Grading Mid-Size Businesses.

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If you are paying any attention to what’s going on in K12 education you’ll know many teachers are up in arms about the Common Core curriculum; a standardization of what and how students are taught. Teachers are particularly nervous about being graded on their performance against Common Core standards. Imagine — teachers upset by being graded.

Grading performance is as old as performance itself. It’s especially hard in marketing; the same place where it is especially lax. Just as teachers say, “It’s not my fault Dick and Jane aren’t performing, they come from difficult home situations” marketers say “It’s not my fault sales are down, the product isn’t great.”

Huge businesses have a hard time grading their marketing because there are so many moving parts. Small businesses have an easier time grading marketing but there is not much to grade; beyond the product, service and bottom line there is not a lot of spending or investing going on.

Mid-size business, on the other hand, is where grading marketing practices really falls apart. Marketing can have positive impact in mid-size businesses but $20,000 checks are hard to write.  Mid-size businesses are actually the ones most likely to benefit from grades but there has to be something to grade. In my work, I grade brand strategy. Why? It is strategic not tactical. A cume grade not lots of little grades.

I can go into a mid-size company, snoop around, review sales and selling materials, speak to 10 customers and know right away if there is a strategy. 70% don’t have one.

Mid-size companies are the ones who benefit most from marketing and brand strategy. Mid-size companies who grade themselves on sales alone are likely to stall. Return on Strategy is where they need to be. Peace.