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A 'Marketing' Christmas Carol

Tom Perry
by Tom Perry - December 23, 2019


It's that time of year once more, so a perfect opportunity to re-share that age old classic 'a Marketing Christmas Carol'. Merry Christmas and enjoy!

Webenezer Stooge was the sole proprietor of Stooge and Harley Ltd. A strong salesman, he had taken control of his company after his business partner, a marketer named Harley had died. He was a solitary man who liked nothing better than burying his head in his sales figures and planning his next sales target, alone. He once had a big team behind him but he had no time for collaboration and luxuries like creativity and marketing, so slowly it had dwindled and he had become fixated on sales and closing deals. His only companion was a very kind marketer, Bill Hatchett, who despite being thoroughly neglected by Stooge, continued to do whatever marketing his lowly budget would allow. Hatchett dreamed of being able to indulge in more advanced marketing techniques, but he knew that Stooge would never take any resources away from sales, so would never have the budget to carry out PPC, advanced SEO or ABM campaigns.

It was Christmas eve 2019 and Stooge had returned to his cold, empty home following a day of hard graft and settled in his chair. He had not long been sat in front of the dying fire before he felt a further chill; the cellar door crept open and he was approached by a ghostly figure draped in shackles…none other than his late business partner Harley. “Humbug, you can’t be Harley” he exclaimed, before the figure started to speak. “I walk the earth, iron-clad for eternity as a penance for my misused opportunities! The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business! I am here tonight to warn you, that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate, Webenezer”. Harley had been a man solely focused on marketing and scoffed at the sales process. Solipsism had been his downfall. “You will be haunted by three spirits in the hope to shun the path I tread. Expect the first tomorrow when the bell tolls one”. And with this, Harley disappeared from Stooge's presence.

The following night Stooge was awoken as the bell tolled…Stooge sat up as a small hand opened the curtains around his bed. “I am the ghost of Marketing Past. Rise and walk with me”. Stooge hesitantly took the spirit’s hand and before he knew it, he was a spectator in a familiar scene. “I know this place” he exclaimed. Stooge was stood in his boardroom, surrounded by the shadows of his fellow workers and a younger version of himself. He watched with wide eyes as his young self so fervently dismissed a young member of the marketing team who was presenting analytics from their latest campaign. “This is wasting time” Stooge shouted, “we should be out there selling, not sat around looking at what hasn’t worked”. The young marketer looked defeated as she tried to explain that the data she had identified could be useful in identifying opportunities, but Stooge was relentless in his dismissal. The spirit then guided him through to another room, where he saw a group of his co-workers talking about him. ”If only we could join our sales and marketing teams up. Mr Stooge is so intent on selling that he doesn’t think about marketing. There are so many opportunities but I cannot stay at a company that doesn’t learn from its successes and failures”. Stooge watched as one by one his colleagues left him. The spirit looked at Stooge and asked if he understood what he was witnessing. “Spirit, take me from this past. I was a foolish man who didn’t act upon the facts presented to me, I had the opportunity to optimise our business efforts but I was so focused on selling that I neglected a hugely important area of learning”. With this realisation, Stooge was back in his familiar bed and wearily closed his eyes.

The very next night as the clock struck one, Stooge awoke prior to the clock striking one and was surprised when he heard movement in the next room. He entered the sitting room to find the ghost of marketing present sat on what can only be described as a MarTech throne. All around him the room was adorned with logos…from Facebook to Hubspot; all the major platforms which feature in any major MarTech stack. “I am the ghost of Marketing Present, take my hand”. Stooge was instantly transported to a cold tiny room in an old unheated house. In there was his employee Bill Hatchet. Stooge watched as Bill tapped away on a keyboard, his wife hovering as she impatiently waited for him to join her. “Come on Bill, bring your figures, we will go through them as a family”. Bill and his family proceeded to sit together and discuss what he could potentially do with his marketing budget to make a difference. “I think we could do some ABM, but we would need to make sure we had the right foundations in place and until Mr Stooge sees us as one team, it won’t work” offered Bill. “What about increased SEO…there are plenty of free tools we can use to make sure that the website is performing and attracting visitors…we just need to make sure that we fully monitor how it is working” said Mrs Hatchett. Unbeknownst to Stooge, the Hatchetts were working tirelessly behind the scenes, as a team, keeping his business alive. Even their ailing young son, Teeny Jim, was dedicating his time to the business. “Father, without using insight to drive our marketing efforts, we are ending up with wasted marketing spend, even from our meagre budget. It is crippling the business”. Stooge stood on aghast as they worked together, using free, accessible tools to optimise, promote and report on his business. “Let’s raise a glass to Mr Stooge, for giving us the opportunity to work together” said Bill as his wife scowled. Horrified, Stooge explained to the spirit that he didn’t realise Bill’s work was so important and that his lack of insight and collaboration had led to wasted spend. He asked the spectre to return him to his home.

The final ghost was the most fearsome, clad in a black cloak and bearing no words. The ghost of Marketing yet to come. Stooge understood the script now and followed the spirit without much hesitation. He found himself in a familiar surrounding once more, his workplace. However, this time there was no Bill Hatchett, his office stood empty and dust shrouded the surfaces. Stooge and Harley was closed for business. Around him other business thrived, buzzing with new technology, new ideas and enthusiastic teams. Stooge and Harley Ltd had failed to adapt, failed to learn from its failures and successes and had paid the ultimate price. “But what of Hatchett and Teeny Jim?” asked Stooge, who was then shown the sight of their sorrowful family. The burden of wasted marketing spend was too much for Teeny Jim to bear and this loss had torn the Hatchett family apart. “No more Spirit, I will honour marketing from now on! I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach”. With this, his surroundings faded away.

It was Christmas morning and Stooge opened his eyes. He felt like a new man! He grabbed his coat and headed straight to Bill Hatchett’s house, Along the way he picked the greatest gift he could think of for his loyal employee. A shocked Mrs Hatchett opened the door to Webenezer, who bounded inside, eager to share his gift. “I have seen the error of my ways, Bill…I come with a gift that will change everything. I have employed a specialist Marketing Agency to take the pressure off you. Sherpa are specialist tech marketers and they will be fully managing our end to end marketing in 2020! They will be looking after demand generation, SEO and paid traffic, all our channel marketing and will evaluate whether ABM will be a fit for us! I promise to put SLAs in place to ensure marketing and sales alignment and you can work with Sherpa to generate the ROI you have always dreamed of. They will make sure there is no wasted marketing spend so Teeny Jim can concentrate on getting better!” Bill Hatchett was thrilled…it was the best present ever!

As they sat down to a delicious Christmas dinner, Teeny Jim raised his glass…
”God bless us, every one”.

By Lois Dickens - Merry Christmas to you all!

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