My MD doesn’t get online and our competitors do. Help!

This article first appeared July 15, 2009.

Dear Aunty B,

I am the marketing manager at a transport company and my MD is a micromanager.

Instead of letting me do my job, he insists we spend our marketing budget advertising in print and on TV.

I think we get absolutely no response from this marketing but I wouldn’t actually know as we have no way to measure the impact of the ads. Our competitors are using online very effectively.

When I put in search terms, their sites come up and ours are nowhere to be seen, even though our IT department takes up half a floor and we have spent a lot of money on doing and redoing a website that is still entirely ineffective.

I am so frustrated, especially as I have just received my new marketing budget (months late) and it is half of what it was last year. How do I get my MD to understand new concepts like ‘online’ and ‘open source’ and to get rid of the IT department that spends their days trying to justify their existence by building expensive sites and systems that do not provide leads to our sales team and don’t work?

Over it,


Dear Simon,

Now, now. I am sure you get a response from your print advertising. Your MD would see it. Didn’t you know that advertising in print isn’t about selling anything, but is in fact about making the MD feel good and driving marketing managers around the country crazy?

You are wasting your time. If it looks like micromanaging MD is staying, hightail it out of there to the competitor who is making the most of online and IT.

It sounds like you have a natural feel for the new world. But it is changing so fast, the longer you stay, the more you will fall behind.

It also sounds like you would enjoy a smaller environment where you can be more hands-on and involved in strategy.

If you do want to stay, do a competitive analysis on your industry. Sit down and take the micromanaging MD through a case study of what a successful competitor is doing online and show him how it would be working. Try and estimate the costs to show him what he is wasting.

Good luck,
Your Aunty B


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