Is Your Marketing Tail Wagging The Dog?

A few days ago, I listened to a radio interview of Andre Agassi – widely considered one of the greatest tennis players ever. When Agassi started playing professionally, he ran 5 miles every day to stay in peak condition. When Agassi hired a trainer, the trainer asked Agassi why Agassi ran 5 miles.

Agassi’s response: because it helps me get into condition and because others do the same thing.

Agassi’s trainer pointed out that Agassi didn’t run nonstop for 5 miles during a tennis match. A tennis match consistent of many quick starts and stops. Running 5 miles daily didn’t hurt Agassi, but it also didn’t help to focus the training on the specific things that Agassi needed to become better. From that moment, Agassi’s training routine completely changed and he went on to win many tournaments, including eight grand slams.

What does this have to do with marketing, tails and dogs?

After the interview, I kept thinking that most businesses make the same mistake Agassi made. Billions of dollars are spent to market products and services by companies around the world. Are the marketing efforts sufficiently focused on the core services and products? Is the money wisely spent? Are the marketing messages delivered using the best medium (television, radio, interactive) and using the best means? Or are most companies and agencies spending billions of dollars marketing simply because it can’t hurt and because others are doing the same thing?

Is your marketing tail wagging the dog?