Marketers, PR people and especially ad agencies are breaking the first rule of their own trade by not talking to their target markets in a language they understand. It's so bad it's the equivalent of running Croatian soap powder ads in Peru.
There was a time when CEOs, finance directors and other board members used to let marketers do their own thing and hardly made any attempt to try and understand the gobbledygook that is marketing speak.
The PR industry changed its name every few years - from public relations to public affairs, to a litany of contrived nomenclature to try and impress prospective clients.
The ad industry persists today in doing outrageous things both in the media and in public in an effort to demonstrate how "creative" they are.
Marketers continue to reinvent the wheel with monotonous regularity, coming up with things like "native advertising" and "growth hacking."
It is no wonder CEOs and their board colleagues shake their heads in amusement. And when they read that in South Africa alone about R50bn is wasted on ill-considered marketing every year, they begin to take notice.
More and more board members are beginning to ask questions of their own marketing departments, PR people and ad agencies. They are demanding that they be spoken to in their own language and that marketers start providing them with credible measurement and return on investment numbers.
This is what I do. I audit marketing strategies to determine potential wastage in advertising, sponsorship, PR and the retail supply chain. I do very little else and it is staggering to see just how much money is being wasted.
On average I would say that big companies are wasting anything between 20 percent and 60 percent of their marketing budgets, and nowadays when I produce a marketing audit report, I couch it in the language of accountants because right now accountants are the people who approve marketing budgets.
To them "native" is not a word that should be bandied about in South Africa and "hacking" is a term they associate most with attacks on their computer systems.
About Chris Moerdyk
Apart from being a corporate marketing analyst, advisor and media commentator, Chris Moerdyk
is a former chairman of Bizcommunity. He was head of strategic planning and public affairs for BMW South Africa and spent 16 years in the creative and client service departments of ad agencies, ending up as resident director of Lindsay Smithers-FCB in KwaZulu-Natal. Email Chris on moc.liamg@ckydreom
and follow him on Twitter at @chrismoerdyk