CEOs Robert McDonald of P&G and James Craigie of Church & Dwight are facing off in the laundry soap business, and one of them is slinging mud. Recent executive comments and division performance reports highlight that the battle in the soap aisle isn’t just about soap, it’s about the fundamental purpose of businesses in competitive markets.

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Business guru Harvey Mackay stated, “The Japanese have a very simple way of describing the typical American marketing plan: READY? FIRE! AIM.” Sadly little has changed in American business. This is a major reason why the American economy is in constant crisis, and obsolete marketing departments built on late twentieth-century dogma now resemble the spending habits of Communist central planning: disconnected from reality, economically inefficient and lacking accountability to the right things.

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The troubled economy of the past several years has challenged – and weakened – many businesses around the world. Although business leaders can’t manage the myriad external factors that impact their organization, they can take advantage of wounded competition through solid strategies.

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Over the past few years, I discover more and more senior level executives who do not have a full grasp of primary business strategy drivers that drive revenue and profits. I’ve met with Chief Executive Officers (CEO) who just dismissed their Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and asked “Why did you remove this person and what change in business activities do you seek in your next CMO?” Amazingly most can’t answer this basic question with a well thought out and rational answer. Part of the problem starts here.

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In the first week of June, the Business Marketing Association (BMA) held its annual B2B marketing conference in Chicago. The show over-delivered on its “Unleash” theme with a tidal wave of information about the changing nature of strategic marketing, business models, content and data strategy. Incoming BMA chairperson Al Maag, Chief Communications Officer of Avnet, had this to say about outgoing chairperson Gary Slack, “The annual conference is the jewel in our thought leadership BMA crown thanks to Gary Slack.

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