A thought about mackerel and marketing

Posted on October 10, 2014 by Alexandra Kent


We’ve all been there. It’s late. You’re hungry. You’re dumping food willy-nilly into your basket at Little Waitrose without really pausing to think how all of the ingredients might create any sort of dish.

That’s how I ended up with mackerel fillets in my fridge. They’re there right now – some weeks after I bought them – miserably waiting without a hope. Any day now I’ll stop pretending I’m going to eat them and throw them away.

The mackerel fillets in my fridge are a cautionary tale. An afterthought in my aisle raid, they were superfluous to requirements – nowhere on my weekly meal planner. Ultimately, they were without purpose.

The poor mackerel fillets got me thinking about people, companies and marketing. All seem to perform far better with a sense of purpose – a vocation, a passion, a driving mission.

Companies that align words and actions behind a unifying purpose can reap the benefits of growth, market leadership and a cult-like following (think Apple). And when it comes to people, autonomy and ownership at work often have a positive effect on engagement, motivation and loyalty.

Marketing is no different. Without a purpose in mind – a reason for being – marketing campaigns wind up gathering dust on some forgotten shelf. To combat the mackerel marketing effect we must ask ourselves a crucial question at the very beginning. What’s the point of this?


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