Central Illinois Business Magazine

Archive                           June 2008


Survey says: people matter most
in marketing strategy

By Paul E. Donohue
CIBM Contributor
Published: Jun. 2008

What did businesses surveyed in Champaign County say was most important to their success? 61 percent of businesses surveyed said having the right employees was most important to the success of their organizations, according to a phone survey performed by Research Survey Service. It contacted 100 businesses in Champaign County by phone. The response rate was 37 percent.

Without good people, no business strategy can succeed.

What puzzles me is the component businesses chose as least important from a list that included human resources, sales, strategic planning and marketing--37 percent of the businesses surveyed chose marketing from that list. Now, that doesn't necessarily suggest you don't think marketing is important. I think you do. But from the list presented, if forced to make a choice, businesses said marketing was least important to the success of their business.


"Maybe the responses were skewed," said Jeffrey Kurtz, an adjunct professor in the College of Business at the University of Illinois who reviewed the results of the study.

Kurtz teaches an MBA class where students work with small businesses on real world problems.

"Nine out of 12 case studies this semester are marketing related," he said. In the years he spent consulting business owners prior to teaching, marketing was the biggest challenge for the majority of small businesses, he said.

Here's another surprise. Branding is the most important element to the success of your marketing plan. That's what a majority of business respondents selected, 37 percent of the total, from a list that included a strategic plan, return on investment, external communication and internal communication. When you consider that the purpose of marketing is to find, attract, retain and grow customer relationships, how you measure that activity, in the form of return on investment, would seem most important to defining success.

But that's the fun part about market surveys. You rarely obtain definitive answers. Almost always, the answers lead to more questions. And that's good. It forces you to probe further and ask more questions until you discover true insight about the customers and market you are trying to serve.

-Paul E. Donohue is an independent sales, marketing and communications consultant with 25 years experience as a media and marketing executive. He can be reached at pdo@pauledonohue.com. He partnered with Research Survey Services to conduct this survey.

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Forty Under 40

By Bridget Broihahn

Central Illinois Business Magazine and The News-Gazette are proud to announce the 8th annual Forty Under 40 award recipients for 2015. The winners have been chosen by an independent panel of judges based on achievement, experience, innovation, leadership and community involvement. Two people have been recognized among the 40 winners as Woman and Man of the Year.

Profiles featuring the winners will be published in Central Illinois Business Magazine’s October/November edition. Winners will also be recognized at a luncheon Oct. 8 at the Hilton Garden Inn, Champaign.

Tickets for the luncheon are $25 and can be purchased by going to news-gazette.com/luncheon or by contacting Sarah Scott at sscott@news-gazette.com. Anyone interested in formally congratulating the winners may purchase a celebratory message to be published in the Forty Under 40 edition of Central Illinois Business Magazine by contacting Pat Crotzer at 217-351-5276 or pcrotzer@news-gazette.com.

Forty Under 40 Awards are sponsored by Central Illinois Business Magazine, The News-Gazette, Busey Bank, and Hilton Garden Inn.

Bridget Broihahn is editor of Central Illinois Business magazine. She can be reached at 217-351-5695 or bbroihahn@news-gazette.com.