Whatever It Takes

From my time in business I know there is a huge difference between running a business and marketing a product.

The administration needs to keep the shelves stocked, have staff to hand, preserve the balance sheet and plan for the future.

The marketing department, on the other hand, are more concerned with the immediacy of getting people through the doors and making sales. Sometimes this means over-promising and under-delivering, a circumstance that can ultimately destroy an enterprise just as quickly as build it.

As a marketer, the primary requirements are to gain attention, develop interest, arouse desire and encourage action. If you can do those four things you can sell anything.

However, making more sales is only part of the business building process. One has to be able to credibly deliver on promises in terms of product supply, support and success to build a truly worthwhile enterprise.

Every business owner knows that if your marketing group is not managed effectively by your administrative arm, their puffery and enthusiasm for sales at any cost will ultimately prove a fatal rod for survivability.

Which brings me to the principal problem with the government: they are a team of marketers with little understanding of the requirements to be able to deliver on their promises.

The government marketing department will spruik almost any message in their short-term desire to harvest votes or influence the 24 hour news cycle. No matter how absurd the claim, if it will help drive ‘sales’ and achieve the public hit they need for their next political ‘bonus’, they’ll do it.

In short, this team of snake oil salesmen have adopted former Labor senator Graham Richardson’s motto ‘whatever it takes’.

Consider their most recent example of policy puffery – protecting Australia’s borders from unauthorised arrivals.

Their ‘compassionate’ policy changes were made without any consideration of the consequences. Then they announced the East Timor solution – an election tonic without substance. In a regional grab-bag of nations, while still promoting East Timor, they announced Manus Island and then Malaysia as alternatives. Thus far they haven’t let on why they announced these three ‘solutions’ without having an agreement with the respective nations.

Effectively they have tried to sell a product that doesn’t yet exist – a sure way to destroy credibility in any marketplace. Labor are now paying the political price for having their marketing department overrule common sense and pursuing a policy of ‘whatever it takes’.

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