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Clarity begins at home

The chances are that most people can’t wait to see the back of 2008 and, in an effort to hurry it along, they are throwing themselves headlong into the office party season.

Well the bad news is that 2009 is not likely to be much better and could be a whole lot worse for many people. Marketers in particular will have to be at the very top of their game and ready to justify their place at the corporate table.

One thing that we have heard a lot about recently, and quite rightly, is the need to work on and improve client relationships in these tough times.

For the in-house marketer it is at least as important to strengthen relationships with internal clients – those colleagues in finance, sales or production, who’ve been eyeing up your desk by the window since the summer.

Even now marketing is still seen by many as an ‘overhead’ rather than an ‘investment’ and, in times of financial stress, it’s an easy target.

However, it’s nothing personal, just a misunderstanding which we as marketers need to be smarter about managing. Let’s face it, we are own worst enemy when it comes to educating our colleagues about what we do. Many of them don’t understand what marketing is about, how it helps them achieve objectives and add value, or the fact that it’s not about ‘blowing the budget’ on advertising.

The party season presents marketers with the perfect excuse to get out there and network with colleagues over a glass of something festive. A more formal alternative could be to organise a series of breakfast briefings, over coffee and croissants, where each department gets to present themselves, their work and achievements, to colleagues. If nothing else, it’s good for internal communications, and team morale, at a time when many are feeling less than secure.

Shout about the successes and get to work on those internal client relationships.

Have a very merry Christmas and a prosperous 2009!

Deborah Rowe, principal consultant of Sheba Marketing is a committee member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing Construction Industry Group.

One for the diary, the next CIMCIG event - Organising for Innovation - Jan 29 – Presenter Paul Sloane will share the secrets of how to generate ideas that will help you solve problems and create wealth. Visit www.cimcig.org for details.