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Perrin Carey

24 September 2020 at 10:30:00

If we are to move towards better. If we are to look at governance from a more human perspective, we need to begin to think how the other activities within a business fit into that model. Marketing is fraught with challenges at the moment. How can marketing meet with governance?

With this current pandemic, there is this tragedy which is unfolding and it’s unevenly distributed, but widely experienced. We all probably know someone or an organisation that is feeling the pressure in some way.

Nobody wants this to happen, however like many things, to resist it is futile. What we have to do is decide how we are going to respond, by shifting, by being deliberate about the direction we are going to take.

Governance requires an equal and active involvement of all stakeholders, including, shareholders, directors, business partners, and customers. It is about how organisations are steered. How decisions are made and those decisions are influenced by our culture.

Marketing is a primary activity of all organisations and something which should focus more on adding value than rigorous and relentless selling. Both governance and marketing require honesty, self-discipline and ethical intelligence to work at its best.

Marketing is often just connected to an organisation’s activities in promoting their products and services and encouraging us to purchase these. However, perhaps it needs to be more human than that. In essence, in order to truly understand the purpose of marketing we need to ask some simple questions and reflect upon the purpose of our organisation.

Who are our customers? and
What do they need?

It would be naive to believe that without digging deep into these questions that we would be able to market the products we intend to offer. We also need to make clear the connections between these answers and the defined purpose of our organisation.

These connections and this understanding are what begin to shape the decisions we make and therefore our governance.

Like for example, in 2007, when Steve Jobs launched the iPhone, he was heavily mocked by many who argued that it was too expensive and didn’t even have a keyboard and that this would mean that it would be no good for business users.

What Apple were doing of course, was working really really hard in answering the questions above.

The same is true for the Netflix and Blockbuster story of late fees. Netflix understood what their customers needed and made the tough decision to remove late fees. Blockbuster decided to continue with late fees because of the huge amount of revenue they made from these fees.
Where is Blockbuster now? And where is Netflix?

When the dotcom crisis happened we saw that businesses who paused and then chose to do something different, that wasn’t a short term hit, they were the ones that survived. Yahoo and Google are classic examples of this and the outcomes are visible to all.

The key point here is that the purpose of marketing is not to simply promote and sell your products and services, the point of marketing is to show your customers the value you add. This aligns perfectly with the principles of good governance, which is focused on adding value to all of an organisation’s stakeholders.

Governance, then, is working to understand where your organisation’s vision lies and how it provides value to your community whether it be customers, shareholders, your own local community or maybe even your business partners.

Both Governance and Marketing require a leadership approach towards understanding your customers’ needs with the point of providing value rather than just a product. Being generous.

Generosity here means working really hard to add value, to truly see what people want and putting in the hard work to move in that direction. Quick easy wins based on a week by week hustle, is not the route to longevity.

You need to look for the person in your community, in your organisation, who is the calm person, the generous person who is standing up and leading. Making bold choices and is willing to step away from comfort and really work hard to understand who they serve and what they need.

So, marketing is about adding value to your customers. Governance is about steering an organisation towards adding value to all its stakeholders.


This blog was written with the support and insight of one of our contributors. Thank you, Divya. As an MBA student specifically interested in marketing, she is a contributor to the CoSteer blog. If you would like to contribute to moving governance forwards towards a more ethical and human centric framework, please contact

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