[NMW] Bol (DPG Media): ‘Beat up your CEO for once’

“Stop with communication frenzy, return to the marketing basics and stand for your profession! Only then will you be taken seriously again as a marketer. “Willem-Albert Bol of DPG Media has a mission. On stage at Nima Marketing Week, his struggle to bring marketing back to the top in 10 steps began. Brave forward!

Very angry

“No, no!”, Bol shouts. “What on earth are we doing in our profession! We have such a great job, why are we doing the wrong things! I regularly get very angry about the state of our profession! “
But anger doesn’t always work, he says to the marketers present in the Copraloods in DeFabrique on the 3rd and the last day of Nima Marketing Week. “So today we start the fight in good spirits! Brave forward! I have a mission! Cast in 10 steps to get marketing back to the top! “According to Bol -” yes, I am often certain and yes, it is often a lot more nuanced and your company is bound to be doing well “- 10 points to be relevant again to become ambitious and strategically good.

Nice cut and paste in the margin

DPG Media, together with research agency DVJ Insights, conducts research into marketing in the Netherlands under the heading Look at Marketing, so Bol knows what he’s talking about. This research shows that the Dutch marketer is actually satisfied, but at the same time is also concerned about the lack of impact of marketing. What do you want, according to Bol, Dutch marketers are especially busy with the P for Promotion, “nice cut and paste in the margin! As a result, we marketers are not taken seriously in the company or by the CEO. “
Bol’s enthusiasm, critical and yes, sometimes also cynical, is contagious. Because he means it. The most beautiful profession in the world must become relevant again. With exclamation mark.

Advertising dull word for media

Step 1 and one of Bol’s biggest annoyances. Marketer: accept the correct hierarchy in your profession. That fiddling under the line, communication, media, advertising (“actually a silly word for media”): no, no. If that is your job, then you are a communication specialist. Business, commerce and marketing are at the top of the hierarchy. As a marketer you are busy with tough things. “You must own all P’s!”

Who among you is involved with Opex and Capex? Nobody?

Question from Bol to the marketers who are neatly seated at least 1.5 meters apart in the room: “Which of you is involved with Opex and Capex? Nobody? Well, that’s the language spoken in the boardroom. Speak that language! ” [Hier een discreet linkje voor uitleg over Opex en Capex…].

Know where the focus is

The second step to boldly moving forward is that marketing must demand fairness. What is the real role of marketing? Are we offensive or defensive? Do we focus on the short term or the long term? Do we build up margin or is it just about promotions and discounts? And: do marketing and sales work together or do marketing for sales? “Make sure you know what’s important to the business. If the focus is on short-term sales, be careful not to face KPIs for a long-term strategy. “

Be real

Also knows enough about budgets, says Bol. Point three: match real objectives with real budgets. “You cannot launch a production introduction throughout the Netherlands with 200,000 euros. That will cost at least a few million euros. Don’t have the money? Then don’t do it. “Marketing just costs money, it’s that simple. “In recent years, major brands have all cut budgets with cheese slicers, and that has consequences for the brand. Make sure that you as a marketer are not to be blamed for that. “

46 campaigns per year?

“If you produce a lot of shit, your CEO won’t take you seriously. Say for yourself: do you really need 46 campaigns per year? If you can’t cut half of it, you will be laughed off. “

If you produce a lot of shit, your CEO won’t take you seriously

That is Bol’s 4th point: do less and integrate more. Start with your own credibility and delete. Exclamation mark. Stop the nice to haves.

Don’t be a Coca-Cola

And stop with those many short-term campaigns. “Don’t come up with a new positioning! It may well be that your predecessor has established an excellent positioning, which you do not have to change immediately upon your appointment. Marketers have a short attention span, this does not apply to the consumer. He thinks it’s great to see that commercial from last year again. Ah, that’s familiar, he or she will think. “Byron Sharp is not talking about consistent associations for nothing. Bol’s simple 5th point: stick to the same approach and course longer. So don’t act like Coca-Cola recently did, from “fun“Deviate and suddenly point with a edifying finger.


Ah, and then all that scrumming and being “agile being”, Bol hates it. “Running through the building like a headless chicken, with that scrum and agile.” That is not what a marketer should be concerned with, he believes.

Running through the building like a headless chicken, with that scrum and agile

All of this promotes silo behavior and we have to get rid of that. It is not difficult: break down the power of silos and – very important – give general direction to teams of specialists. “Specialists are not right, neither are generalists. It is in the synergy between both groups that helps you further. “There is the added value. And oh yes: stop fragmenting all those own budgets anyway. So no silos – that’s point 6 if you want to go forward boldly.

Short-term love affairs: brrr

Bol is really not a fan of short-term love affairs. It doesn’t start, you don’t build a relationship with it. Point 7 in his mission. “You don’t trade in your wife after two years because you want a new one.” A good relationship benefits from time. “Enter into longer alliances with agencies, consultants, (media) parties.” The added value is the common learning curve, get to know each other and grow together in development. And the in house achieve digital marketing activities? That recent hip trend? Think about that carefully, Bol advises. “In-housing doesn’t make the world any easier, you know. It’s very spicy! Many different disciplines. And know: agencies run three times as fast for you as a colleague if you have a request. Because they earn from you! “

The TikTok channel

And then the angry Sphere reappears. All those hypes that marketers run around. All those brands that suddenly want on TikTok or Snapchat – don’t. “It’s just one channel!” Yes, those channels can be useful for youth brands, but nothing more. “If the whole of the Netherlands suddenly turns out to be TikTokken, you can consider whether it is useful for your brand.”

I recently read about “TikTok Marketing”; that’s not marketing at all!

“But don’t get ahead of all the trends that come along. I recently read about “TikTok Marketing”. That’s not marketing at all! It’s a tactic, dear people. Just like SEO is a tactic. Marketing is Product Development, Price, Promotion, Place. Those basics of marketing never change. The means are. ” Know your basics, to put it bluntly. So this was point 8.

The bubble classic

The penultimate point is a classic. Marketers live in their bubble (in terms of prosperity, education). Your life is not the life of the average Dutch person, who more often than not live in the Randstad. Find your target audience. Go to Veenendaal, go to Woerden, says Bol. “Better yet, maybe we should hold this event in Woerden next year! Away from the big city, although Maarssen is already a bold step today, I confess. “Be deliberately incompetent is Bol’s advice.

Enter into discussions

Bols point 10 is long or short to explain. In short: “Beat up your CEO for once.” The long version: be aware that things can and must always be improved. You have to. Marketers, Bol stimulates those present in the room – and of course also those at home or at the office who receive his mission via the livestream: be assertive. Start discussions (and sometimes beat up your CEO to make your point), be curious (do your homework when it comes to articles, books, trade blogs, surveys, attend events) and be consistent.
Marketing must be the guiding discipline for every company, that is Bol’s mission. “We’re going to fix it, dear people. Together we will put marketing back on the map. Back to the basics of old marketing laws and forward into the digital future. “With exclamation mark.


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