Most people are familiar with the term "division of labor," which describes the specialization that companies adopt to promote efficiency. The assembly line is one of the best examples of the efficiency gains that division of labor provides. In a tiny company, such as a one-person firm, there is no division of labor, but as soon as you start to grow, even a little bit, you start dicing up jobs in the name of efficiency. The problem, from a marketing point of view, is that efficient doesn't equal effective. Division of labor can harm your marketing effectiveness and you must take pains to overcome this natural ineffective state.

All this was brought to mind by a recent bus ride, when the person next to me described how he is constantly working with clients to deliver the service the firm is known for, but hardly ever knows what to say to them to get them to buy more services. He realized it was a problem only after having a chance lunch with a friend at the company who is in sales, who had the opposite lament--the salesman couldn't get to see any of the decision makers that my seat mate rubs elbows with daily.

Assembly line

Image via Wikipedia

Division of labor is the culprit here. Certainly it is more efficient for one person to specialize in sales and another to specialize in client service, but it doesn't make marketing more effective, as that bus rider attested. And, as problematic as division of labor might be for traditional marketing and sales, it's even more difficult for Internet marketing, and social media in particular.

You see, with Internet marketing, the experts need to be part of marketing. That client-facing services person understands the problems being solved and how well they are solved. That might make a good blog entry, or tweet, or video interview. The sales person won't ever be able to communicate as effectively as the expert.

The problem is that the expert doesn't always understand the client problems, where the sales person does. So, in businesses that rely on product development, the engineers know a lot about the technology but little about the clients, with the sales people just the opposite. Effective marketing communications relies on a merger of both.

So, ask yourself what you are doing to foster communications within your own team. Are you making sure that relationships form between the people who have key expertise that must be shared? And are you ensuring that those (now) more well-rounded experts are blogging, tweeting, and doing videos that show off that expertise? Only by breaking down the divisions of labor will marketing effectiveness emerge from the specialties of efficiency.

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November 4, 2009

Mike is an expert in search marketing, search technology, social media, publishing, text analytics, and web metrics, who regularly makes speaking appearances.

Mike's previous appearances include Text Analytics World, Rutgers Business School, SEMRush webinar, ClickZ Live.

Mike also founded and writes for Biznology, is the co-author of Outside-In Marketing (with James Mathewson) and the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (now in its 3rd edition, and sole author of Do It Wrong Quickly, named by the Miami Herald as one of the 11 best business books of 2007.


This is an excellent observation impacting on both the real-world application of real-time services (such as twitter, etc.), and the viable results that can be gained through regular and "focused" staff meetings of all key company personnel; no matter the relative echelon of the individual's job or position responsibilities.

If it can have a positive effect on the client's being "better-served", then products and / or services people should not only be encouraged to improve then maintain great communications, but they should in fact be required to do so. With the neccesary pains being taken to facilitate such matters.

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Search Engine Guide > Mike Moran > Multiply Marketing Effectiveness Despite Division of Labor