From now on, for convenience I will call it CMI.
Entering the office, it is evident that something is up in the air.
“Sorry for the confusion, today was a really hectic day!” Agent 007 says. “In addition, our boss, Agent M, has just summoned a special meeting to communicate important information and the other agents are quite nervous. I’m sorry to postpone our visit, but the meeting will be interesting as well. Let’s go to Agent M’s office!”
As you talk, the other agents are leaving their desks and start to sounder towards the office down the hall, talking to each other quietly.
In his office, Agent M is sitting on his desk and reading a dossier that looks confidential. The glass blackboard near him is covered in graphs and dense writings. As soon as the last agent enters the room, Agent M stands up and starts talking, silencing the murmuring.
“Thanks for coming along on such short notice and at a this particularly late hour. Now you can relax… but listen carefully.
I am not here today to remind you how quickly the market changed or how much Internet has become pervasive in people’s lives.
No need to tell you that the Web is now the main tool through which customers decide whether to buy and to trust a brand or not.
You already know it!
On these words M pauses, takes a breath and looks around as if to make sure that everyone was following what he was saying.
“You have to keep up, you have to anticipate market trends, you have to understand what customers really want, you have to beat the competition… Correct?” Agent M asks, raising the tone of his voice and making anyone stand at attention.
“Yess!!” all the special agents in the room respond in chorus.
“And how do you reach these goals?” M asks.
“Sure!” the agents respond promptly. “We operate always within the law, we use the best technologies on the market and we have years of experience on the field!”
“After all the times he made us repeat it, we know it by heart” Agent 007 whispers at you, smiling. “It is important for us CMI agents to have these concepts totally clear. They are our bread, our oxygen. We must always be ready to help our customers and to explain them why if they continue as they are doing, they just risk to fail.
Unfortunately, just few of them have realised it yet…” she concludes a little embittered.
``The thin line between success and failure is moving between doing and not doing these things!``
“Good boys!” resumes M. “These concepts may seem trivial to us, but they are the ones that make the difference and that we should always explain to our customers.
Lately, more and more agents came to me because of their customers’ requests: some wanted to have one more activity included in the price, other wanted just a “free trial” of a software, another one asked for a discount. More, there are prospects who call because they want “just some information” or who reply: “but that marketing agency used to do that!” or “but I saw that they do it differently!”.
Guys, I understand … I know perfectly well that handling this type of situations is very delicate and not easy at all. But I wish to clarify one thing.
Do you think that when they call the secret services like the CIA or the FBI, they say something like: “Look there is an imminent attack! Can you make me a quote?”.
Or “I understand, but the police in NY said we should do this …”. Or even “I would like some information to understand how you operate, and if I like it I’ll assign you the job.”
Obviously it does not work this way: the secret services are involved when things are going really bad. The secret services do not work for everyone and with everyone, they work when you need them and when the police alone is not enough.
We do not plan advertising campaigns, we do not manage social media accounts, we do not create videos and so on. For these activities there are already many advertising agencies. It’s important to make this concept clear: the Central Marketing Intelligence is not a communication agency and it does not replace them.
We do intelligence to help companies increase the effectiveness of their marketing strategies and to avoid the mistakes that are likely to take them to failure.”
You can see that Agent M is very passionate about this matter… and how not to understand him! An intelligence agency should be focused on solving businesses’ problems, and there is no time for distractions or unnecessary discussions.
“Guys, if your customers – instead of telling you what’s their problem and what they want to get – if they have the time to argue on the price, to procrastinate or to tell you “we’ll let you know “… Well, it means that they do not have a real urgent problem or they are not aware of it yet, and therefore they do not need you.
Remember: you must always be helpful and understanding, but be aware that the only scarce and finite resource you have is time. And for secret services, time makes all the difference in the world: a piece of information that today can save a company, tomorrow may be useless.
Remember this and make your customers understand it. The CMI does not work with everyone but only with those who truly want to grow and to be at the forefront. Well, now you know what to do.”Agent M concludes.