James has recently joined a consumer packaged goods company as a Marketing Manager.
It is so frustrating: the stream of new brand initiatives we have is fantastic, we have really listened and acted on the feedback from the sales team & their customers about how uncompetitive we are, both in how much we invest and the rate at which we bring news to the category, but they are still not happy.
We have an outstanding plan for next year but all I hear is that the marketing teams are not realistic in what they expect the sales team to be able to deliver. “Shelves aren’t elastic” is constantly played back to me as I show the revised range and when I discuss my proposed promotional plan I am told it is not implementable in the current retail environment. The other pushback I get is “yours is not the only or the biggest launch I have to manage this cycle”. It’s not that I don’t understand or appreciate the constraints but it would help if Sales were clearer on their constraints and what they really needed up front.
I’m sure I could approach things differently but there is some helped needed from the senior people on the broader capacity issue. There seems to be little co-ordination across the business and brands, particularly in the regional teams, about the number of launches and activities feasible in a year with the resources we have locally. The tension is not apparent until we get to the execution stage in the local market.
What increases my frustration is that I feel that there is a solution to all this. People throughout the organisation, at all levels and across functions, need to find a way to work together more collaboratively. The question is how do we make this happen in a way that isn’t a talking shop, but genuinely makes it easier to activate our plans?
So what would you advise Mathilda and James to do?