View from City Road: Marketing heads for Koko's axe

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The Independent Online
It seems that personnel management is not the only department that all right-thinking companies should be dispensing with urgently. Following our comment yesterday on new research showing that most personnel departments (sorry, human resource management) are a complete waste of space, there appears in our post a Coopers & Lybrand survey that comes to very much the same conclusion about marketing.

'In the 1990s', the report says, 'with international competition, recession and customer requirements changing at an ever increasing rate, marketing as a discipline should be playing the pivotal role in any business. Our survey of managing directors and marketing directors within 100 blue chip organisations concludes that marketing departments are simply not fulfilling this role.' Here are a few of the choicest findings: marketing departments rarely lead the drive to enhance business performance, despite being 'closest' to the customer; they are often too short-sighted and miss the main chance; they consistently overestimate their contribution to a company's success and they have a tendency to be hugely over- optimistic.

To paraphrase the Lord High Executioner in Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado: 'I've got a little list - I've got a little list, Of society offenders who might well be underground, And who never would be missed - who never would be missed] There's the personnel director, And the marketing man too.' Now, who's next?