It’s the time of year when many firms’ Marketing staff are fatigued & either feel relieved, or confused-crushed, pending the outcome of their ‘pitch upwards’ in a Marketing Plan approval meeting. Decades of those meetings taught me the content of the Plan is just a part of which team’s Plans get OK’d, versus mercilessly ripped apart. Such a meeting is often about who presents the Plan. Annual meetings are a popular time to clean house eg to ‘kneecap’ a Marketer whom a CMO/CEO wants disposed of. A chance to humiliate & betray a Marketer whose work actually shows them worthy of rewards, not punishment. PopCulture TV doesn’t do justice to the brutality/variety of ways one can be ‘ambushed’ in a meeting when presenting a Plan.
If you’re in Marketing, by late November you’re (i) at a rare nonpolitical win-win culture organization (KUDOs!); or (ii) you haven’t had your meeting yet [ you may soon learn vital, albeit somewhat sobering, lessons! ]; or (iii) you have proven you can ‘play the game’**
**Many successful Marketing trainees have a background in student politics or ‘gaming’ situations (akin to prolonged’ ‘Survivor’ or ‘Big Brother’ contests). They’ve mastered building/breaking alliances; their ethical code is flexible; they’ll aim for personal victory ahead of a moral code. Congrats! I was naive when I started in Marketing; I actually believed I might just choose to ‘not play’.
Ha! You can play Defense politically, or play Offence. But you must play.
So, if you see a tired Marketer at this time of year; approach with caution. They’ll need rest. They may need compassion, too. But if they look smug, they deserve reverence. Give ’em a wide berth.