up, mid-tier, and blue-chip businesses across technology, and business services and professional services sectors.

Dave has worked for major brands such as Telefonica O2, EY, and Barclays and held posts from Chief Marketing Officer to Director of Online, has run his own business, and managed a P&L for a major corporate. He is chair and co-founder of the Business Marketing Club ( - a network of B2B marketers. In 2019, he was named one of the top 100 B2B European marketing leaders ( He is a graduate of Cambridge University, a Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Chartered Marketer and holds a MBA with Imperial College, London. Dave is a keen cyclist and adventure traveller, is married, and lives in Buckinghamshire. You can read his blogs at

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