Some of my clients understand fully what direct marketing can do for them. But they need help in assessing why their programs are not performing at the levels they should.
When investigating the barriers to their success, I find that their own staffs and the company itself are often the culprits. It has to do with what Peter Drucker said about today’s knowledge workers. They are no longer just employees, but private contractors.
“They respond best to the standards of excellence associated with their expertise rather than the discipline imposed by traditional management practices.”
From the Definitive Drucker by Elizabeth Haas Edersheim
Many employees in these organizations are more focused on following the corporate line than achieving direct marketing goals. Such individuals do not think creatively abandoning the concerns of their customers for what they perceive as corporate protocol. They are closed to new ideas and more effective ways of achieving the sales goals for fear of upsetting the corporate environment.
This is often not the employees’ doing, but rather the old ideas about employee loyalty that are reinforced daily by the corporate machine.
The company must recognize the reversal of power from the organization to the individual. Leaders need to leverage the employees’ desire for excellence within their expertise and encourage it.
Assuring direct marketing success requires an environment where employees are respected for their skills. They are given clear guidance on their contribution to the organization’s goals. Peter Drucker made a daring statement during an interview with the “Harvard Business Review“ in February, 2002 in an article entitled “They’re Not Employees, They’re people.”
“In a traditional workforce, the worker serves the system; in a knowledge-based or service-based workforce, the system must serve the worker.”
I would take this a step further. Both the workforce and the system must serve the customer.